Mason Jar Snow Globe Toppers

Bookmark this idea for next Christmas. In fact, go buy the clear plastic ornament sets at a major discount at Michael’s Crafts right now, so you are ready to make these next year. That’s what I did. Even two weeks before Christmas, Michael’s had already marked down the ornament sets to 50 cents (originally $1.29). I bought a class set, so my students could make personal Mason jar toppers to take home as gifts for their families. They are fun to make, and you can fill the jars with all kinds of treats.

Materials

  • plastic ornament in two halves (2.75″ diameter– fits 4 oz. and pint mason jar lids, regular mouth)
  • full body photo printed on cardstock that shows above the head and below the feet (printed ~1.75″ and then cut down)
  • mini trees, presents, snowmen shapes or other accessories for the scene inside the snow globe (found these at Michael’s in the snow scene section– these materials did sell out close to the holidays)
  • fake snow flakes (sold in bags during the holidays– a little different than glitter)
  • sparkly pipe cleaners
  • hot glue gun
  • Elmer’s glue

Directions

  • Remove the lid pieces from a Mason jar. Separate the ring from the flat lid part. Run a bead of hot glue around the flat edge of one half of the plastic ornament. Quickly and firmly, press the dome to the edges of the lid ring. The hot glue cools quickly, so you have to move fast. If you attach the ornament part off center, carefully pull it apart, remove the cooled glue and start the process over.

  • In small sections, run a bead of glue along the line where the plastic ornament half attached to the Mason jar ring. Press the pipe cleaner into the glue. Keep running a small bead of glue and press the pipe cleaner as you move around the edge of the ring. When you have finished the circle, let the glue cool and then snip the extra pipe cleaner length off.
  • If you want to personalize the snow globe topper, take a photo of a loved one that shows the full body and has space above the head and below the feet. Pet pictures would work well too. To look more authentic, have the subject look cold in the photo or hold hands up like it is snowing. We added props like scarves and Santa or elf hats when taking our photos. Print the photo on cardstock or another stiff paper. Set the height of the photo to 1.75″. You will cut around the shape of the body and may need to cut the bottom part of the legs off too. Cut around the entire figure and when it is time to attach to the jar lid, you can make adjustments to the height of the picture after testing to see if it stands straight inside the plastic dome.

  • Using a hot glue gun, attach the photo and scene accessories like a mini present or mini snowman foam sticker to the flat plate-like part of the Mason jar lid. Attach the objects, so they stand straight, and they should be as close to the center of the jar lid as possible. Test the height of the objects to make sure they will not get squashed down when the ring with the plastic ornament is screwed down. Cut off the the bottom of any little figures as necessary.

  • Drizzle Elmer’s glue all over the rest of the flat part of the lid and around the edges of the little figures in the center. This piece of the Mason jar lid has a slightly raised edge, and it makes it easy to fill the center area. Avoid the edges of the plate.

  • Scoop fake snow onto the Elmer’s glue and let dry.

  • Fill your glass jar with its contents. There are many fun options– cocoa mix, cinnamon sugar, soup mix, spiced nuts, candies…
  • Carefully lift the flat part of the lid with the snow scene onto the top of the jar. Gently put the domed ring over the snow scene and carefully screw the ring down to tighten.

 

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Flavored Popcorn Salts Gift Idea

It’s the time of year where I like to send a small thank you to all the teachers, coaches, and other caring adults who work with my children. It adds up to more than 20 little gifts, so I am always looking for something that I can make in bulk AND will be something that the receiver might use.  I typically go for something consumable meaning the gift receiver can eat the item, or it has a one time use and then is gone.

This year, I made flavored popcorn salts. There are many recipes available and lots of cute ways to package the salts to give as a gift. I found containers that look like French fry boxes at Hobby Lobby. I put one package of microwave popcorn in each container along with a variety of mini bags of flavored salts. Even if our teacher friends don’t use the salts, most people I know will eat popcorn, and it is something that can be a good snack to make at school (although you have to be careful not to pop in a central location because the smell does linger!).

