Holiday Carving / Patterns & Projects

Perky Snowman

Brighten up a dreary day with this whimsical winter character

By Rod Leeseberg

This snowman begs to be brought out of a piece of wood. Add a cheerfully colored scarf, stocking hat, and mittens and you’ll achieve a figure that will have your friends grinning with admiration. Perch a snowy owl and a cardinal on his hands to tug at a nature lover’s heart.

The snowman may take some time to carve because of the scarf. If it looks too challenging it can be omitted. The two birds should be carved separately and attached using short lengths of dowels. Drill 3/8″ (10mm)-diameter holes in the mittens of the snowman and the bottoms of both birds. Secure 1/4″ (6mm) diameter dowels in the holes with epoxy. An inserted carrot nose—a 1/4″ (32mm)-diameter dowel carved to a point—will allow you to carve the face with little difficulty.

To finish the carving, apply several coats of paint on bare, unsealed wood. Use a liquid wood stain to antique the snowman.


Basswood: 4″ thick
Dowels: 1/4″ (6mm) dia. x 1″ (25mm) long, 1/4″ (6mm) dia.
Acrylic paint, such as Delta Ceramcoat: black (snowman’s eyes and buttons, cardinal’s eyes, owl’s beak), cardinal red (cardinal’s body), dark foliage green (trim on hat and mittens, stripes on scarf), maroon (cardinal’s wings and tail), rouge (cardinal’s beak), seashell white (snowman’s head and body, owl’s body and beak), straw (owl’s eyes), sunbright yellow, tangerine (nose), ultra blue (stripes on scarf and hat)
Liquid wood stain, such as Home Décor by Delta: Antique Oak

Band saw
Drill and bits: 3/8″ (10mm)
Carving knife


CLICK HERE to view the snowman pattern.


For further information read Carving & Painting Christmas Ornaments by Betty Padden. Carve and paint your own festive wooden Christmas ornaments, with step-by-step projects, detailed instructions, original patterns, and inspiring color photographs. The book is available from for $16.95 plus S&H.


This article first appeared in Woodcarving Illustrated Holiday 2002 (Issue 21). Other issues of Woodcarving Illustrated are available for purchase from

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