Learning to create snow globe tumblers had its challenges in the beginning but for the most part, I’d say it gets easier with repetition and errors. We all learn from our mistakes and in the moment it is frustrating because everything is overhead costs that you’re not recuperating from sales (yet). I remember the first time I came across a Starbucks snow globe tumbler on Instagram.
Immediately I was intrigued at how “easy” it looked. Of course I had an “ah-ha” moment of “I can make that and sell them for side money too!” Shame on me for, ignorantly, belittling the process that these artists and crafters were perfecting. After countless YouTube videos and snow globe tumbler tutorials, I am getting there.
Unfortunately for me, at the time that I wanted to take on this new venture, Starbucks was releasing their summer collection and I couldn’t find double-wall tumblers in any store or Target Starbucks locations. I got lucky enough to find one (yes, ONE) Grande tumbler and it was my first to do a trial run on. You can normally find them at Starbucks or inside Target at the Starbucks cafe.
So how exactly do you make a snow globe tumbler?
I’ve outlined my entire process below for you, along with links to the products I’ve used.
Of course, you don’t have to use exactly what I did. This is your creation!
Mix, match, don’t match…possibilities are endless.
Step I: Gather Snow Globe Tumbler Materials
Gather materials that you’ll be using. I’ve ordered the Maars clear, double wall tumblers from Amazon. These are the 32 oz tumblers and right now I purchase the 3-pack, clear ones for $23.97 (using my Prime membership). That’s about 7.99/tumbler. They arrive within 2 days with Prime delivery. I do forewarn you, out of the last six that I ordered (and although they are well packaged), one showed up cracked. You can do an easy return but I opted to take the loss because I had an order pending for a snow globe tumbler.
In the beginning I attempted to use a drill and a drill bit that I saw on a YouTube tutorial and while it does seem doable, I found myself nervous about puncturing the inner wall of the tumbler and wasting a cup completely. Plus, it was very hard to hold up a heavy duty drill and keep still while drilling the hole. It wasn’t until I saw another creator on Instagram using a rhinestone applicator that it became so much easier to create the perfect size hole (with control). You can find this exact applicator on Amazon, it’s called the Hotfix Rhinestone Applicator. Note: The moment that you break through the outer wall, pull up and you’ll see the melted piece inside the tip of your bit. Pick this out with your craft tweezers.
Step 2: Creating the Snow Globe Tumbler Hole
Warm up your Hotfix Applicator for about 10 minutes. Choose a spot on the bottom that is free from any words or grooves. You’ll want a clean and clear area to create the glitter hole. When you’re ready, pres the tool with slight pressure on the spot and hold it there while twisting the cup in a circle. Note: Don’t try and twist the tool, you’ll get wrapped up in the cord. I keep the cup on a flat surface and just twist in a circle until it pops through (about 5 seconds or less) with slightly more pressure. The moment that it pops through, I pull up and use my craft tweezers to pull the melting plastic out of the bit.
Using painters’ tape, I tape around the perimeter of the cup to catch any glitter that may come out while shaking the glitter into the hole.
Step 3: Adding the Glitter to the Snow Globe
The fun part begins! There is really no right or wrong to how much glitter you use. You can see in the top material images, I chose chunky gold, a finer gold, and breast cancer awareness flags. I’ve purchased all of these from Michaels in the glitter section. They’re from the brand, Reflections. There are a lot of fun themed options there from seasons to sports, causes, and more.
I know some social media tumbler creators use a device like the rapid massagers to vibrate the cup and shake the glitter into the opening, but I am not to a point where I want to spend the money on this when it takes minimal shaking to achieve the same outcome. I repeat this process with each glitter and gauge as I go how much more I’d like to add.
