Prevention Guide: Can Snow Globes Freeze and How to Protect Them

Ever wondered what happens to your snow globes in freezing temperatures? You’re not alone. Many people have asked, “Can snow globes freeze?” and the answer might surprise you.

Snow globes, those enchanting little worlds encased in glass, are a beloved part of many people’s holiday decorations. But if you’re thinking about storing them in your chilly garage or attic over the winter, you might want to reconsider.

Why? Because snow globes can indeed freeze. And when they do, it’s not a pretty sight. We’ll dive deeper into the reasons why and what you can do to prevent it. So, keep reading to ensure the longevity of your precious snow globes.

Key Takeaways

  • Snow globes can freeze and suffer damage due to the water expansion during freezing process. It might provoke distortion or breakage of the snow globe as well as damage to the internal components.
  • The liquid inside the snow globe is a blend of water and glycerin, with glycerin slowing down the movement of the particles and acting as an antifreeze, thus lowering the freezing point of the liquid content.
  • Factors contributing to the snow globe’s freezing include material composition, external conditions where it is kept, and maintenance efforts. The snow globe should ideally be kept in conditions where temperature is above the freezing point of the inner liquid blend.
  • Preventive measures to avoid snow globes from freezing include maintaining optimal ambiance temperature, indoor placement, regular checks and maintenance to detect possible leaks/seal problems, and professional adjustments to the antifreeze component (glycerin) in the liquid blend if necessary.
  • It is advisable to invest in high-quality globes coming from reputable suppliers, who often utilize superior materials and methods that naturally raise the anti-freezing ability of their products, ensuring the longevity of your snow globes.

Snow globes, with their miniature scenes and floating snowflakes, are cherished by collectors and holiday enthusiasts alike. To understand the science behind snow globe care in freezing temperatures, one might consult Smithsonian Magazine for an article on the materials used in snow globes and how they react to cold. For practical tips on protecting these delicate items from freezing, Martha Stewart offers advice on storage and display to prevent damage. Additionally, those looking for unique, freeze-resistant snow globes can find artisan options on Etsy, where creators often detail the care and maintenance of their crafts.

Exploring the Freezing Phenomenon

You might’ve noticed a snow globe going cloudy or the glitter forming clumps when the temperature drops significantly. You’re not alone in this. Many wonder about what’s happening inside their snow globes when Jack Frost nips at the nose. So, is it the freezing cold wreaking havoc on your holiday memento, or is there something else at play?

In essence, a snow globe is a sealed glass enclosure, filled with water, often mixed with glycerin and small particles. The glycerin helps slow down the descent of the particles, mimicking an enchanting snowfall. But what happens when the temperature plummets?

If you keep a snow globe in an area that’s below the freezing point of water, such as outdoors during winter or in a frigid garage, the water inside can potentially freeze. This can lead to two key risks:

  • Distortion of the Enclosure: As water freezes, it expands. This can result in your snow globe becoming distorted or even worse, cracking.
  • Damage to the Internal Components: The freezing water could also damage the glitter, figures or scenic elements inside.

However, it’s interesting to note that the glycerin mixed in the water acts as an antifreeze of sorts, lowering the freezing point of the liquid inside the globe. But in extremely cold conditions, even the amount of glycerin typically present in a snow globe might not be enough to prevent freezing.

Your much-loved snow globe isn’t just a decoration. It’s a mini microclimate with its own weather system and environment, not immune to the effects of extreme cold. As valuable as your cherished memento might be, neglecting to consider its response to freezing could lead to its downfall.

In the next section, we’ll delve into how you can prevent this from happening and ways to ensure the longevity of your snow globes. Let’s assure that your holiday keepsakes continue to conjure up wonderful memories each time you give them a shake.

What Happens When Snow Globes Freeze?

You might be surprised to learn that freezing temperatures can quite literally freeze the magic inside your snow globes. The freezing of water in a snow globe can cause distortions, lead to the internal components being damaged and sometimes, even rupture the glass enclosure.

Similarly to how water expands in your home’s plumbing during freezing temperatures, so too does the water inside a snow globe. This expansion puts pressure on the glass enclosure and can lead to its breakage, caused by the expansion of freezing water. It’s not just the potential for breakage that’s concerning. Internal items such as the tiny figures and glitter can get damaged as well.

You might have noticed that the “snow” in the globe actually moves quite slowly when you shake it. This is because the water inside isn’t pure. It contains a substance called glycerin. Glycerin helps to slow down the movement of the tiny shiny particles that mimic snowfall. However, this glycerin acts as a partially effective antifreeze, meaning it helps to lower the freezing point of the water. In extremely cold circumstances, though, this might not be enough.

