Do you store snow globes upside down?

Snow globes are beloved decorative items, especially around the holidays. Watching the “snow” fall on a miniature winter scene when you shake a snow globe is mesmerizing. But what is the best way to store a snow globe when it’s not being displayed? Should snow globes be stored upside down or right side up?

Quick Answers

The quick answers to whether you should store snow globes upside down are:

  • Most experts recommend storing snow globes right side up, not upside down.
  • Storing snow globes upside down can cause the liquid inside to leak over time.
  • The exception is if the snow globe has any loose glitter pieces – then it’s best to store upside down to keep the glitter at the top, not resting on the scene.

Will storing a snow globe upside down damage it?

The main concern with storing a snow globe upside down long-term is that it can cause the liquid inside to leak out. Snow globes are carefully sealed, but over time, especially if shaken and turned upside down repeatedly, the seals can weaken and liquid can seep out.

Liquid leaking can damage the base the snow globe sits on, or any surface it’s displayed on. But more importantly, losing some of the liquid inside will affect the snow globe when you go to shake it later. The liquid is what makes the “snow” swirl around when shaken. With less liquid, the snow motion won’t be as robust.

What causes snow globes to leak?

There are a few reasons snow globes can start to leak over time:

  • Weakened seals – Repeated shaking and flipping can weaken the seals.
  • Thinner liquid – Some use thin liquids that seep easier than others.
  • Glitter pieces resting on seal – Glitter particles can get stuck at the seal allowing liquid to get through.
  • Submerging in water – Getting a snow globe wet can damage the seals.
  • Temperature fluctuations – Heating and cooling can cause contraction and expansion of liquid.

Protecting snow globe seals

To help prevent leaking, be gentle when handling your snow globes. Avoid shaking vigorously or tossing around. Also take care not to submerge them in water (falling in a sink for example).

Storing your snow globes in a consistent environment can minimize liquid expansion and contraction from temperature swings. Keep them at regular room temperature as much as possible.

Is it ok to store a snow globe upside down sometimes?

Occasionally storing a snow globe upside down for brief periods is generally fine. For example, if you need to transport a snow globe, resting it upside down in packing material is recommended to keep the globe steady and limit motion.

Just don’t leave it resting upside down for extended periods of time, especially repeatedly over many months or years. The stress on the seals over long periods being upside down can cause issues.

Tips for occasionally storing upside down

When you need to rest a snow globe upside down for a short time, follow these tips:

  • Pack with padding to prevent shaking and motion.
  • Try not to tip it fully vertical upside down – lean it at a slight angle if possible.
  • Limit the duration upside down as much as you can.
  • Give the globe a good shake after returning it right side up to redistribute liquid.

If you have loose glitter pieces

One exception to avoiding storing snow globes upside down is if you have a snow globe with many loose glitter pieces inside. Over time, those glitter pieces settling at the bottom can press against the seals.

In that case, it’s best practice to store the snow globe upside down. That keeps the glitter lifted at the top instead of settled at the bottom and prevents any extra pressure on the seals.

Tips for snow globes with loose glitter

  • Store upside down to keep glitter at the top.
  • Gently tilt and rotate occasionally to redistribute glitter.
  • When displaying right side up, gently swirl daily to lift glitter off seals.
  • Consider using sealant if it continues leaking – apply very sparingly.

Displaying snow globes

Snow globes should be displayed right side up. Not only does this allow you to enjoy the scene as intended, but it prevents pressure from being applied to the seals constantly over time.

However, you’ll want to be careful about letting direct sunlight stream onto a snow globe for many hours at a time. The magnifying effect can potentially damage the liquid or plastic figures inside over time. Keep them in indirect sunlight when displaying.

Snow globe display tips

  • Display right side up.
  • Rotate globe daily if glitter pieces are present.
  • Keep out of direct sunlight.
  • Dust gently to clean outside.
  • Consider display case if valuable.

How to tell if your snow globe is leaking

If you notice any moisture on the base of your snow globe or surface it’s displayed on, that likely indicates a small leak. Look for any liquid droplets visible at the seam where the two halves are joined.

You may also notice reduced volume of liquid inside, causing the snow motion to be less robust. If you hear a “glug” noise when gently tilting instead of normal liquid sounds, air is likely replacing some escaped liquid.

