Changing Light Bulbs in a Snow Globe

by | Mar 18, 2016 | Random Topics | 0 comments

Most of this website is about web related stuff and this post is not. It is categorized as “Random” for a reason. So here’s the story of  . . .

Snow Globe

The Snow Globe

We have had this snow globe for many years. It has a fan that blows it up until its six feet tall and causes snow to fall from inside the top. Inside are three snowmen, one large and two small. Inside the globe and inside the snowmen are some light bulbs that give it a festive glow on a winter’s night. These light bulbs will eventually burn out and need to be replaced. How to do that is not immediately obvious, so, in this post, I’ll explain how to do it.

Step-by-Step

When you first set up the snow globe, you had to pour some styrofoam ‘snow’ into it through a zippered hole near the top. It is this hole that provides access to the inside of the globe. If you look closely when the globe is inflated you will find a zipper on the back of the largest snowman. You will also notice that the three snowmen are all connected together. Here’s the process:

  1. Blow up the globe and locate the zipper on the outside and the zipper on the snowman.
  2. Note where the two smaller snowmen are positioned relative to the zippers so you know where to search for light bulbs in step 8.
  3. Note which light bulbs do not need to be replaced – its kind of hard to find the bulbs that do need to be replaced.  There should be a total of four light bulbs.
  4. Unplug the globe
  5. While there is still some air in the globe, open the zipper on the outside of the globe. You will find that there is some netting material and another zipper behind it.
  6. Open the zipper in the netting
  7. Reach in through the hole and unzip the zipper in the back of the snowman.  If there is some air in the globe, you should be able to see where you are reaching.
  8. Reach into the snowman and feel around until you find a plastic light bulb cover. This is a protective covering that keeps the heat of the bulb away from the fabric of the snowmen.
  9. Carefully pull the plastic bulb out of the opening in the snowman and out of the opening in the globe. The bulb is attached to the inside of the snowman with a ribbon so part of the snowman fabric will come out of the holes with it. Just be careful not to tear the fabric or the ribbon.
  10. Open the bulb cover (see below)
  11. Replace the bulb
  12. Replace the bulb cover
  13. Push the bulb back into the snowman and search around for the next bulb.  There should be two bulbs in the large snowman and one in each of the smaller snowmen.  You will need to reach into the larger snowman and then left or right to find the hole that leads into one or the other smaller snowmen.
  14. Repeat the process starting at step 9.  If one bulb burned out, others are probably ready to as well. It may be wise to replace all of bulbs while you are at it.
  15. Once you get all the bulbs replaced and more or less back into their proper position, zip up the snowman and the outside of the globe.
  16. Turn on the power and delight in your wintery, glowing, snow globe.

Opening the Light Bulb Cover

Bulb Cover

Note the tab extensions that slide through slots and lock the cover together at the bottom of the bulb.

At first glance, opening the plastic light bulb cover to get to the light bulb looks like its a matter of twisting clips at the top until it snaps open. That won’t work. Instead, look at the bottom of the protector and find a tiny plastic tab on each side. Push one tab down while prying the bulb apart on that side. Repeat on the other side. The plastic bulb will now open at the bottom and hinge at the top so you can remove and replace the light bulb.

If the plastic bulb came apart while installing the bulb, put the top back together by rotating the sides until you can get the sharp points into the slots. Then place the cover over the bulb, align the tabs and slots at the bottom and snap them into place.  Note that the open sides at the bottom of the cover go over the cable.

Helpful Hints:

  • The snow globe uses standard, 7 watt,  C7 light bulbs like you might find decorating a christmas tree, except they are clear.  The bulb protector is necessary because these bulbs generate some heat.  I replaced my bulbs with the 7 watt equivalent LED bulb, so there is virtually no heat and the bulb protector is rather redundant.   Hopefully the LED bulbs will last longer too.
  • I learned that there is a difference in LED bulbs.  The cheap ones (relative to better LED bulbs) that I found at Walmart have a plastic bulb that breaks free of the base if you turn it in too tightly.  Then it won’t unscrew and the only option is to break the bulb and get the components out of the socket with a needle nose pliers (voice of experience).  The glass LED bulbs I found at the electrical store cost more, but actually work properly.
  • You can quickly plug and unplug the power to the globe while all the zippers are open to see that the new bulb is working.  Don’t leave the power on as there is a tendency to blow styrofoam snow all over the place.

Other Types of Snow Globes

This particular snow globe probably isn’t manufactured any longer, but similar blow-up decorations should allow you to change any light bulbs in a similar manner.  Don’t assume you need to cut a seam to get at the bulbs.  Look for a zipper or velcro closure that will let you get inside the globe and its internal components.