Monday, November 18, 2013
Christmas decorations: How to build a snowman
Holiday decorating at the Avenue Hotel Bed and Breakfast in Manitou Springs includes our homemade 7 foot snowman. Because he is so popular we decided to tell you how we made him!
This project, Randy and I undertook a couple of years ago was a challenge because we had a picture but no instructions but the results were wonderful!
Quick note: This is a project with a number of steps so allow enough time and be prepared;
Supplies: 6 foot aluminum pipe, 24 x 24 - 1/2 inch plywood, L brackets, small cardboard box (12 x 12), round balloons, flour, water, newspaper, spray adhesive, batting, Top Hat, button eyes, carrot nose, scarf, 2 - 14 to 16 inch wreaths for between the snowballs, a 10 inch wreath for his head, birds nest and icicles.
First, Randy made the framework for the snow man. It's pretty much a aluminum pipe screwed on a 24 x 24 piece of plywood board with the "L" brackets. This is also the part where you get to decide how tall your snowman is. Make a hole in the top of the cardboard box and slide it down the pole. The Snowman base will sit on the box and you will lay lights around the base and more batting to create a snow bank. This is done at the end however. The individual snowballs for the body will slide over the the pole and stack over the base. The structure is very light weight but does have to have a wide base to keep it upright.
Blow up the balloons to the size you want. Our snowball base is about 26 inches high. Make sure the base fits through doorways that you will be carrying the Snowman through. Make 3 different sized balls for the body. One much smaller for the head.
For the paper mache, cut paper into strips, news paper works well, and make a mixture of one part flour and two parts water; mix flour and water in a large bowl. Dip your pieces of paper into flour mixture, make sure they are soaking wet. Then cover the balloon with one layer of paper mache and let dry. It will take several coats and several days to dry. Take your time. You will want about 1/4" thickness so they are nice are sturdy. We used 5 gallon buckets to site the balls on to dry.
Remember to leave holes open on opposite ends of each ball so you can pop the balloons and slide the balls onto the pole when the time come.
When the balls are dry it is time to add the snow. Start with your largest ball. Spray the adhesive on a section of the ball, pull the batting apart and stick it to the ball so it is nice and fluffy. Continue until the ball is covered. When the snowball is completely covered slip it over the pole and sit it on the box for the base of the snowman. Continue with the middle ball, before slipping it over and adding it to the snowman take one of 14 -16 inch wreaths and slip it over the pole and rest it on the base of the Snowman and then drop the middle section on. (We use quilt batting for most of the snow around here!) It is best to move the Snowman into his location before putting on his head he is easier to move at this point.
We recommend doing the face before you put the head on. It's just easier to reach that way. We used black buttons and a fake carrot for the noise. A Snowman kit at the hobby store had all these pieces. His head should rest on top of the middle ball and wreath. Add the scarf around his neck. The small wreath sits on his head. Don't forget the hat!
We use real twigs for the arms. Randy has to specially attach these so they stay in place. We decorate them with more icicles and birds nests. We also add icicles hanging from the middle and bottom wreaths, pine cones, and few snowflake tucked in here and there.
We covered the bottom of the stand with more batting so it looks like he is standing on a snow bank. We also add lights underneath the batting so it gives it a nice glow.