Introduction: Rustic Wood Snowmen From a 4x4 Post
Following up from the rustic wood pumpkins I made, we have the snowmen! Personally I love these more than the pumpkins and they are super easy to make! If you have scrap 4x4 (non pressure treated) kicking around like I did, go ahead and use that. If not, you'll probably need a new one anyways because of all the ones you'll need to make after people see these and want their own. The nice thing is they aren't inherently Christmassy, which means they can work for the holiday season and even the winter months just as décor if you want, we do! So lets get to it!
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Step 1: Cut Basic Pieces to Size
I like to cut all my pieces to size first so that way, I can work on all the pieces simultaneously and keep things moving as either paint or glue is drying. Start off with the cedar post, I cut my tall snowmen to about 15" tall, and the short ones to about 12" tall (I wasn't worried about being too exact). Then I cut my poplar strip down to 5" strips for my hat brims (as many as you are making), you should be able to find this 1/4" thick material at a big box store with their hardwood section already pre sized in a bin. Then with the hat brims cut, mark the rest to 3" long pieces, then connect the corners making triangles and cut them out for the noses. You can use a hand saw, jig saw like I did, or a band saw or scroll saw if you have it. For the pipe, take the 1/4" dowel and cut it to 3" long pieces for the stem, and the 3/4" dowel to 1.5" long pieces for the bowl.
Step 2: Make Pipe and Sand for Paint
To make the pipe I used a 1/4" drill bit and made a 3/8" deep hole in the large dowel, about a half inch up from the bottom, that gave me about 1/4" below the them to the bottom of it and that just looked good to me, but you can adjust as necessary. Then add a blob of wood glue to the hole and press the dowel in to the bottom, cleaning up any glue that squeezes' out, and set it aside for a couple mins. Now using a palm sander if you have one, or even by hand, sand the whole body section with 120 grit sandpaper to clean it up and remove any burs and slivers. I also softened the corners or it and the edges by hand so they aren't sharp, and it will have less chance to chip and peel on a sharp corner later. Then take the noses, hat brims and pipes and again, by hand soften the edges and corners, removing slivers and burs with the same 120 grit paper.
Step 3: Add That Colour!
Wooo! Now the fun part, this is where they start to come to life. For the paint I used Rustoleum matte and satin finish paints for everything. They have great colour, great adhesion, dry quickly, and they sand nicely without chipping. I started by spraying the white on the bodies, only spraying 1 coat with about medium coverage. You can add more coats if you want a solid colour but I wanted to be able to see the wood grain underneath, just make sure to not go too heavy and get a run. I never went all the way up to the top as we will just be spraying that black later, and I flipped it over after a few mins and sprayed the bottom as well. Then after about 15 mins, I added 2 rows of painters tape starting about 3" down on the tall ones, and 2.5" on the short ones all the way around. Then with a cardboard shield I sprayed the tops black and after another 15 mins removed the tape slowly so I didn't peel the paint up, and set them aside. For the noses and hat brims, I layed them all out in a row and dusted on 1 coat of colour from about a foot away, from all 4 directions. You'll want to make sure to stay farther back from these as we will need to come from all directions to get the sides covered, and this will minimize the amount of paint on them by only dusting it on from a distance. For the pipes I used a scrap piece of wood, drilled a bunch of 1/4" holes in it, pressed them in about a 1/4" deep and sprayed them from all directions with brown paint for full coverage.
