Introduction: Make a Custom Wonderland Snow Globe/house
You can make this as easy or as elaborate as you want. You can easily adapt the subject to your sculpting experience. Making the house or another self made "container" can be a bit tricky. It took me two and a half attempts to get it both clean and watertight. But by sharing what I learned I hope you will be able to get it right the first time. I also give some general tips on making snow globes with ready made globes, which is easier of course.
Step 1: Materials
polymer clay of the desired colours or mixed to the desired colours (I use Fimo Soft )
brass, copper or other corrosion resistant wire about 1mm diameter, about 1m length.
a sharp hobby knife
pencil, paper, cardboard & tape
clear acrylic sheet. I prefer relatively thick sheet, 4 mm, in order to get enough surface for a strong glued joint. I ordered pieces of 90 by 120 mm from www.opitec.com, to save time in cutting. I needed 7 pieces, but I was happy to have order some more to practice.
a piece of right angled profile to use as a gluing jig
coarse sanding paper (60 to 80 grit) and/or a large hand-file
a couple of cm of clear acrylic tube, about 0.5 to 1 cm diameter.
some masking tape
Step 2: Planning Dimensions
Step 3: The Need for an Armature
The second function of the armature is to serve as reference to end up with a figure at the right size. Obviously this is crucial for this project. Therefore the feet/shoes and hands are included even though they are removed afterwards and not used to sculpt upon. Actually I made the hands and shoes more complicated than needed. Sculpting around them proved to be difficult, so I cut them in a later stage.
Step 4: Sculpting Tips Part I: Some General Tips
As the figure is to stay immersed in water, I wanted to avoid any painting that might come of over time. Actually Fimo advises against using coatings in “snow globe” projects for that reason. Therefore ale details are directly made in polymer clay.
An advantage of the figure being immersed in water is that you can easily use sanding to finish it, without needing to varnish or polish it afterwards. Sanding with 320 grit, which still works quite fast, leaves traces which become invisible when wet.
Step 5: Sculpting Tips Part II: How to Make Hands for a Small Figure
Step 6: Sculpting Tips Part III: Sculpting on the Armature
Step 7: The "glass" House
I used a right angled profile as a jig and put it with faces at 45° to the horizontal. It was ligned with non-stick baking paper.
The first attempt I made was with connections carefully glued “but on”, without fillets. This however proved to leak a little overnight. So I added glue fillets as shown in the pictures. Let each fillet set before doing the next one, to avoid ugly runners. Acrifix sets reasonably fast, in about an hour you can manipulate the piece and proceed to the next connection.
When the base glue on the base has set, the roof is marked (with the template) and checked wit the figure in place. The figure is taken out again and the shape is first sawn a little outside the lines and then sanded to the exact lines with 60 grit sand paper. A power file, sanding belt or disk or “dremel”-type tools can help speed up the work.
Step 8: Closing Up and Filling.
The figure's feet are glued to the bottom. Acryfix works very well with Fimo. The roof is glued in place, using glue sparingly. After the glue has set, the joint are made waterproof with glue fillets.
With globes you can put in the snow and part of the water before closing up, but I prefer not to, as you can no longer turn things around to correct the flow of the glue.
Instead I make the mixture of and pour it in the house/globe through the filler opening with a funnel. You need to let the air out by pulling back the funnel a little and sometimes you need to push through the snow when it cloggs. Just take your time.