Emma's Star Dust - Using Small Glass Vials in Your Paperweight Designs

I've wanted to design a paperweight around a glass vial for the longest time.  I've recommended them to customers who have asked for my help with items that needed to be encapsulated before they were displayed in a paperweight.  For some reason, I've never worked with one until now.

This particular design is centered around a glass vial filled with crystal glitter.  There's a silver bail attached to the cork that seals the vial.  Through this, a length of thin twine was looped and tied with a small key and a paper tag that reads, "Emma's Star Dust."

There are so many different variations of this design that can be achieved by changing the contents of the vial, the text on the tag, etc.  A few that come to mind are wishes, dreams, fairy dust, and potions.  If you rolled up a dollar bill and placed it in the vial, this could easily become Emma's Vacation Fund.

This project included just a few supplies.  I used an adhesive label for my background, some crystal glitter, a glass vial with cork lid, a key charm, and some thin twine.  The paperweight kit is the Heirloom Dome which is available at PhotoWeights.com.

A design like this typically involves selecting a piece of decorative paper to use as the background.  Because the packaging for the sheet of labels I used was the perfect color, I used this instead.

After I placed the adhesive label onto the paper, I centered a Design Area Template around the label to trace a cut line.

After I cut the paper along the line I traced, it was placed on the adhesive side of the mounting board (included with each PhotoWeights kit).

Putting glitter in a tiny vial can be tricky.  If you don't have a small funnel, you can do what I did.  Take a sheet of paper and crease it lengthwise.  The crease will guide the glitter right where you want it to go.

I didn't fill the glass vial completely with glitter because I wanted the glitter to have some movement.  Before I replaced the lid, I placed a small amount of clear glue around the cork to make certain it would stay in place.

To prevent the glass vial from rolling across the flat background, I used an embossing tool to create an impression in the paper.  This impression is also where I applied clear glue.  (I used Beacon 3-in-1 Advanced Craft Glue).

Here's how the vial appeared after it was glued to the background.

My mini paper labels were created on my computer using a basic publishing program.  I printed a few on card stock paper, just in case I needed extras.

After my label was cut out, I used a fine embossing tool to create a hole.  If you don't have an embossing tool, a large pin should work nicely.

I looped some thin twine through the key charm, the label, and the bail on the cork before I tied the ends into a knot.

The paper label was attached to the background with hot melt glue.  There are two reasons for this.  Not only does it adhere instantly, the hot melt glue acts as a spacer to lift the label up from the background to give it some dimension.

I used my embossing tool to mark the spot (pin hole) where I applied hot melt glue to hold the key in place.

Here's what the finished design looked like before it was placed in the paperweight.

To display the finished design in the paperweight, I centered it onto the adhesive side of the (black) felt bottom pad (included with each PhotoWeights kit).

The artwork was placed face down into the bottom recess of the paperweight.  The adhesive side of the bottom pad holds it in place.

Now that I've created this sample paperweight, I think I'll create one that's labeled Susan's Spare Time.  I can always use a little extra of that.

I hope this design idea inspires you to create a paperweight of your own.


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