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How to build a snowman: 5 tips for success

Image of a snowman in a snowy landscape
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With winter underway, you may be wondering how to build a snowman. If you're in a part of the world that gets snow in winter — or maybe you even have some right now — making a snowman is the perfect way to relax after clearing your driveway. And it's even better fun if you have kids!

Though building a snowman looks easy, there's a science to it. You need to find the right type of snow, the perfect spot, and make sure that Mr. Frosty's parts are all put together correctly.

But worry not, as we've put together five tips on how to build a snowman, so you can make the perfect winter buddy to pass the time with.

How to build a snowman: Choose the right snow

Image of a person's hands holding a snowball

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The best snow to build a snowman with is moist snow that's easy to pack together. To figure out whether snow is suitable, just scoop some between your hands and try to form a snowball. If it doesn't fall apart, you should be good to go. Avoid powdery snow, as this won't hold together as well as moist snow.

How to build a snowman: Pick the right spot

Image of a snowman in front of a house

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The best place to build a snowman is in an area that's flat and in the shade. If you want your snowy friend to make it through the day, it's best to find a spot where the afternoon sun won't get to it. So, building your snowman by a tree or building where it doesn't catch the sun would help prolong its life.

How to build a snowman: The basics

Image of a man and boy building a snowman

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Before you start building your snowman, you need to familiarize yourself with the technicalities. The best snowmen are made of three parts — the lower part, middle part, and the head — and should measure 3 feet, 2 feet, and 1 foot, respectively. An easy way to remember this is: 3, 2, 1.

When putting the three parts together, you should flatten the preceding part before placing the next part on top. So, when you build the bottom part, flatten it before you place the middle part on top of it, and so on.

How to build a snowman: Put the body together

Image of a man rolling a large snowball

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Once you've found the right snow and picked a good spot, it's time to get building the bottom section. Begin by packing together snow into a large ball as tight as you can, then roll it on the ground through more snow. Once it's about 3 feet in diameter, roll it to the spot where you want your snowman to stand.

Repeat this process for the top part of your snowman's body, making it around 2 feet in diameter. When the top part is ready, lift it and place it on the bottom part to see your snowman take form. Make sure to flatten the bottom part before placing the top part on.

Finally, pack and roll yourself a head, measuring 1 foot in diameter. After flattening the top part of the body, place the head on the top of it to complete your snowman.

How to build a snowman: Add a face and accessories

Image of a snowman with a red scarf and brown hat

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Perhaps the most fun part of building a snowman is giving it a face and dressing it up. Here's where you can get creative.

For the eyes, try buttons, pebbles, or the traditional pieces of coal. Or choose anything else you think would work, from painted ping-pong balls to bottlecaps. The same rule applies to your snowman's mouth. Shape a smile, or whatever other expression you like, using whatever you have to hand.

When it comes to the nose, nothing beats a carrot. If  you don't have one to hand, try a candle. And as for the arms? Tree branches, of course. 

Complete your snowman's look with accessories, such as a Santa hat, scarf, or even a pair of sunglasses.

Now you've got your snowman ready, be sure to also check out our tips on walking dogs in the snow.

Dale Fox

Dale Fox is How-to Editor at Tom's Guide, helping people get the most out of their technology. He's been a tech nerd ever since childhood, when he used the money from his first job as a paperboy to buy a subscription to GamesMaster magazine, and has a whole room at home dedicated as a shrine to the countless gadgets he's purchased over the decades. Dale was previously a presenter, reporter and editor in China, where he also worked as a copywriter for OnePlus at its Shenzhen HQ.