Friday, December 16, 2011

Snowman Make-do Tutorial

For those who have been waiting for this Snowman Make-do Tutorial, it's finally here. I intended to have this done sooner but my internet connection has been the pits, on and off and loading up photos has been tediously slow. I have copy-righted this project and ask that you please give credit where credit is due. You can make them and sell them but they can not be mass produced nor can the pattern be copied and sold. These snowfellas are simple to make and a lot of fun. If you have any questions please send me an email and I will answer as quickly as possible.

OK, let's get started.

Supplies List:
4" styrofoam ball.
Joint compound ( you can find a small pre-mixed container of this at Wal-Mart)
Old tube sock
Small rusty bell
Medium rusty bell ( the size bells you use is your choice)
Winter red berries
Photo mount spray adhesive
Hot glue
Americana acrylic paints ( Buttermilk, lamp Black, Soft White, Russet, Burnt Orange, Burnt Umber, White, Hertiage Brick Red.
Brushes (sizes: large flat brush, small round, liner and round stencil or scruffy brush)
Homespun fabric
Dowel (the size will depend on the hole size in your mill spool or whatever item you use as the base)

I have used a 7 inch old mill spool for this project but don't limit yourself to only this. You can also use a chair leg (like I did for Jacz), spindle, a candle stick (like the big-headed snowman), there are many possibilities so if you can't find a mill spool consider one of these options.
Insert a small wooden dowel rod or wooden skewer into the styrofoam ball (this is used only to hold it while it dries). With a spatula add the joint compound to the Styrofoam ball. Don’t make it too thick or it will take forever to dry but don’t make it so thin you can see the stryofoam. Allow to dry about 30 minutes and then smooth it out by dipping your finger in a cup of water and tapping the mud with your wet finger. Tap and then smooth, tap and smooth. Keep your finger wet so the compound doesn’t stick to your finger Don’t worry if it isn’t completely smooth, mine never are. Now allow the compound to dry for 18-24 hours.
Once the head is dried, basecoat it with Buttermilk. When the paint is dry, draw on the nose, eyes and mouth. Now, dry brush the cheeks with Russet. Make sure you remove most of the paint from the brush so the color is not to heavy. Paint the nose with Burnt orange. shade with Russet. Shade around the nose with Burnt Umber. Add white hatch marks to the nose. Dot the eyes with Lamp Black. Dot the mouth with Lamp Black; use a smaller dot of white to high light the mouth. Water down some Burnt Umber and shade around the eyes and mouth.  Paint the snowflakes with White and dot the ends and center with White.
I am not stating the size of the dowel that is used for the neck because the mill spool you use may be a different size than what I have used. Or, if you are using something other than a mill spool you may or may not need a dowel rod. If you are using a dowel rod, cut it into a 5" length. I could not find a dowel rod that fit perfectly, I had to sand down the end so it would fit. No problem there since it won't be showing anyway. Base coat the dowel with Buttermilk. After it has dried add the stripes using Heritage Brick. You can give it a primitive look with some stain.
Add some wood glue to the end of the rod and insert into the mill spool. Lightly hammer the rod into the spool. Be care because the spool might split.
Now comes the fun part. Push the remaining end into the styrofoam ball. Make sure you push it at least 2-3 inches into the ball and that the head is not tilted down. Now, pull it out and add hot glue into the ball. Be somewhat generous with the hot glue. You want to make sure the head is secure.  Push the dowel back into the ball and hold it steady until the glue dries. Awww, it already looks cute!
Ready for the hat? This part you might want to do while the joint compound is drying on the head. I use a coffee stain with Elmers glue in it which makes the fabric stiff. Add the sock into this mixture, wring out the excess stain. Bake it in the oven on a low temperture (around 225 degrees) checking it frequently so it doesn't burn. Beware, it will burn if it gets to hot and may even catch on fire, please, please, pleeeeze, check it often. I don't dry mine all the way in the oven since I make these while the head is drying; I turn the oven off and let the sock continue to dry on it's own.
Once the sock is dried. Pull it onto the head and position it how you want it to look, then hot glue it into place. I also position the top part and hot glue it into place. Using a small strip of homespun, tie the medium sized jingle bell on the end of the sock. Using hot glue add some moss to the top of the sock hat; then add a small jingle bell, some red Christmas berries and a couple of cardstock snowflakes. Add a piece of homespun around the neck. With a piece of rusty wire, I add the homemade cinnamon salt dough snowflake.  You can find this recipe by googling for it.  There are a lot of recipes out there for these type of ornaments.  Followig the directions of the spray adhesive, spray the piece and quickly add the glass glitter. For the tag, I use a computer font and print it onto a ecru colored cardstock. Cut it out and use a hole punch at the top. To reinforce the hole I add a piece of masking tape. Rather than stain, I use brown shoe polish in the cake (or solid) form to antique the tag; it gives it a waxy look which I like. Tie the tag around the neck using a piece of homespun.
There! Your done. Aren't they cute? I hope you enjoy making this (these) snowfellas as much as I did.  

