My son made several of these snowman ornaments to give as gift to friends and relatives. We made this instructable to share this fun and educational project. It was a great way to introduce him to some new techniques and get him in the habit of basic workshop safety. This project should not be completed without adult supervision.
Completion Time: ~1 hour (not including drying times)
Tools and Materials
- Rubber Gloves
- Protective Eye Ware
- A well ventilated workspace
- Child Safe Jigsaw (Real Power Tool Shop) or Hand Powered Equivalent
- Hand Drill
- Sand Paper
- Paint Brushes
- (2) Pair of Pliers or (1) Pair of Pliers and a Bench Vise
- Stainless Steel Container
- Balsa Wood
- Acrylic Paints
- Krylon Crystal Clear Acyrlic Coating
- Wooden Shish Kabob Skewers
- Heavy Gauge Jewelery Making Wire
- Heavy Thread
- White Cotton Shoe Lace
- Clothing Dye
- Decorative Buttons (we used the caps of some brass rivets from Tandy Leather Factory)
- Casting Resin (Alumilite)
- Casting Putty or Clay
- Super Glue
Step 1: Cutting the Body
Step 1:Make the Pattern
Draw your pattern or use ours by clicking on the link below
Scribd: Snowman Pattern
Step 2: Transfer the Pattern
If you have graphite paper handy you can use this to easily transfer you pattern. If not, you can make your own by scribbling heavily on the back side of your pattern with a #2 pencil (Picture 2).
Next place your pattern on top of the balsa wood and secure in place with pins or some heavy weights (Picture 1). Then trace the outlive of your pattern with a ball point pen. Be careful not to damage the balsa wood by pressing too hard (Picture 3).
Remove the pattern and use a pencil to darken the lines left by the transfer paper (Picture 4).
Step 3: Cut the Pattern
Be sure to put on your safety glasses. If you're not using a child-safe jigsaw like the Real Power Tool Shop some protective gloves should be worn as well.
Now cut out the body of the snowman (Picture 5).
Step 4: Shape the Eyes and Mouth
Rough out the eyes and mouth with the tip of a screwdriver or similar tool. Since the eyes and mouth should resemble coals, a crooked smile and misshapen eyes are what you are going for.
Step 5: Drill the Mount
Drill a small hole in the top of the head for the string to pass through, with which you will hang the finished product.
Step 6: Sand it Smooth
When you are finished cutting sand around the edges to give the snowman a nice smooth finish (Picture 6).
Step 2: Making Copies (optional)
This step is for if you are intending to make several of these as gifts like we did. We took a small shortcut and cast copies of our balsa wood original in Alumilite casting resin.
Warning: The fumes from casting resin are toxic. Make sure you are in a well ventilated area. Also, the uncured resin and its components can cause burns so wear protective gloves and eye ware. Ideally this step should be carried out by an adult.
Step 1: Make the mold
Superglue the snowman to a smooth piece of cardboard or similar surface you aren't going to miss.
Build a dam with casting putty or clay around your snowman, leaving at least a quarter inch of space between the snowman and the wall.
Place the cardboard on a level surface where it wont get disturbed overnight.
Mix your silicone and catalyst according to the instructions provided by the manufacturer and pour it over your snowman, completely submerging it. Tap the area around the dam with your finger for about 30 seconds to help release any air bubbles that may have been trapped while pouring (Picture 1).
Let the silicone cure overnight.
Step 2: Remove the mold
Remove the casting putty dam from around the mold. Gently pry up the mold from the surface being sure not to tear the mold. Once the mold is free give it a good wash with some soap and water to remove any traces of clay and wood particles (Picture 2). Make sure your mold is dry before proceeding.
Step 3: Cast your Copy
Place your mold on a level surface.
Mix the casting resin and pour without delay into the mold. Fill to the mold's brim.
Wait for your resin to cure. Roughly 10 minutes if you're using Alumilite.
Step 4: Remove the Copy
Gently remove your casting by working your way around the edge of the mold, peeling back just a little bit at a time so as not to damage the mold.
When your casting is free you're ready to cast another.
Step 3: Making the Nose
Step 1: Painting
Paint the pointed tip of a Shish Kabob Skewer. We used orange like a carrot. (Picture 1)
Step 2: Cutting
Saw off about a half-an-inch of the tip and sand the base smooth if necessary. (Picture 2). The paint may need to be retouched if there was any splintering.
Step 4: Paint the Snowman
Step 1: Paint the Body
Paint the body of the snowman with the color of your choice. You should give it at least three coats to make the color uniform.
Step 2: Paint the Details
Paint the eyes and the mouth black. We found it easiest to dip the tip of a kabob skewer in the black paint and to then dab it around in the mouth and eyes.
Step 3: Attach the Nose
Superglue the completed nose in place.
Step 4: Clear Coat
To protect the paint and the give the snowman a nice glossy finish, give it a coat or two of Krylon Crystal Clear acrylic coating.
Step 5: Attach the Buttons
Superglue the buttons in place.
Step 5: Make the Arms (optional)
They look just as cute without arms as they do with.
Step 1: Cut the wire
Cut (6) two-inch length of jewelery wire.
Twist three strands of wire together with your pliers. Repeat with the other three strands.
Next unwind about three-quarters-of-an-inch of one end to make the fingers (Picture 1).
Step 2: Mount the Arms
Drill two holes, one on each side of the snowman, even with the top button. The holes should be at least a quarter-of-an-inch deep. Put a drop of superglue in each hole and insert the twisted end of each arm (Picture 2).
Step 6: Make the Scarf
Step 1: Prepare the Scarf
Cut a six-inch length of white cotton shoestring and wash it well with hot soap and water.
Step 2: Dye the Scarf
Dye the shoe string according to the manufacturers instructions and let it dry (Picture 1).
Step 3: Attach the Scarf
Cinch the scarf around the snowman's neck and superglue it in place. Fray about a quarter of an inch of each end of the lace (Picture 2).
Step 7: Finishing Up
Step 1: Attach the string
Cut a six-inch length of extra strong thread and tie the ends together with a square knot.
Square knot: Right over left and around than left over right and through.
Pass one end of the loop through the hole in the snowman's head and than pull it through the loop created on the other side.