Step 4: Add Character With Distress and Then Finish
Distressing it optional, if you went for a solid paint colour then skip it, but read everything for those that don't distress. I left everything about 30 mins total to make sure it was good and dry and started distressing. By the time I finished painting everything else the bodies were already ready and dry, and by the time I sanded them the rest of the pieces were good and dry. Using a 80 or 120 grit sanding sponge, start sanding the white. Don't go into the black section, do it after and separately or else you will smear white dust into the black, and black dust into the white. I pressed the sponge right below the back and pulled down a few times, then I proceeded to sand the rest of it. Doing the same for the black. I sanded the bodies until more wood grain came through, and I sanded the edges lightly as well, and then just stop when it looks good to you, don't go too far. As the sponge gets dirty, smack it a few times or hit it with compressed air to clean it out. To sand the noses and brims I held the sponge and then slid the pieces over it back and forth just a few times and I was good with the finish, it happens quickly. I never sanded my pipes but you could if you want. Then take a shop towel or rag and wipe off the dust from every piece till nothing comes off anymore, and if your wood post has a split like mine did, make sure to blow the dust out of the split as well.
Now to add the finish I used Rustoleum matte finish clear coat and I added 3 coats total to everything, making sure to go light enough to not get runs. Keep your clear coat the same brand as your paint so you don't have any adverse effects. The clear coat does a couple things, not only does it add protection, it seals it so no more dust can come off on your hands when handling, and it brings everything down (or up) to the same sheen. If you painted your snowmen a solid colour and didn't distress anything, I'd look into adding just a little bit of sparkles (like snow) to the bottom couple inches of the snowman, and then top with either a satin or gloss clear for a cool effect. I wanted to make a few of those but the higher ups kyboshed that plan lol.
Step 5: Cut the Scarves and Bottoms
Now you can cut this with scissors, but if you have somebody like I do with all the tools for cutting material that is best. I purchased some felt from a local store and had it cut up into 2" wide strips for the tall snowmen scarves, 1.5" strips for the short snowmen, both with a total length of 12". For the bottoms, cut 3" square pieces. Then take the edges of the scarves and fold them over themselves. Then take scissors and cut it from the fold side to the tips, about 3/4" up to create a nice design for the ends.
Step 6: Assembly Time!
Time to bring it all together! Take some wood glue and add some to the center and glue the hat brim on, I used pin nails to hold it in place until the glue set, you could also use brads but they will leave a larger hole. For the quickest solution and no nailer need used some CA (super) glue, you could also use the hot glue, but I find it lets go over time if it gets hit. I placed the brim so the black on the body was about mid point on the backside so the brim sits slightly below the black on the body, up to you if you want it flush.
Now with the buttons, I have 3 sizes. I used the medium buttons for the eyes, adding a drop and pressing into place with what looks good to you, I also oriented the holes in the buttons so they were slightly off vertical, pointing in slightly. You don't have to do this but if they are just going wherever it will look funny every time you or somebody looks at them.
Add the nose the same way as the hat brim, using whatever glue or nailer you please. I added the nose so it fell center between the eyes on top, and at a angle on the bottom.
Adding his smile I used the small buttons. You can use as many or as few as you want here, just make sure you won't run out before you're done. I started about mid point of the nose and then worked down and around leaving about a 1/4" gap between each button, this time I didn't pay attention to the direction of the button holes.
Now we need to add the scarf so he doesn't get cold lol. Laying the snowman on the scarf it easiest, then bring each end up and do a single fold from under to over. Pull it to the side and then tighten it.
Adding his tummy buttons now I used 3 large ones for the tall snowman, and 2 large ones for the short snowman evenly spacing them out by what looks good to you. This time make sure the button holes again and going straight up and down on all of them.
To add the pipe use the same 1/4" bit as before and drill a hole about 3/8" deep between a couple buttons in the corner of his mouth. I went in at a slight angle so the pipe sat sideways a bit and not straight forward. Then just press it in, I didn't add glue to this so I could remove it for storage and not risk snapping it off, but it's up to you.
For the felt pads add just a bit of glue to the bottom and then press it on, making sure to have good coverage so the edges don't lift up over time. Flip him over and take a look at the little guy! Then remember that you probably have more to finish lol.
Step 7: Done!
I hope your project turned out awesome! Let me know what you think, or if you have any questions and I'll get back to ya! You can tag me or email me directly!
Thanks for stopping by and have fun!