A Snowman Christmas Tree Ornament / Tutorial

Winter used to be my least favorite season, here in New England.  But I have chosen to embrace it, for there is no doubt that there is beauty in every season, and things that I love in all of them, too.  For winter, snowmen are one of those things, to me!  I’ve just always loved them. So I thought it would be fun to make a snowman Christmas tree ornament.

  It was not only more fun than I expected, I think it came out absolutely adorable. So I’m going to show you how easy it was to create!

Here’s the simple supplies that you’ll need:
Crayola Model Magic, in White.
Craft wire: 20 gauge or so
Wire cutters
An old sock for the hat
Yarn – Homespun Style. (I used Lion Brand, in Waterfall)
(The sock & yarn will be your snowman’s clothing, so you’ll want to pick co-ordinating or matching colors that you like.)
Embroidery thread (*optional accent for buttons)
Black beads for the eyes
An orange bead for the nose
Flathead pins, small, like used for tailoring
Pinkish chalk
A tiny brush for the chalk.
E-6000 or a good glue, may come in handy.
Black and Orange permanent Sharpie Markers

This is the Crayola Model Magic. It’s ‘modeling material’.  It’s lighter and softer than clay. And yes, it’s for kids, I guess.
Have you seen it? Have you ever played with it? It’s great stuff!

Take a chunk of the Model Magic into your hands, and roll three balls each smaller than the other. These are the body parts of the snowman: lower body, middle, and head. So size accordingly. My bottom body ball is about 1-1/2″.  Now I’m sure you’re dying to, but don’t build a snowman yet!!  You’ll put them all together in a couple of steps.

Cut about an 8 or 9 inch piece of wire.
Straighten it out as best you can, and then bend it into an L-shape, folding at the middle.

Now, thread the wire up through the center of the big ball first. then middle size, then head, really trying to keep it though the center of the ball and piling them neatly, as shown in the photo above.  Why are we using the wire? Well, the modeling material actually sticks together pretty well. But the wire, which will be cut again in the coming steps, serves two purposes: It gives the whole snowman core stability for years of use and packing and unpacking, and we’ll also be making a loop at the top to hang the ornament from at the top.

Using your wire cutters, cut the wire at the top leaving an inch or 1-1/4″ or so.

Then using the nose of the pliers, twist the wire into a loop.
There is still the long wire off of the bottom, but let’s leave that for now. I felt like it just helped the snowman stand up while I was working on him.
Let’s make his hat now. Shall we?

Cut the ankle part of your sock off of the foot. The ankle/ribbed part of the sock will be the hat. Lengthwise, cut about 1/3 off, as shown in photo.  This makes the hat narrower, as you need.  You can check for sizing on your snowman head first before you get sewing.  Now, fold it the opposite way to get ready to sew it closed along where you just cut, because you’ll want to sew it inside out so the stitches later will be on the inside.
Now you all may use a sewing machine if you’d like. But I just stitched it by hand quickly.

I tied off the cut end of the hat, with a matching piece of yarn.  And put the finished edge over the head.
But first, I put some thread through the wire loop, and then threaded a needle with both ends of the thread, to pull it up through the hat, so it can be hung on the tree.
And I also did something else before putting the hat on . . . . . .

Do you see that light pencil line right under the hat brim?  Right above there I put a dab or few of E-6000 (you can use any glue), before carefully pulling that hat over the head. Just to secure the hat, so it doesn’t keep slipping off the head while being handled over the years.
The needle can be taken off now, and just tie the ends in a knot. As I said, you’ll use the thread loop to hang it on the tree.

Face time!

Call me an over-planner, but I laid my face out in beads on the table first. Hey, it’s the distance of our features, and the curve of our smiles,that make us uniquely looking like US.
Same thing with snowmen! They are individuals too!  What a perfect orange bead, for a pointy nose, huh?

For every bead you have, cut a flat head pin to shorten the unnecessary length.

Again I laid out in pencil dots, exactly where I wanted each bead, to form his face.
Much like Mr. Potato head, just put a pin through a bead, and stick it into the snowman head.
(Mr. ♪ Snowman ♫ head ♪ , I-love-you! ♪)

I waited on the mouth, so it wouldn’t be in my way to apply some pink blushing cheeks!

You can use any pink colored chalk dust. I just happened to have this chalk palette, and used a tiny pointed brush.

