How to Build a Snowman

To build a show-stopping snowman that captures the attention of the entire block, you don’t need much — just your imagination and a helping hand or two. Here’s how to build a snowman that will delight the neighborhood paparazzi.

Consider the Real Estate
Although your first instinct may be to place Frosty front and center in the yard, try to find a somewhat protected area for your creation, like under or slightly behind a tree, fence, or rise.

Snow Matters
The snow has to be moist and sticky enough to easily form into a ball in your hands. If it’s too dry, it will be impossible to build even the smallest of snowmen. For the traditional three-sphere snowman, start by creating snowballs in your hands. Next, roll them through the snow on the ground until they are the desired size (but not so big that it will be difficult to stack them). It’s a good idea to flatten the tops of the first and second spheres so each sphere sits snugly on top. Pack snow between the three layers to provide stability and balance. Some builders use a rebar method of construction by placing a large branch through the first snowball, then stacking the other snowballs on top through the same branch. Snowman arms are a matter of personal preference. You can opt for the traditional sticks, or mold arms from snow using the sticks as guides.

Think Outside the Circle
There are no rules when it comes to what shape your snowman can take. Ditch the spheres altogether to create a life-like sculpture by carving it from a mound of snow — or simply turn your snowman on his head by stacking the spheres in reverse order and placing his arms upside-down so they appear to be touching the ground. Now that your snowman is doing a handstand, you get to decide whether he’s a dedicated yogi or just unfairly talented.

Other ways to get creative include building a snow kitty or a snow dog. We’ve even spied a Loch Ness Monster. You can also draw inspiration from the past year in pop culture or politics, your favorite book or TV show (we could definitely see a group of zombie attack “victims”), or a funny internet meme. Spending your winter in warmer climes? Build a sandman instead!

Make the Most of Accessories
You have options beyond the standard stones for eyes and a carrot for the nose. Birds will quickly befriend your snowman when you incorporate nuts and seeds in your design. Also consider using a mixture of food coloring and water to color on a cheery vest or other designs. The unexpected — sunglasses and a swimsuit or Santa’s hat and beard — are creative alternatives. Just remember that whatever items you use outside will be subjected to the elements.

Ultimately, your snowman will serve as a reminder of the winter fun you and your family had creating him together.