This might have you thinking about what happens when the season is over and the temperature rises. Can the snow globe self-repair? As the snow globe temperature rises back to room temperature, the ice melts and returns to its liquid state, potentially allowing the damaged internal components to readjust to their original positions. But just like frost-damaged plants, these internals might never quite regain their original quality and your snow globe could remain distorted.

In the next section, we’ll provide some proactive tips to help you avoid the freezing of your snow globes.

Factors Contributing to Freezing

As you delve deeper into the science of snow globes, you’ll find a variety of factors that contribute to their freezing. These factors can generally be put into three categories: material composition of the snow globe, environmental conditions and poor maintenance.

The material composition of your snow globe plays a crucial role in its vulnerability to freezing. The internal components of the globe, primarily water and glycerin, have specific freezing points. Water freezes at 32°F (0°C), while glycerin has a lower freezing point, typically -38.83°F (-39.35°C). However, the mixture inside the globe might not be a stylistic choice; it’s a necessity. The glycerin doesn’t just enhance the snow movement, it serves as a type of antifreeze. Yet, the protection it offers isn’t foolproof. Extreme temperatures can still cause your globe to freeze.

Raising the TemperatureFreezing Point
Water32°F (0°C)
Glycerin-38.83°F (-39.35°C)

Environmental conditions, too, can play a huge part. Leaving a snow globe in your car overnight in blistering winter conditions or using it as an outside decoration may seem like fun ideas at first, but these situations are fast tracks to freezing and subsequent damage.

Finally, poor maintenance such as imperfections in the globe’s seal can expose the internal fluid to lower temperatures more directly. This hastens the freezing process, increasing the likelihood of damage. It’s fair to say that regular checks and maintenance of your snow globe can prolong its life and beauty.

Up next, we’ll delve into the processes and products that can protect your valuable and cherished snow globes keeping them from this frozen fate.

Tips to Prevent Snow Globes from Freezing

After understanding what causes snow globes to freeze, you are probably looking for ways to prevent this from happening. Rightly so, as preserving the longevity and beauty of these charming objects is of importance to every owner.

1. Maintain Optimal Environment: Start with keeping your snow globes at a temperature above freezing. Remember, the freeze point of water is 32°F and that of glycerin is around 17.8°F. The blend inside your snow globe will freeze somewhere between these two temperatures. Ideally, maintain a room temperature of around 65-70°F, well above any freezing danger.

2. Indoor Use:
Snow globes are meant for indoor decoration. Exposing them to outdoor temperatures, especially during winter, may accelerate freezing and eventually lead to damage. If you must display your globes outside, ensure they are brought back indoors before temperatures drop below freezing.

3. Regular Checks and Maintenance:
Seal imperfections and leaks are a common cause of globe freezing. The liquid blend inside can seep out, leaving space for air that accelerates freezing. Regular maintenance and seal inspections can help identify and fix any such issues promptly.

4. Antifreeze Adjustment:
Though glycerin cannot completely prevent freezing in extremely cold conditions, increasing its proportion in the water-glycerin blend may reduce the chances. Remember, this should be done professionally to avoid damaging the globe’s aesthetics and functionality.

Applying these measures can significantly reduce the risk of your snow globes freezing. However, it’s always best to buy high-quality globes from reputable makers. They often use high-grade materials and superior manufacturing processes that naturally enhance the anti-freezing ability of their products. Your snow globe’s well-being is not just about its present condition. You are playing a critical role in determining its future too. Keep these tips in mind, and your snow globes will continue to enchant for years to come.


So, you’ve got the lowdown on snow globe care. It’s clear that keeping your snow globes from freezing isn’t as daunting as it may seem. By simply keeping them indoors during chilly months and regularly checking for seal issues, you can help them withstand the cold. Don’t forget, adjusting the glycerin-water mix and opting for quality snow globes can further shield them from freezing. With these measures, you’re well-equipped to ensure your snow globes continue to enchant for years to come. Now that’s a winter wonderland worth preserving!

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I prevent my snow globe from freezing?

To prevent snow globes from freezing, maintain them in an environment above freezing temperatures. Avoid using or storing them outdoors during the winter.

Why should I check for seal imperfections in my snow globe?

Seal imperfections can lead to leaks, which can accelerate the freezing process. Regular checks and timely repairs can help maintain the longevity of your snow globe.

How does adjusting the glycerin-water blend help in preventing freezing?

Adjusting the glycerin-water blend within the globe can change the freezing point of the liquid, making it less likely to freeze during cold weather.

Why is it recommended to buy snow globes from reputable makers?

Reputable makers often use high-quality materials and construction techniques, reducing the risk of freezing and other damages. Plus, they usually offer better customer service for any post-purchase issues.