Have you ever heard the saying, that you can always tell someone’s age, by looking at their hands?
Right.  I’m like, 106.

The mouth is all added.
Now here’s another tip:  The flat-head pins are silver, right?  So, my snowman looked like he had braces! Nothing wrong with braces. But it wasn’t the look I was going for. So I used a black permanent Sharpie marker, to color it. And an orange Sharpie for the nose. Worked well enough for me!

Buttons:  I used some teal colored embroidery thread, to thread my buttons. Then, because my holes were filled and I couldn’t put pins through them, I just used a dab of my E-6000 again, and just pushed them right into the soft modeling material.
Scarf: 3 equal length pieces of the homespun yarn, knotted on both ends, and tied around his neck.

Once you’re done crafting your snowman, or sooner, you can take your wire cutters, and cut the wire extending way out from under the snowman. Leave the L shape, so your snowman doesn’t slide off.  But it doesn’t need to be so long. Cut it short enough so it’s hidden underneath.

So how does he look?

Cute, right?
I added little stick arms, because seeing snowmen with no arms gives me a little anxiety.
I mean….HELLO!  What if he had an itch?

Let’s try him out in the Christmas Tree.

I think he looks right at home!
And he is.

Another cute idea if you’re ambitious: You could make a whole family of snowmen, and put them all together on a tabletop.

I hope you enjoyed seeing my ornament, and how I made him.  It really was fun, just like building a snowman really is. Without the cold. ; )
You can do this!
What do you think?
* * * * * *

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  1. 11
    Brenda says:

    OMG!! I just came across this little guy, and I LOVE him!! He is the most adorable little snowman, I can’t wait to give him a try. Hopefully mine will come out as cute, I would love to make these for everyone for Christmas this year. Thanks for the great instructions, very easy to follow.

    • 11.1
      Laura says:

      We’re so glad our snowman made your day, Brenda! Hope you’ll have as much fun as I did, making yours! Great idea, making them as Christmas gifts! I’d suggest making a practice one first, where you’ll be making several. I always learn something I’d do differently next time, so it helps to have a run-through.
      But they sure would make great gifts. Our snowman makes us smile all through the Christmas season, year after year, as he hangs on our tree. 🙂
      Thanks for visiting us and sharing your excitement!
      Laura / House of Joyful Noise blog

  2. 10
    Anna says:

    Hi! I loved this idea so I decided to make one for all of my students for Christmas. Sadly, after a night of dying, the snowmen had a huge crack down the belly, where I put the buttons using pins. The faces were fine. Also, some of the bottom balls also had cracks in them. I tried to use model magic dissolved in water and mixed with school glue (recipe I found online) to fill the cracks, but it didn’t work. Has this ever happened to you? Any idea of how I can prevent this from happening before I make the rest of them?

    • 10.1
      Laura says:

      Hi Anna! What a sweet idea, to make a snowman for all of your students! I have to say that yes, I did have the cracking problem, too. It was unexpected, and I was saddened and disappointed to find that had happened in the morning, when I it overnight to dry. Fortunately, my crack was on the back of the snowman. (Where we are all supposed to have a crack…right? LOL).
      Honestly, I thought it was something I did wrong, as I did not have much past experience using Model Magic clay in the past. I didn’t know it was a common problem until I Googled it after getting your comment here, and trying to find a solution. In reading around, it may have to do with the bigger pieces being formed and compressed so much, as we would trying to make a nice round ball, that it is inevitable to not dry, expand, and crack. I’m not sure.
      Does there happen to be a phone number or social media info on the package, where you can contact Crayola, and ask them how the cracking may be prevented? That’s about the only idea I have to offer. I do hope you find a solution. Come back and let us know if you get any good advice! Because it is fun stuff to work with.
      Wishing you the best of luck, and a very Merry Christmas!
      Laura / House of Joyful Noise blog

  3. 9
    Heidi Fowler says:

    Your ornament is absolutely adorable! I’m creating a snowman craft roundup to go live on Monday on OneCreativeMommy.com. I’d love to include one image and a link back to your site. Would that be okay? (I’m a snowman fanatic!)

    • 9.1
      Laura says:

      Absolutely, Heidi! Go right ahead. I’m always happy to spread the snowman/Christmas love! Thanks so much for asking, though.
      🙂 Laura/House of Joyful Noise blog

  4. 8
    Bethany says:

    LOVE this! Thanks so much for sharing!