We gave a mix of 3 salt flavors– Bacon Parmesan, Buffalo Ranch, and Mexican Hot Chocolate (my favorite). I read through a handful of recipes by doing a Pinterest search and then clicking through to the websites. I used recipe ideas from THIS WEBSITE and THIS ONE. For our popcorn packets, I bought “light” microwave popcorn because that type usually has the lightest amount of salt and butter flavor. You need the least amount of salt and butter as possible to start because the flavored salts are SALTY, so use sparingly. Of course, you could always pop your own popcorn from scratch and control the salt amounts that way.

I printed THESE LABELS for the mini bags. I used my favorite 3″ x 5″ bead bags that I get from Michael’s Crafts and Avery labels 8160, size 1″ x 2 5/8″.

The salts can be sprinkled on meat, eggs, or anything to which you would normally add salt. Based on the few blog posts I read, it is really easy to create new combinations so think about flavors you enjoy and start mixing! If you want to take this idea and make the gift a little more substantial, add a movie gift card for your local theatre or a gift card for Redbox.

BTS Night Parent Handout

It’s back to school season. For most of us with school aged children that means some sort of meet-the-teacher night with lots of handouts. Since I am a teacher too, I know the handouts have valuable information in them– when to wear PE clothes, lunch procedures, HW procedures, acceptable pencils… We all receive these pamphlets with key information that get dumped into that junk drawer in the kitchen. For the past few years, I created a flip book and attached a magnet to the back, so parents could hang the booklet on their refrigerator in plain sight. I still like that idea, but I was getting tired of making them, and my pages never lined up correctly (which bugged my OCD nature to no end).

This year I folded mini pocket folders with card stock and inserted individual cascading pages by modifying my old flip book file. You can see the headings of each page of information and pull out that insert to get the information you need. I think these folders will still get dumped into the kitchen junk drawer, but I like the construction of them, the final size, and the way you can view the information headings.

To Make the Folders:

  • Use 8 1/2″ x 11″ card stock. Cut cardstock to 7 1/2″ x 11″ size. I found Astrobrights cardstock paper that was double colored, so each side has a coordinating color. It makes the final pocket folder more interesting.

  • I have a paper scorer to make guidelines where I need to fold. You could use a ruler to measure and fold by hand. Set the paper in landscape direction. You will fold along the long edge of the paper at 5 1/2″ (bottom of the paper folds up 2″). You will fold the paper in half at 5 1/2″ down the center.

  • After pre-folding, open the paper flat and cut a skinny triangle along the 2-inch flap. The tip of the triangle will be 2-inches into the paper at the 5 1/2″ fold. This will allow the bottom flap to fold up neatly without bending or buckling in the center.

To Make the Printed Inserts:

  • I created THIS TEMPLATE in MSPowerPoint. There are 10 slides (plus one slide with teacher notes) with editable textboxes in different sizes.
  • Fill the textboxes with the essential information for your classroom.
  • Each slide page is 5 1/2″ x 5 1/2″. I printed on 8 1/2″ x 11″ paper, so lots of cutting is involved. Print the pages and cut to the correct sizes with a paper cutter. All pages will be 5 3/8″ wide. The heights vary by 1/2″. The tallest page is 5 1/2″. The shortest pages is 3 1/2″. You could add one more pair of pages for a total of 12 pages (6 on each side), and the shortest page would be 3″.

  • I cut the width of the pages first. Then, I cut near the header next. For me, if I lined up the paper at 7″ on the paper cutter, it would cut at the perfect place above the header for all pages. After that cut, I would flip the page and cut my varying heights beginning with my largest page (5 1/2″is the tallest; 5″ is the next height; 4 1/2″ is the next… down to 3 1/2″).

  • Cutting the pages down to size is time consuming, but I think the final result is well worth it!
  • As a final step, print or write a title on the front of each folder. I printed a label on 2″ x 4″ Avery shipping labels and then cut the labels to 2″ x 2″ because I liked the square shape on the folder covers (and I happened to have that label size in my massive paper supply).

