Snow Sculpture




Everyone has seen this iconic landmark:  It's bold, fun, and catches attention.  

So after a whole lot of snow was dumped in my hometown, I decided to make my own statement!  Snowmen are too mainstream, igloos blend into the landscape too much, I was going to go big, and bold, and modern.  

This new type of snow structure looks really neat, and the large size is impressive.  It is not difficult to do either, with a little time and an adventurous spirit!

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Step 1: Materials

-large wooden planks (this will be used to help smooth out the sides/compress the snow...see step 4)
-cooler (I removed the lid of the cooler to help dump out the snow/pack the snow.  You could use anything really to pile/carry snow.  For me a cooler worked really well to get "snow bricks")
- GOOD SNOW! (It must be wet enough to be compressible.  It should easily form a snow ball.  If it is not wet enough, just wait one day or two for the snow to melt a little bit, so it is wetter.  Or... if you are super enthusiastic and simply can't pass up the ONE snow day you get, mix the snow with some water.)

Step 2:

Put one shovel full of snow into the cooler
Compress with your hands insuring to get the corners really well, and the edge - because it will end up being the top
Add another layer of snow - and compress with your foot
Keep doing this until the snow is compressed to the top of the cooler.
Make sure the snow is flat on the top, because that will become the bottom - which has to be stable.
The more compressed the snow is the longer the snow sculpture will last and the easier it will be to carve. But don't compress it so much that the you break the plastic of the cooler

Step 3: Stacking and Smoothing

Start by aligning the first snow rectangle along the vertex of two perpendicular lines - this will help insure the sculpture is perfectly square, we don't won't it to collapse before you start carving! We used the lines in the cement patio.

To get the snow out of the cooler, flip the cooler upside down and hit it on the side then gently shake it back and forth until it slides out.
Don't worry about any imperfections, they will be fixed at the end.

Put the cubes next to each other until you have reached the desired length, we made it 4 rectangles long.
Then add another row right next to the first, once you have completed the two by four base, fill in the crevices with extra snow. Compact the snow in-between with your fingertips, don't worry if you don't get the snow into all of the crevices they won't cost the structure.

Keep stacking and filling until you have reached the desired height.

Once the desired dimensions are achieved, you'll have to smooth it a lot. To do this we used a wooden board, to scrape it smooth. We also used a shovel and went up and down the sides until it was smooth and had sharp right angle corners. Now your almost ready to start carving!

Step 4: Outlining the Letters

Divide the snow cube into four equal parts (as seen in the first photo). Then, outline the letters to the design you want. Make sure the letters on the bottom (O and W) are thick and sturdy because they are going to support the other two letters. 
Make sure the letters are possible, don't make the S have the two loops hanging without support, or the diagonal in the N to narrow - ugh, just use common sense.  

Step 5: Carving

After you have completed the outlines of the letters your ready to start carving.
We used an electric chain saw in all the areas possible, because it made clean and quick cuts.  But our chainsaw only made it halfway through snow so we had to use a trowel to scrap away the rest of the snow. First carve the top two letters and then do the bottom two, with the O being the last letter, because it will be the weakest.

Step 6: Final Product

Impress your friends, family, neighbors, and passerby's with your masterpiece!

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    9 Discussions

    David Catriel

    7 years ago on Step 6

    Very cool idea. Need to keep it in mind for next year!


    7 years ago on Step 6

    Great job, made me smile when I saw it. The effort is impressive.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Yeah, I live in colorado, and we've had quite a few dumps of over a foot of snow this year. Were pretty close to the record!


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Is it really a good idea to use an ELECTRIC chainsaw to make this? I would think that electricity + ice + friction = electricity + water = BAD.

    Not "Don't cross the streams" bad, but definitely "Important safety tip" bad...

    Maybe battery-powered, so at least you aren't hooked to mains? (How willing are you to trust that GFCI breaker, anyhow?)

    1 reply

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    That is a good point. Thanks for pointing it out. I was very carefull about working with the electric saw (electricity and water could be VERY bad). I only have an electrical chainsaw, so just used it very carefully. I would definitly recommend using a gas powered chainsaw if you have access to one.