    • 8.1
      Laura says:

      You are welcome, Bethany! The great thing about snowmen, is they are fun to have around all winter long. 🙂
      Laura / House Of Joyful Noise

  5. 7
    Helen says:

    That is cute as it can be. Thank you. I just try to make things. No web site hope this doesn’t matter. Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year.

    • 7.1
      Laura says:

      Hi Helen! Nooooo, you don’t need to have a site to comment anywhere. It’s just an option to share yours, if you do. But we’re super glad you visited ours, that you loved my little snowman, and we wish you a Happy New Year too! (And hope your Christmas was great!). Please come around and visit us again.
      Laura / House of Joyful Noise blog

  6. 6
    malia says:

    cutest. thing. EVER!

  7. 5
    gretchen says:

    I just love this! I bought the wrong clay so back to the store – but my question is
    do you let it dry before using the glue?

    Sorry I am blonde and have never worked with this medium.



    • 5.1
      Laura says:

      Hi Gretchen!
      I’m happy to answer questions.
      Well I only used the glue just under the brim of the hat, and to add the buttons. (Oh and just a little dab to hold the scarf back.). I would say it wouldn’t matter, except for the buttons in this case. (I’ll explain in a sec.)
      You’ll notice the clay is ‘very’ soft when fresh out of the package. As it dries, it firms up to the touch, but is still squishy when dry, kind of like soft foam. But when it is more dry, it also cracks from expanding and the surface having already dried – so you want to be careful not to wait too long for any pressing that needs to be done. Which brings me back to the buttons: Because there is a knot behind my buttons, from the yarn I wanted through the sew holes and tied off on theback, I really needed to press them way in when gluing them. So you’ll want to do that when the snowman is not too dry, to the press in. I actually took the buttons alone without glue, and made some pre-indentions (you’ll notice in the photos) to get it ready for the buttons. It’s the knots that me it necessary to press them in so hard, so they didn’t stick off, dangle and look funny. But the hat and scarf can wait a bit if you’d like, since there is no pressing to be done. Just handle him carefully.
      I hope that helps answer your question.

      • gretchen says:

        Hi Laura –

        thank you so much for your help – I am excited to start making the snowman –

        very cute and creative idea – thanks for sharing!


  8. 4

    SO cute! I love those little pink cheeks!

    • 4.1
      Laura says:

      Me too Heidi. I love working with colored chalk. Such a soft effect, and it works beautifully on this molding material.
      Thanks for swinging by! : )

  9. 3

    Not just cute! He looks positively edible!

    • 3.1
      Laura says:

      Well thankfully, he’s NOT edible! Or I’m quite sure he’d have been gone before the sun set on the day he was made, in this house! ; )
      Thanks for coming over, and saying HI!

  10. 2
    Michelle says:

    I had no idea that this would be the type of project you’d use model magic for! SUPER cute. Love this! (LOL about the hands…. winter only makes it worse…mine probably look about 206 this season 😉 I looooove winter. Or at least I think I do when it’s not winter, haha. Sometimes I think I love the idea of winter more than actual winter. If it’s snowing outside and I’m curled up with my family in front of the fireplace with some hot cocoa watching a movie or doing a jigsaw puzzle after having played out in the snow…yeah, that sounds pretty good! Mostly winter here though is just lots of rain, which I’m fine with for the most part… Fall is still my favorite season though!

    • 2.1
      Laura says:

      I’m not sure anyone had the idea it could be used for projects like this, except for me, this time! lol. I think typically it is thought of as for kids, and that is exactly how I always saw it. But when I checked out the real clay, and realized how heavy it was, I thought of Model Magic, and how feather light it dries. Turned out to be perfect, and a whole lot of fun. AND….it’s fun for kids. ; )
      I do know what you mean, about loving the IDEA of something. Like….I love the idea of eating lobster. But when I have it in front of me, and I’m pulling it apart and seeing things….I realize, not so much. The idea of eating it, was better than the reality.
      Fall still is my favorite too.

  11. 1
    Jaan L of Tx says:

    Never tried Crayola model magic, but think it will be something to get, as I really love your snowman…he’s so classic…this little guy I need on my tree. Thanks


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