Snow Globe DIY

Here's the crafty part of this project! You now get to choose decorations to use inside your snow globe, fill it up, seal it, and then embed the Circuit Playground Bluefruit into the base!

Scene Building

You can get creative with your snow globe filling.

There are lots of figures, scenic elements, and models you can add to a globe as well.

NOTE: be sure to test objects to make sure they'll work well in water -- some paints and dyes are not water fast.

Use E6000 glue to secure them to the plug, and even add some to just float around!

A little glue under the base of this owl, deer, and tree is all it takes. Give the glue time to cure before adding it to the water filled globe.

Globe Filling

The key ingredients for a beautiful snow globe are water, glycerine, and glitter.

Fill the globe with filtered or distilled water for best clarity, about 2-1/2 cups. Don't go all the way to the top, you'll need to leave some room for the plug.

The glycerine makes the liquid a bit more viscous, encouraging slower, lazier falling motion of the glitter. Just small amount will do.

Glitter

Next, add your glitter, snowflakes, sequins, beads, and any other things you'd like to see in your snow globe.

Here, I went with a mostly white array of decoration, which look really nice with the colored LED lighting.

You can then top off the water level if necessary to the line in the neck of the globe right before the threading begins.

 

Plug Sealing

While the plug is meant to keep the globe watertight from the pressure of the screw cap, we'll take the extra measure of sealing it with E6000 glue. This is because our CPB and battery will be right there and we don't want them to get wet should any small leak occur!

Wipe off the inside of the globe neck, then apply a moderate amount of glue around the perimeter of the plug as shown.

Press the plug into place and then remove any excess glue.

Allow the glue to dry, a full cure can take a full day or more depending on ambient temperature and humidity -- refer to the tube instructions for more details.

CPB Prep

Use some double stick foam tape to secure the battery to the back of the Circuit Playground Bluefruit in such a way that you can plug the cable into the JST connector on the board.

Battery Charging

The CPB does not contain a battery charging circuit, so you'll need to unplug the battery from the board and use a dedicated LiPo charger such as the one shown here that plugs directly into a USB port.

Globe Lights

With the CPB programmed, the battery charged and plugged into the board, and the water plug glue seal cured, we'll put it all together.

Place the CPB with the NeoPixel side of the board facing into the globe, then screw on the cap.

Control the Snow Globe with the Bluefruit LE Connect App

Download the App

To control the NeoPixel colors, speed, duration, and animation presets from a mobile device (phone or tablet), you'll use the free Adafruit Bluefruit LE Connect App. Install it from the Apple App Store or Google Play App Store.

Custom Lighting Color

Now, give the globe a shake and you'll see the lights animate! Launch the Bluefruit app on your iOS or Android device at this point to learn how to adjust the colors and animations.

Making sure Bluetooth is enabled on your device, launch the app and then connect to the snow globe CPB as shown. The LEDs will flash blue when you connect.

Then, go to the Controller module, followed by the Color Picker module.

Here, you can choose a hue and saturation with the color wheel, and brightness with the slider. Press the Send selected color button to send the color to the CPB, which will flash that color briefly, helping you judge the look of it on the actual snow globe.

This color will be used when you shake the globe. Once you like your color choice, press the Controller back arrow to return to the controller module.

Light Show Tuning

You can shake the globe again to see the animation with your newly selected color. What if you want to speed it up/down, make it run for shorter or longer duration, or pick a different animation? That's where the Control Pad module comes in!

Click Control Pad and you'll be presented with the arrow key d-pad and 1-4 buttons.

Each of these controls with adjust a parameter of the lighting animation on the CPB when pressed:

  • up/down arrows make the animation fun faster or slower
  • left/right arrow decrease or increase the duration of the animation
  • 1-4 are four different animation patterns as defined in the CircuitPython code, such as spin, strobe, sparkle, and fade

After pressing each button the globe will run the animation to show the effect of the new settings.

This guide was first published on Nov 27, 2019. It was last updated on Nov 27, 2019. This page (Snow Globe DIY) was last updated on Dec 05, 2019.