Carving a snow sculpture is like building a snowman for adults. With plenty of practice, you could carve pretty much anything you want out of a mound of snow. It’s also the perfect activity to combat cabin fever during those long winters.
An ice sculpture is a bit more detailed than a snowman, so you’ll need some extra tools and equipment to pull it off. But the good news is you can make your snow sculpture as intricate or as simple as you like. Read on for a step-by-step tutorial on how to make a snow sculpture.
- Snow (densely packed, somewhat wet)
- Cooler box, trash can, or another vessel
- Ice chopper
- Drywall Saw
- Metal Spatula
Step One: Wait
I know, not the most exciting first step of a project. But waiting for the right time to carve your snow sculpture will make a big difference down the line.
You’re waiting for the temperature to reach the sweet spot, between 20℉ and 25℉. Any warmer, and the snow will be too watery to sculpt. Any colder, and the snow becomes dry and brittle which is much harder to work with.
Step Two: Plan
While you’re waiting for the right temperature, you could take the opportunity to plan out your sculpture. Planning is important so that you know what the eventual goal is. Use detailed sketches or photos from the internet to plan out your sculpture. Keep this reference close by while you’re sculpting so you can stay on track.
Step Three: Compress A Block Of Snow
The starting point for any snow sculpture is a block of packed snow. You can get this by filling up a vessel of your choice with fresh snow and compressing it down as much as possible.
Pro Tip: For pro ice sculptors, you could compress a really big block of packed snow by building a form. You could use plywood and 2 x 4’s to construct a form of any size, fill it with snow, and compress it into a big block.
Step Four: Get Sculpting
Here comes the fun part; sculpting the snow. To start, you’ll probably need to start taking away large chunks of snow. A chainsaw is the tool for this job. As the chunks you’re carving away get smaller, and as your work gets down to the details, you should switch to smaller, more precise carving tools.
This is why it’s a good idea to have a selection of carving tools at your disposal. Any metal object with a smooth, flat surface will do the trick. To smooth the snow once you’ve carved most of the form, use something like a metal spatula to smooth any irregularities.
Step Five: To Wet Or Not To Wet
For your next step, you have two options. The first, and easiest option is to take a step back and admire your work, because you’re all done.
The second option is to grab your garden hose and give your sculpture a light misting of water. Or if you made a small sculpture a bottle of water will work.
The idea is that the water will freeze solid around your sculpture and it will last longer than if you didn’t wet it.
The downside to wetting it is that the fresh snow may become discolored with the water, making your sculpture look somewhat sickly.
The choice is yours.
So there you have it, the simple way to get an impressive snow sculpture in your yard. As you can see, it’s a bit more involved than stacking a few snowballs on top of each other like with a snowman. But don’t let that deter you, because carving snow sculptures can be a fun and rewarding activity to do over the winter.
What do you think? Did you enjoy this tutorial? Comment below and let us know. Or share it with a family member that you’re challenging to a snow sculpture contest.