Til next time....



Denise * KKL Primitives said...

Willa!! Thank you so much for sharing your tutorial~I LOVE this!! This is one I HAVE to make!

Merry Christmas xxoo


Raggedy Creations said...

Thanks for the wonderful tutorial Willa.


lilraggedyangie said...

Willa , thanks so much for this sweet tutorial! I may give this a try ...but Im positive they will never turn out as beautiful as yours ! Have a great weekend! hugs lilraggedyangie

Barb said...

Hi Willa,
Thank you for this wonderful tutorial!!
Amazing how creative you are with an old sock and a few supplies! I am fasinated!!
Happy Holidays to you and your family!!

Susan At Glen Oaks Primitives said...

Wow that was fun! I want to thank you very much for this one and all of your tutorials. They are
easy and fabulous.
Merry Christmas, Willa

countercrafts said...

Thank you for this wonderful tutorial! I am so Blessed to have one of these original make dos sitting on top of my fabric hutch in my craft room! LOVE HIM!!! You are the BEST, Willa! Donna, countercrafts,

Crafts By Jodi said...

Thank you for sharing Willa! This is so cute. I will be trying to make this soon!

Hillcresthome Prims said...

Oh my, those ae so darn cute. I don't know if I could make one because I have 2 left hands. Your's came out AWESOME, and that was so sweet of you to share the tutorial with everyone.

Christmas Blessings,
Tricia, XO


Those are adorable. Thank you for sharing, you are very talented.

Tina's Primitive Attic said...

Love these.. Thanks so much for sharing. Hugs, Tina

TheCrankyCrow said...

These guys are positively ADORABLE Willa - and while I appreciate the tutorial, yeah right for me! I've been banned from painting projects. My DH is still scraping paint off the cupboards from the last "paint episode." :o Smiles & Snowman Hugs ~ Robin

Carol Stuck said...

Hi Willa!

I purchased one of these cuties from you and love it but it is nice to have the tut so I can make some for gifts!

Thanks for sharing. Merry christmas


Twin Creek Primitives said...

So wonderful of you to share your AWESOME pattern! Thank you so much!

Lois--Huckleberry Lady said...

That was soo sweet of you to share your pattern. I do love him. But that could be like the icicle snowmen. Have all the supplies, still sitting back there!!!!
Merry Christmas,

jennifer768 said...

Thanks for the wonderful tutorial! Love these guys and I am sure I will be making myself a few.Christmas Blessings,Jen

Me and My Stitches said...

Love your snowmen!! I would love to make him, I better put him on the list for next year. Thanks so much for the pattern and tutorial (and inspiration!).

Sandi @ The Primitive Skate said...

I Love these adorable snowmen!
Thanks so much for sharing your pattern and tutorial.
Merry Christmas!

The Moonlit Stitch said...

These are so darn cute! I would love try them, but I am not a painter {sigh}. I remember seeing your creations in Country Marketplace YEARS ago (I so miss that magazine!). It is good to see you are still creating such wonderful items! ~*~Lisa

Vickie said...

Thanks for this tutorial, these are so cute and you are an inspiration!

Pam at Antique or Not said...

What a great tutorial! It's amazing to see how much work went in to my cute Jacz. You are so talented!


Lynn said...

Thanks so much for sharing the how tos!! I got a huge amount of styrofoam at a yard sale this fall at a good deal 4.00 for several huge balls, many packages of all sizes of eggs and balls plus florist foam too!! I was a happy girl and hubby just shaking his head at me!! So, I will use some of those to make these snow fellas!!
Merry Christmas

kornkribprimitives said...

Hi Willa

Thank you so much for sharing such a wonderful tutorial. You are so gifted. I hope you and your family have a blessed New Year!
Blessings, Linda

kina Rêves Songes said...

OoOoH Willa
Many thank for your tutorial. I like your snowmens ! Hugs from France

usagypsy said...

I saw this project on Pinterest and loved it. I had to search for the correct link and I'm so glad you still have it up! I just bought some spools and will be making a few of these adorable snowmen for Christmas presents. Thanks so much for making this available! I've pinned right from your page :)

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