Thursday, May 3, 2012

Domes of Curiosity (DIY)

Recently, I found the website, and fell in love with it.  My favorite category is the Rare Bird section filled with stunning  one-of-a-kind antiques and treasures.  It was here that I discovered the Domes of Curiosity.  The original versions, cased in thick glass and artfully arranged, are priced between $900 and $1,500.  Of course, they are full of beautiful and rare objects, but if you want a much less expensive version, you can make several of  these little versions for under $15.

Each one features a collection of unique items housed under a glass dome: artifacts, tools, notes, and so on.  I made it my mission to create my own smaller version - and because I love a challenge - I chose to use only items from the dollar store.

You will need (for the domes):
a pack of plastic wine glasses
a set of candle drip rings
wooden beads
gold paint (or nail polish)
not shown -  hot glue gun

(I found everything at Dollar Tree)

For the Collection Displayed Inside:
***not shown - small twigs from your yard***

Here is a basket full of different items to put in your domes - all from the Dollar Tree next to my apartment (unfortunately, my phone does not take great pictures, but you get the idea).
When you plan your trip to the Dollar Store, give yourself plenty of time to search out the perfect artifacts for display.
Places to check for 'curious items' to place in your dome:
~Hardware Isle - picture hanging kit, small tools, locks and keys, mini light bulbs, chain, small clock faces
~Craft Isle - Beads and buttons (there's usually an assortment of random things) flowers, ribbon, floral wire, small spools of thread and sewing pins, stationary, stickers, beads, butterflies, and small stones
~Also be sure to check the selection of ceramic figurines, small toy animals, hair accessories, jewelry and seasonal merchandise.
~My best find was a hair band with a cameo decoration in a pretend gold frame.  These have been sitting on the shelf for months and are my favorite item displayed in the domes.

Here is a picture of the finished dome to give you an idea of what we're working with:
handle (wooden bead) ------------------------------------------------>

dome (top section of the wine glass flipped upside down) ------------->

pedestal (candle ring) ------------------------------------------------->
cardboard circle ------------------------------------------------------>

base (bottom section of the wine glass) -------------------------------->

The bottom of the wine glass and candle ring will be hot glued together to form the pedestal base for your dome.  Because the candle ring has a hole in the middle, we need to cut a small circle of cardboard to connect the two pieces (I cut my circles from the candle ring packaging).  Use the candle ring as a stencil and trace along the edge of the hole in the center.  When you cut out the circle, leave about 1/4 inch of space between your cutting line and the circle you've traced.  When you hold the cardboard circle up to the hole of the candle ring, it should be slightly larger than the hole- it should not fit through the hole.
Paint the cardboard circles, wooden beads, and the twigs you've collected with gold paint or nail polish.
When the paint is dry, glue the cardboard circle to the base of the glass.  Make a thin ring of hot glue around the edge of the cardboard circle and set the candle ring on it.  Flip over the top part of the wine glass and glue the wooden bead to the stem.  Your dome is now finished, time to fill it with curious treasures.

Hold the branch up in your dome.  The bottom section of the branch should be flush with the bottom edge of the dome.  If the branch is too tall, the dome will not rest on the base: instead, it will rest on the branch and cause a gap between the two sections.  Trim the branch until it fits comfortably inside the dome, then hot glue the branch to the center of the pedestal base.  It should look like a tree.  Test the dome one last time after gluing down the branch.  If it does not rest on the base, trim small sections of the branch until it does.

Place other objects around the branch.  When you are happy with the placement, use a dab of hot glue to hold them in place.  Add the larger objects first, then smaller items like beads or chain. 
You can also glue items to the branch.  I attached flowers to my branch and a butterfly cut from pretty stationary.  Between objects, set your dome over the collection to be sure that it still rests on the base.  When you are happy with the arrangement, cover with the dome and display.  I didn't glue my dome to the base, just in case I decide to go in later an change out the contents.
These tiny domes could be easily used as beautiful little wedding decorations.  If you added small cards with numbers to the collection inside, they could double as centerpieces and table numbers!

I can also imagine them at tea parties.    Candy or tiny cookies in mini cupcake papers would look so pretty that guests couldn't resist reaching in to grab a few.

Another adorable place for one is in a little girl's play kitchen.  Wouldn't it look so cute displaying pretend treats?  

If you chose to make some of these little domes, please send me pictures, I would love to see what curiosities you choose to fill them with!

Don't forget about the Gator Clip give-away!
Go to, like the page and add a comment under the gator clip picture telling us what you'd use them for!  Winner will be chosen and notified May 30th, 2012.

This project was featured on!

1 comment:

  1. What a fabulous tutorial (I pinned it). I love the domes I see in magazines and have been searching for them but this is so much better. Thanks for sharing!