Back to School Teacher Emergency Kit 2017

Since my children started attending elementary school, I have been cooking up some little back to school teacher emergency kit to give my kids’ homeroom teachers on the first day of school. Each year, the kits are a little different, but the contents are always based on items I need at school but don’t always have. I usually change up the bag or box to hold all of the items, but this fall, I am returning to the plastic bead box with removable divider slots that was the first container I ever used.

The Box: I purchase the bead storage boxes from Michael’s. It has ten slots with removable dividers. I remove a few of the dividers to make sections of the box bigger depending on what I have that needs to go in the box.

The Contents: Below is what I included in the kits this time. You could also consider adding things like mints, a good Flair pen or Sharpie pen, travel sized lotion, Advil or Tylenol, mini Windex wipes for electronics (I have seen these at Target), a Tide to Go pen… I browse the travel-sized aisle at places like CVS and Target for inspiration.

  • cough drops
  • safety pins
  • soda money in quarters
  • Blistex
  • Pepto Bismol chewable tablets
  • tweezers
  • disposable toothbrush and paste (one time use)
  • emery board
  • Band-aids
  • hair bands
  • dental flossers

The Labels: I printed THIS 2″x 4″ label for the lid of the box using a Red Cross style logo to make it look like an emergency kit. I created a table for the inside of the box and printed it on cardstock. Using a paper cutter, I cut it down to fit the inside lid and attached it with clear tape. I wanted the “map” on the inside to look like one of those lists they have in the big chocolate candy boxes, so you know what kind of chocolate you are eating. Here is a copy of the Teacher Emergency Kit Map.

To get more inspiration for Back to School Teacher Emergency Kits, take a look at some of mine from previous years by clicking the links below.

Teacher Emergency Kit 2012

Teacher Emergency Kit 2013

Teacher Emergency Kit 2014

Teacher Emergency Kit 2015

Teacher Emergency Kit 2016

End of Year Teacher Gift

If you are new to TheRoomMom, you may not know about a fixation I have for teacher gift giving. I love putting together small appreciation gifts for my children’s teachers throughout the year. For our end of year teacher gifts, I don’t even pretend to think about new ideas any more. We repeat the scratch off lottery ticket gift that we have been giving to the teachers and staff at our school for the past three years.

The part we do change is the receptacle we use to deliver the lottery ticket. This year we made mini pocket folders with cardstock weight scrapbook paper. They are easy to make, and it was fun choosing the paper and coordinating washi tape.

Mini Pocket Folder Materials

  • stiff scrapbook paper (5 1/2″ x 12″)
  • tool to score paper (I have THIS ONE)
  • double sided tape in an E-Z dispenser, .27″ width (like THIS)
  • scissors
  • labels (~2″ x 2″)

Directions

  • Set the paper in a landscape direction. Using the tool to make score lines on your paper, press a line at 2 3/4″, a line at 6″, and a line at 9 1/4″. Fold the paper in half along the 6″ score line. Open the paper and fold the two outer edges towards the middle. The decorative side of the paper should be on the outside.

  • Near the top of one flap, trim the corner. Start about one inch from the outer fold at the top of the paper and cut down at an angle to cut a triangle. Take your triangle scrap and flip it over to use as a guide to cut the triangle on the other side of the folder.

  • Run an adhesive strip at the bottom of the paper on the outer flaps.

  • Press the flaps down to attach the bottom of the paper together to form the pocket.
  • Stuff the pocket folder with your materials. We filled with three $1 scratch off lottery tickets, but the pocket folders are a good size for gift cards or even a thoughtful note.
  • Attach a label on the front cover. I printed Avery 2″ x 4″ labels and cut the sides down to make the labels ~2″ x 2″. You could also print on plain paper, cut apart, and glue to the front of the pocket folder.
  • Seal the folders closed with a piece of washi tape or a sticker.

To see my other ideas for making lottery ticket– or gift card– holders, CLICK HERE or HERE or HERE.