Signs of leaking

  • Droplets of fluid around the seam or base.
  • Reduced “snow” motion when shaken.
  • “Glugging” noise when tilted.
  • Pools of liquid on display surface.

How to stop snow globe leaks

If your snow globe does start to leak liquid, don’t panic. There are some things you can try to stop the leak:

  • Sealant – Apply a tiny amount of clear sealant like E6000 along the seam. Allow to fully dry before handling.
  • Wax – Rub a little candle wax along the leaking seam to plug gaps.
  • Hold upside down – Store upside down so liquid pressure pushes against seam.
  • Contact seller – If under warranty, contact the seller about a replacement.

Avoid shaking or handling the snow globe once you notice leaks to minimize further damage. Try the steps above to stop the leak, then store upside down until you can get help from the seller if needed.

Do homemade snow globes leak?

Homemade snow globes are more prone to leaking than high quality manufactured snow globes. With homemade globes, improper ratios of fillings, low quality adhesives, and uneven surface tension can all cause liquid to leak out over time.

If you make DIY snow globes, be prepared to troubleshoot leaking issues more frequently. Use very high quality sealants and adhesives during construction. Test different material ratios to get the liquid viscosity and surface tension balanced.

Tips for leak-proof homemade snow globes

  • Use tightly sealing clear containers with smooth edges.
  • Check that all interior decorations are fully sealed.
  • Use distilled water and quality sealants/glues.
  • Let dry thoroughly between each assembly step.
  • Consider a two-part epoxy for extra strong bonds.

Do snow globe leaks ruin them?

Small leaks don’t necessarily ruin a snow globe, but can reduce its quality and value if left unchecked. As liquid escapes, the snow motion becomes less robust over time.

Repairing leaks early on has the best chance for minimally impacting the snow globe. Once a large portion of liquid has escaped, the magic effect may be difficult to restore.

Evaluating leak damage

  • Look for repairs like wax or glue residue.
  • Shake gently and watch snow motion quality.
  • Tilt and listen for “glugging” noises.
  • Assess any fogginess or debris inside liquid.
  • Check that figures are still securely attached.

Well-repaired leaks often leave snow globes still functional and enjoyable. But serious damage or large volume loss will degrade the overall quality permanently.

How to clean leaky snow globes

For snow globes with only minor leakage, you may be able to restore them close to original condition. Here are some cleaning tips:

  • Soak up any leaked liquid with a towel immediately.
  • Use q-tips and small brushes to carefully clean the seam.
  • Remove any dried wax or glue residue.
  • Fill with distilled water using a dropper if needed.
  • Let fully dry before reassembling if taking apart.

Be very gentle when handling a leaky snow globe during cleaning. Harsh scrubbing or soaking can further degrade the seals. Work slowly and cautiously to get it looking great again.

Can you repair a damaged snow globe?

For valuable antique or fragile snow globes, professional restoration may be possible for damaged pieces. A skilled restorer can:

  • Replace broken or missing figures.
  • Repair detached base or music components.
  • Fill liquid to proper level.
  • Seal leaks and strengthen seals.
  • Clean interior fogginess or debris.
  • Restore original paint color and finish.

The cost depends on the globe size, damage extent, and professional services required. But for certain cherished heirlooms, the expense can be worth it to salvage the item.

When to restore vs. replace

For mass-produced or inexpensive snow globes, replacement may make more sense than extensive repairs. Consider restoring if:

  • It has sentimental family value.
  • Replacement can’t be found.
  • It’s a rare antique piece.
  • Damage is relatively minor.

Replacement may be better if the snow globe is widely available or damage makes restoration very costly with low chance of success.


When it comes to storage orientation for snow globes, right side up is usually best. This prevents strain on the interior seals over long periods. An exception is using upside down storage if glitter particles are present, to keep them lifted off the seals.

Display snow globes right side up as well, giving them a gentle swirl if glitter is inside. Be cautious of direct sunlight damaging the materials over time. Check globes regularly for any signs of leaking, and act quickly if you notice leaks to prevent permanent damage.

With some care and proper handling, your snow globes can delight year after year when the holidays roll around and it’s time to give them a shake!

Leave a Comment