Introduction: Snow Sculpture From a Box

Snow is a material we can use to create and build objects that are massive in size. The best part of it? It's FREE! Whether you are building a simple snowman, a snow fort, or a snow sculpture, natures medium allows you to be creative without breaking the bank.

This Instructable will illustrate how you can create a 4' x 4' x 8' snow sculpture.


Enough snow to fill a 4' x 4' x 8' box. The fresher snow, the better your results will be. Avoid street shoveled snow as this has salt and street pediment in it.

Various carving tools including: Shovels, rakes, smaller hand held garden tools, saws....pretty much whatever tool you have in your garage or basement shop.

Wood form (1)

  • 4- 4' x 8' sheets of 1/2" plywood
  • 14- 2" x 2" x 8' pine
  • Small box of 1 1/4" drywall screws
  • 12- 2 1/2" torx head construction screws

Cordless screw gun with proper bits (phillips and torx)

6' ladder

Someone who doesn't mind getting snow thrown at them while they stomp/pack the snow in the box.

Step 1: Create a Vision

Always start with getting your idea out of your head and onto paper or in clay. Or both. They don't have to be perfect. Your idea will change after each step. Doing this helps you make decisions later when you are sculpting the snow.

Step 2: Build, Assemble and Fill Your Wood Forms

This step requires at least two people. The more the merrier!

After getting the individual wood panels built using the wood form materials listed, except for the 3" torx screws, they need to be assembled on the chosen site. The site should be relatively flat so the form doesn't tip over prematurely.

All four sides of the form should be assembled with the 3" torx screws. Before finalizing the connection between the last corner of the box, someone should get inside the box. Once the form is up, start shoveling snow into the box. The more people that do this, the faster it will go. Make sure you don't dig too far down into the snow. You want to avoid grass and dirt as this will make your sculpture look dirty. The job of the person in the box is to stomp and pack the snow evenly in the box. Voids in the snow make the block weaker. Don't forget the corners!

Once the box is filled, the snow should "cook" for a while. Temperatures outside and the wetness of the snow are factors for when you should start taking the forms off. If it is a packable snow, the forms can come off in a couple hours. The "dryer" the snow, meaning the less packable it is, the longer the snow show be in the box for the sun to "cook" it. Usually a couple of days in the sun will suffice.

Step 3: Removing the Forms

Once the snow is "cooked" through, the wood form sides can be disassembled. The forms can be stacked aside for a staging area for your tools, your scale models, drawings and/or refreshments.

Step 4: Outline Your Carving Lines

Your idea is inside the block of snow, now is the time for you to outline the major forms of the sculpture with spray paint. This helps provide a basis for the correct proportions of the form you are sculpting. Removing snow can be "a one way trip" if the snow is dryer. So this step can minimize mistakes.

Step 5: Start Carving!

Get your tools out and start carving! Turn the mistakes into alternative solutions. Who knows, they may turn into something better than the original idea.

Step 6: Enjoy It While It Lasts!

Nature has a funny sense of humor. Make sure you take pictures before the sun melts them.

Snow Challenge

Second Prize in the
Snow Challenge