North Pole Snowman

eNews: Strop Talk

North Pole Snowman

Simple relief ornament can be carved and painted quickly

By Steve Russell

While on a trip to Las Vegas, I came across a picture of a snowman on the side of a building. I thought it would make a great Christmas ornament! I made a few changes to the design to make it my own, and created this piece.

Making the Ornament

Transfer the pattern to the blank, and then carve the design with your choice of tools. Outline the details with a woodburner and skew or writing nib. Wash the carving with a spray cleaner, such as Simple Green®, and scrub it with a denture brush. Rinse well, and apply painting while the carving is still wet. Mix equal parts paint and water to create thin washes. Once dry, attach a small jewelry finding or eyelet to the top of the ornament with cyanoacrylate (CA) glue. Display as desired.

Paint Notes

Body, hatband, face, sign: antique white (1)

Hat: charcoal (1)

Nose: tangerine (1)

Cheeks: tomato red (2)

Sign pole: coffee bean (3)

Scarf: olive green (3)

1 Delta Creative™ Ceramcoat®

2 DecoArt Americana®

3 Plaid FolkArt®



• Basswood, 5/16″ (8mm) thick: 3 1/2″ x 4″ (8.9cm x 10.2cm)

• Acrylic paints, such as Delta Creative™ Ceramcoat®: antique white, charcoal,             tangerine; such as DecoArt Americana®: tomato red; such as Plaid FolkArt®:             coffee bean, olive green

• Glue: cyanoacrylate (CA)

• Small jewelry finding or eyelet

• Cord

• Spray cleaner, such as Simple Green®


• Carving knife

• Assorted gouges and micro tools

• Woodburner: skew or writing nib

• Denture brush


About the Author

Steve Russell is from Independence, Iowa. He retired from John Deere Waterloo Works in 2010. About a year before his retirement Steve took up carving. Steve has won numerous awards at both the local and national level. He has held classes and workshops at his studio and with the Northeast Iowa Woodcarvers Club. Contact Steve at

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