Just over 40 people came out to our first snow sculpting workshop on January 15th, 2023. If you weren’t able to make it, read on for great tips and tricks from professional snow sculptor André Vrignon-Tessier.
Remember: these are just tips for best outcomes – there’s really no right or wrong way to make a snow sculpture!
Your block of snow:
- You can use pretty much anything as a form to make your block of snow: plywood, cardboard boxes, Rubbermaid totes, etc.
- Bigger is better if you can muster it. A bigger block allows you more leeway in your level of detail.
- If you aren’t able to make a single, large block, you can use smaller containers and fit blocks together kind of like Lego.
- When you’re filling your box, make sure you’re continually tamping down the snow as you fill so that you get a nice even block. You can get right into the form if you like (or use the nearest small child!) or use scrap wood to make a simple flat-bottomed tamping tool.
- It’s best if you can let your box sit for 2-3 days, but if you’re in a rush, 24 hours is usually fine!
- Start by making a sketch on graph paper. Don’t forget to sketch out what the side views will look like!
- Before you start sculpting, you can use a wide, chisel-tip Sharpie to draw a grid onto your block of snow.
- Making a 3D model out of playdough can be really helpful! Or if you have the item you’re sculpting, bring it outside for reference.
- Anything can be a tool. Old saws, shovels, sticks, trowels, butter knives. Sanding blocks are great too. Really, your most important tools are your hands. (Fun fact: André’s personal favourite tool is “The Excalibur” which is a tool developed by the local sculpting community – it’s a piece of Zamboni blade welded onto an old piece of hockey stick!)
- Use a step ladder if your sculpture is very tall.
- Start at the top and work down.
- Keep your work area clean – as you chop off pieces, shovel them away so that you don’t trip.
- Don’t worry about making mistakes! If you cut something off accidentally, just go with the flow and see how you can adapt your design.
- Sculpting is easier when it’s not too warm outside. -10 to -15 is a great temperature: snow behaves better, and you may be surprised at how warm you get while sculpting if it’s any warmer than that!
These are just tips for a best outcomes! You can still get excellent results by not following any of these ideas. There’s really no right or wrong way!
The “challenge” part of this event is just to get outside in the winter, chat with neighbours and passers-by, and have fun! Remember: the prizes are a random draw of registered households.
Have fun & let your creativity guide you!