I really love that I get to work with people who appreciate the beauty of well-made, high quality snow globes, and “behind the scenes” of my production line is a truly fascinating place to visit.
So I thought I’d take you on a step by step journey, showing how I help my clients design their dream snow globes.
Step 1 – The Research Phase
We always start out by referring to actual images of the item you want in your custom setting. If it’s a sculpture of an actual place or building, this research phase includes utilising Google Earth and Google Maps to see the roofline, which helps to give a clear “top down” view of the building structure. If it’s something more ephemeral, such as an album cover or 2D artwork, then we are working with much more of an artistic interpretation to create a 2D design and resulting 3D model. This project we completed for doom metal band “SLEEP” required us to replicate the album cover for the band’s album “The Sciences”, featuring a lone bass playing astronaut on the surface of the moon.
Step 2 – The Design Phase
After the research phase, I create a 2D digital design for every client. That design is usually done prior to confirmation of the order, so that you feel 100% comfortable about the visual potential of the final product. As you can see here on the left, the digital design, although strictly 2D, does have a nice realistic feel to it, and allows us to confirm layout, colours, base shape and colour as well as logo placement. We work on this digital design with unlimited changes at zero cost and zero obligation until you’re completely satisfied that I can produce your own high quality snow globes faithfully. It’s only at that point that we confirm the order, and arrange a deposit payment.
Step 3 – The Sculpting/Model Production Phase
Once we’ve agreed on the digital design, it’s time to produce the model. Until very recently (mid 2021) almost all of my projects were hand sculpted in clay, which was then moulded to produce the quantities ready for hand painting. Whilst hand sculpting can create a very charming result, it is time intensive, difficult to get fine detail at scale and takes longer to make revisions when needed. With the proliferation of 3D modelling and printing, I decided in mid 2021 to produce all of our projects from now on in 3D design. The benefits of this are outstanding. First and foremost, I now have a contracted professional 3D designer on board, Charlie, who lives in Arizona. We can connect very easily morning or night and it’s much faster for me to brief in a project to Charlie, as opposed to the older process of briefing in the design to my Chinese factory. Charlie can make small and large changes much faster than we would achieve with hand sculpting – the resulting detail is extraordinarily high. To give you an understanding of the detail involved, the setting you see here is recreated on an area of just 5cm in diameter. After seeing images of the 3D model from all angles, you can make as many changes as you like, at no cost. The 3D design process usually takes anywhere from 1-3 weeks, and after the design is signed off, we physically print the model to create a mould that will then be used to produce quantities of what we call the “white setting”.
Step 4 – The Painting Process
Once the snow globe 3D model is signed off, each individual part of the settings are hand-painted. If there are many small pieces, the setting actually fits together like a jigsaw puzzle, with the tiny elements “plugging into” the setting.
Remembering how small the models are, you can perhaps appreciate the level of detail and workmanship that goes into painting these high quality snow globes perfectly!ith
Once again, multiple changes to the paint colours are allowed in order to get them perfect. There is never a charge to you for changes, it’s all included in the process. In fact, paint colour changes can be made as late as the last few weeks of production, prior to assembly!
Again, you’ll receive close up and detailed images of the painted setting from all angles and sides, so you can be confident of the final finish.
Step 5: The Assembly Process
After the painted sculpture is signed off, that’s when we assemble the snow globes with their matching bases, and add decals or assemble with a debosssed or engraved base if required.
You receive final images from all angles of the assembled globe, and at that point, if you would like to receive the sample in hand, we can ship it to you. Once this first sample is signed off, we complete the larger production process over a period of about 1.5 – 2 months, depending on the quantities involved and the time of year.
I’m extremely proud to boast of extra inclusions that nobody else in my field offers. These include:
- Full shipping and delivery insurance world-wide – if anything arrives damaged or not matching the standards we agreed on, I will refund or replace without hesitation. This includes the only “zero air bubble” guarantee in the world!
- Within the USA, ALL duties, taxes and other charges are included in my quoted costs. That means no surprise charges on delivery (a real danger in today’s ever fluctuating world of varying duties, taxes and tariffs).
- The luxury of unlimited changes at each stage of production, at no charge
- Zero hidden or surprise costs. I won’t do that to you.
Once they’re completed, the globes will ship to you via your preferred method of transport (air or sea) and you’ll have them in hand usually about 90-120 days after we’ve started production. I also offer an annual container shipment to my clients in the USA, which allows for highly subsidised and sometimes even zero freight costs. That usually arrives with clients around October each year.
I hope you’ll agree that the process from design to production is impressive – my team and I take great pride in producing custom, high quality snow globes that take the humble globe from kitsch to divine.
Got your own design in mind? Check out more information about my quantity production process and apply for your own custom pieces today.