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Building a Snowman (With Instructional Images)

Updated on October 28, 2014
Photo taken by: Me
Photo taken by: Me

Building a snowman is a fun activity for any winter day where snow is on the ground. Beyond being a bonding moment with all those involved, the whole neighborhood may be able see this unique festive decoration on your lawn. The following tutorial will show some tips and methods to build and design a solid snowman.

Basic Method

Start with the largest snowball first. This will be the base. Knowing how long it takes to build each section should start with the hardest one first. The base will typically be half of the snowman's total height, so if you want a life-size snowman - pay close attention to this!

Each section will be placed on each other, then the end will include basic finishes like hats and gloves.

Tip #1 - "Warm" Weather makes good snow pack

The best time to build a snowman is when the weather is cold enough to snow, enough snow is sticking to the ground, but the temperature is still fairly warm out. When the temperature is really cold, snow doesn't pack well. Furthermore, if the temperature is too hot, the snow turns to slush, which can be harder to work with. However, don't procrastinate waiting for the perfect weather!

Photo taken by: Me
Photo taken by: Me

Method #1: Roll in zig zag, not randomly

A snowman starts out as a snowball. Once a snowball is packed, starting rolling the snowball on the ground. The weight of the snowball will compact more snow. You may want to alternate sides of the snow ball, so that it looks more like a ball and less like a roll. (If you roll to much on one side a coin like look will happen) Also, make sure that all rolling is in a zig zag pattern, like the image to the right.

Rolling in a zig zag helps with two different things. First, less of the field or area is used up (So there is more snow to work with later). Second, the shape of the ball is more uniformed.

Photo taken by: Me
Photo taken by: Me

As you can see on the photo on the right, this snowball has a lump. This can be caused by rolling the snowball in a non zig zag manner. This isn't the end of the world, as the lump can be "shaved off". However, this shaving off of the snow takes additional time and energy.

So why does rolling in a non zig zag manner cause lumps?

Photo taken by: Me
Photo taken by: Me

Because like the image on the right, when you cross an area you've already been, there is no snow to pack. This leaves an uneven amount of snow on one side. Another interesting note is that if you want your snowman to "stand" in a field of snow, make sure to not use up all the snow. By rolling in a zig zag manner, you can maximize your snow and create a picturesque image of a snowman in a snowy field.

Photo taken by: Me
Photo taken by: Me

Method #2: Flatten the top

Once you have the bottom done (the most important piece of a snowman) you can flatten the top. The trick with attaching the middle snowball and bottom snowball is having as much surface space touching as possible. The more the two snowballs touch, the better the balance. By flattening the top, more of the two will touch.

Photo taken by: Me
Photo taken by: Me

Method #3: Pack in Snow

Much like the last tip, you want to increase surface space between the bottom snowball and the middle one. Doing this method will also help with stabilization. Packing in snow on the sides also helps "glue" the two pieces together. If two much snow is packed in though, they stop looking like separate shapes, so be careful not to overdo packing in snow.

Some people recommend getting a water bottle and gently spraying the snowman around the joints and surface. The idea is to create a layer of ice that protects the snowman. This can also cause melting, so make sure the practice is done with extreme caution.

Method #4: Repeat and Finish

Creating the head snowball is just repeating the last instruction. Once you have all three sections of the snowman, feel free to add finishing components.

Some common finish pieces include:

  • Sticks (Arms, nose, eyebrows)
  • Stones (Eyes, Mouth, buttons)
  • Carrot (Nose)
  • Clothing
  • Food Coloring (Drawing designs)
  • Pinecones (Great for mohawk)
  • Smaller Snowmen
  • Snow shovels and other winter accessories

Unique Snowman Examples

The following are several photos of unique snowman to help encourage you to think creatively when building a snowman. Anyone who has read Calvin and Hobbes knows there are many ways to build unique snowman. While building an army of snowman is beyond most people's time limits, there are several quick ways to be very creative.

Here are several tips and tricks to be gained from these unique snowman photos.

Photo taken by: dwmccorm
Photo taken by: dwmccorm | Source

Tip #2: The entire snowman may not be needed

Sometimes when building a snowman, the entire thing is not needed. By adding a snorkel and glasses, this snowman looks like it is swimming through the snow. Very inventive!

Photo taken by: Matt Chan
Photo taken by: Matt Chan | Source

Tip #3: Combine snowmen to make a theme

Here is a great use of building two snowmen and combining them. In this photo it looks like one used a snow shovel to bury the other. Beyond the clever idea, the second snowman was probably much easier to create. Very creative.

Photo taken by: erin
Photo taken by: erin | Source

Tip #4: Details can matter

In the example above, the winking, mixed with the cute hat/scarf, really make this snowman. By paying attention to these small things, the snowman goes from normal to extraordinary.

How many times have you built a snowman?

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