Introduction: Frozen Snow Globe

About: I make toys and electronic gadgets.

Do you wanna build a snow globe? In summer? Yeah, me too. So let's make a "Frozen" snow globe!

The parts are all modular, so this project can be torn down and reassembled into a future project. The cardboard box is given a second use before being recycled.


  • littleBits modules: Arduino, power, wire x 2, fan, button, toggle switch (for power save mode), speaker
  • 9V battery
  • small fish bowl: You can get one at the craft store, secondhand store or florist
  • a small sturdy cardboard box
  • sheet music, such as "Frozen: Music From The Motion Picture Soundtrack"
  • teeny tiny styrofoam balls - go ahead and crumble a chunk of styrofoam
  • crafty stuff - sandpaper, gesso, acrylic paint, colored paper, glue dots, hot glue, glitter. Get creative and use whatever you like to decorate the box!
  • a mini umbrella from a Chinese restaurant
  • a figurine: buy one or make it with polymer clay:
    • white, black, orange, brown colored Sculpey - I used the bake and bend variety.
    • bendable sturdy wire about the thickness of a large paperclip
    • foil
    • tracing paper


  • wire cutters
  • clean non-food surface
  • computer for programming the Arduino module
  • scissors or X-acto knife
  • hot glue gun
  • pencil
  • paint brush(es)
  • plastic tools that come with polymer clay: a roller and a knife

Step 1: Program the Arduino LittleBit

For programming and testing, assemble the circuit like this:

power + button + wire (pin a0) + Arduino + wire (pin d5) + toggle switch + fan + speaker (from Arduino pin d9)

  • Download the attached snow globe code and upload it to the Arduino bit. This code requires the pitches.h file. I am assuming you have already tried a couple sketches on your littleBits Arduino.
  • My code includes musical snippets of three songs: "Do You Wanna Build A Snow Man?" "For the First Time in Forever," and "Let it Go" - If anyone would like to add a snippet of the melody "In Summer", go ahead and put the arrays in the comment section. No copyright infringement is intended; this instructional is for educational use and only uses small snippets of songs.
  • When you push the button, the fan will blow through the duration of a song.
  • Each time you push the button, the next song will play.
  • Your child will play the songs over and over, which is why there is a power save toggle switch.

Each song has two arrays: one for notes and one for note duration. I modified the code from littleBits 8-bit Jukebox project, which is here on Instructables, and that 'ible referred to this melody tutorial on GarageLab.

Step 2: Build a Snow Man

There is a fantastic Olaf tutorial on spoonful by Chris Mackay. It even has a handy pdf file.

Me? I didn't use that. Here's what I did:

  • I traced Olaf from my computer as a size reference. Make sure your character can fit inside the fish bowl!
  • I made an armature with wire and bulked that out with foil. The armature must be smaller than your size reference drawing (see pics).
    • A good rule of thumb is to cut a length of wire 3 times the height of your figure. The twisting and bending will shorten it considerably. I used a large paperclip for arms; the paperclip was slipped in between twists and wrapped around the trunk.
  • Then I rolled out some white clay into sheets and draped them over my foil/wire armature.
  • I modeled it for a long time before I was satisfied with the initial shape.
  • I then added the details. A couple tiny black snakes for the top of the eye sockets and again for the eyebrows. Roundish white eyeballs with black balls pressed flat for pupils, and bigger black buttons squished flatish. Finally, an orange tapered snake for a carrot nose.
  • I made the beach ball from a ball of clay I was going to turn into a planet. Use whatever clay or ball you have and paint it like a beach ball.

My method has the advantage of saving clay, reducing cook time, and making the figure light and arms bendy (wires covered in brown Sculpey bake and bend). However, I think it would be way easier for you to go with Chris Mackay's tutorial. His method will result in a smoother surface, and probably less time sculpting.

Step 3: Decorate the Platform (Box)

Try to see if you can fit all the bits into the box, but let the fan sit on top of the box. Does the box have nice proportions relative to your fish bowl? Cool. Sand paper shiny cardboard surfaces if you want to paint. Paint or attach colored paper. Mark and cut holes with a scissors or Xacto knife where you will put the button, speaker and the optional power save toggle switch. Now get to decorating the box any way you like.

I don't think cutting a hole for the fan helped my snow move around, but I know that the fan needs a screen on it. I salvaged some from my shredded window screen(Jack!) and glue dotted it to the corners. You could use fish net stockings. Without a screen, the little snow foamy bits get stuck in the fan and make it stop.

Hot glue Olaf's foot to the screened fan and the beach ball to the corner. Open the umbrella slightly and glue dot it to Olaf's back. Decide if you want to hot glue the globe to the box. I haven't done that yet.

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