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Featured Article

Creating a Better Snowman

A Few Tips to Get You Rolling

There’s probably no more quintessential symbol of winter than a snowman. We’ve all seen Frosty and are probably pretty familiar with Olaf. But if you want to install one into your own yard, you’ll have to put a little elbow grease into creating one without the help of world-class animators.

Here are some tips to help give your yard a well-dressed frozen sentry sure to turn your neighbors’ heads.

Tip 1: Not all snow is snowman snow.

It takes more than a flurry to build a snowman. Heavy, slushy snow won’t work, and if it’s too powdery dry it won’t pack together. If you can pack a good snowball, you can build a snowman. 

Bonus tip: Dry snow can be modified to workable snowman snow with a quick spritz of water from a spray bottle, or a light mist from that garden hose you really should put away for the winter.

Tip 2: Roll towards your goal — the long way.

Decide where to position your snowman and make that your finish line. Start with a well-packed snowball and get rolling, but don’t just go in one direction. Roll the ball to start accumulating snow, then roll back, then roll in a different direction. Pack and begin to shape your snowball as you go. Reinforce as necessary. Look to use a 3-2-1 ratio for the sections. 

Tip 3: Even snowmen crave stability.

Once you get your base section in place, shore up the bottom with snow. Then at the top, create a bowl-shaped indentation to allow the next section to sit securely. Ensure each section is well-packed with added snow around the “joint” between the sections.

Tip 4: Snow is heavy. Enlist a buddy.

A willing helper can help lift that heavier-than-you-expect next stage into place. You can even roll it onto a tarp and lift from either side to get it up there. A third set of hands can help move it into place. Otherwise, use plywood as a ramp to roll it up yourself (braced well against the bottom with plenty of support underneath, so as to not damage the base). You might need an extra bowl of Wheaties to roll it up there alone.

Tip 5: Pilot holes are your friend.

Simply jamming details into your snowman can mess with its integrity. Use a sharp stick to gently create some pilot holes for your features before you set them into place.

Tip 6: Give him some personality.

There’s always that classic snowman uniform of a scarf, hat, a carrot nose and coal (sure, we all have that lying around these days — river rocks might be easier to get your hands on). Or you could be a bit more creative, maybe with an old oversized Hawaiian shirt, a jazzy vest, or go all-out and channel your inner Martha Stewart, breaking out your Dremel to make something custom for your wintery lawn guest. You might need to use your imagination — not many of us have corncob pipes or top hats anymore, either.

Pro tip: if you’re dressing your snowman, put any body clothing you might use on before adding the arms.

  • Could that little guy on the left really be our publisher?