What Kind of Water Is in a Snow Globe?

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Snow globes were developed in the 19th century.
Snow globes were developed in the 19th century. (Image: christmas snow globe image by Christopher Nolan from Fotolia.com)

Snow globes are delightful souvenirs that feature miniature models amid swirling snow. They are a favorite of children and adults alike and have become a collectors item. Snow globes are filled with different varieties of liquids, including water, glycerin and corn syrup.

Water

Some snow globes are filled with clear water at room temperature. Some globes are filled with distilled water. If the water is too hot or too cold it will create condensation on the inside and outside of the globe. The snow particles in these snow globes will fall faster than other varieties of snow globes.

Glycerin

Snow globe makers add glycerin to the water to thicken it, which will cause the snow particles to fall slower than snow globes filled with just water. The more glycerin that is added to the snow globe, the slower it will fall. Snow globe makers can add anywhere from one teaspoon to one cup of glycerin.

Corn Syrup

Some home craft makers use corn syrup rather than glycerin to slow the fall of the snow particles in their snow globe. You can find glycerin at well-stocked craft stores, while most grocery stores stock corn syrup. Most snow globe makers use one part water with one part corn syrup.

Other Fillers

Most snow globes are filled with manufactured fake snow that is usually waterproof plastic. Home snow globe makers can purchase fake snow at a craft store or they can use glitter as a replacement. Other home snow globe makers create fake snow by grinding a white PVC pipe with a grater.

History

French craftsmen developed Snow globes in the 19th century as decorative paperweights. The first snow globe was introduced in the 1889 Paris Exhibition and featured a miniature Eiffel Tower replica with a ceramic base and fake snow. Snow globes were called water balls or snow domes. After its introduction, the snow globe paperweight spread across Europe and featured clocks, dolls and religious symbols inside them.

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