Steph 4: Adding the Glycerin & Water Mix
You’ll want to purchase glycerin and distilled water for the mixture. I’ve had no issues with water discoloration or mold. The glycerin that I use is Raw + Rare from Amazon and it comes in 16 oz, 32 oz, and 128 oz. To start with testing the process of creating these snow globe tumblers, I chose the 32 oz bottle. It has lasted me for multiple snow globe tumblers! This is because the mixture you will create is a 50/50 mix. You’ll see in the photo I marked my 50/50 spots but chose to do a bit more of the mixture just in case. These bottles are fairly cheap as well, I found mine at Walmart for $2 a piece. Amazon also has these options which I will definitely be purchasing for the ease of the neck dispenser.
I begin by squeezing just enough of the liquid mix in to cover the level of glitter I have in the tumbler. Then I lightly tap around the cup to make any bubbles rise from within the glitter. Air bubbles are your nemesis when it comes to making snow globe tumblers. Do small portions of fill ups and continue to tap and move the glitter around, this will continue to rise up any air that’s trapped.
Step 5: Sealing the Snow Globe Tumbler Hole
This step is VERY important to follow one by one and to ensure that you will not have any liquid leak. I use these Gorilla Adhesive Dots from Amazon and usually 2-3 will do the trick. I’d rather the “better safe than sorry” motto with this part. I have had a leak before and although I saved it, it was not that easy to do!
You want to make sure that you’ve used alcohol and a paper towel to wipe down the bottom of your cup. Make sure there is no glycerin liquid on ANY of the bottom area. If you have, even a hint of, the glycerin liquid there, the dots will not properly stick/seal on the snow globe tumbler. Once you’ve completed this, take your finger and press on the open hole. If you have any liquid on your finger, use a paper towel and insert a small part into the hole to soak up some of the liquid reaching the hole. Continue this process over and over until your finger tip is 100% dry. Only then can you place the adhesive dot over the hole.
After you have sealed the hole, use a weeding tool or your crafts tweezers and slightly spread out some of the adhesive (see the photo below). I then place another dot on each side of the spread out adhesive and repeat the spreading process. I know many tutorials will show just one dot being applied but I, personally, like to triple ensure there won’t be any leaks.
Step 6: Applying Resin to your Snow Globe Tumbler
We are in the home run now! This part, for me, is so satisfying when making a custom snow globe tumbler. You’ll see my lighting setup in the image below. I ordered this Ring Light + iPhone Mount combo from Amazon as a way for me to time lapse making snow globe tumblers and then transfer into reels on Instagram. It’s actually come in handy for lighting when I’m doing crafts. The ring itself comes with three lighting settings; natural, cool, and warm. I set this up in about ten minutes, easy peasy.
The resin I use is the only one that I have tried so I could not give you a comparison. But I can tell you that I love this one. I have no issues at all with bubbles, not curing, getting too hot, etc. I ordered the 500g Hard Type UV Epoxy Resin for about $39.99 (see photo below). It does come in a smaller size as well which you can find here. This one (right now) is 200g and $22.99 with free Prime shipping.
I keep the ring light at an angle so that I can see exactly how much resin I am using on my initial sealing round. I start by dripping a bit over the adhesive dot(s) and then around the rim of the concave bottom (see photo below). With a small wooden stick I move the resin around to make sure it’s smooth over the dot area. The UV light I use is from Amazon as well and I like this one because the bottom is removable (a requirement for curing) and it has the handle at the top. Personally, I purchased this one and it seems to be one of the most affordable ones at $19.99 and free Prime shipping.
For the first round of curing/harding the snow globe tumbler, I set the timer at 90 seconds. Once this is complete, I add more resin, using my ring light to look from different angles to make sure the liquid is settling evenly. Again, use the wooden stick to move around any liquid.
The next step is optional but I choose to do so because it helps to cover the bottom adhesive dot visual. You’ll see from the photo that I’ve added some pink ribbons. You could also put some resin in a small liquid medicine cup with a bit of fine glitter and mix it up to cover the bottom. Possibilities are endless!
On the final cure, I set it for 120 seconds to make sure that it’s fully hardened. If you see bubbles BEFORE placing under the UV light for a final cure, just take a lighter and quickly run it over the top of the resin. This will pop any tiny bubbles before hardening the final surface.