Snowmen at Christmas is part of the Snowmen series by the husband and wife team of Caralyn and Mark Buehner. Kids get a peek into the night life of snowmen in this fun series and in this book they get to see what the snowmen do on Christmas Eve while the people sleep. I especially liked the snow reindeer and dog and thought it would be fun to create lots of snow characters to play with.
Clay Snow Characters Tutorial
This tutorial uses polymer clay, but other options are Crayola Model Magic, salt dough, and air dry clay for permanent snow characters and playdough for temporary ones. The point is to just have fun creating your own snow characters and playing with them! Older kids might enjoy setting a scene, photographing it and turning them into holiday cards.
Step 1: Create your snowpeople from balls of clay and the animals from egg shapes. Press the beads into the clay where you want the eyes to be. Use the clippers or scissors to trim the matchsticks for the legs, the toothpick for the carrot nose, and the twigs for the snowman arms and reindeer antlers.
Step 2: You'll bake the clay without the details and add them on afterwards. Bake according to the directions on the package. Sculpey's directions are to bake for 15 minutes at 275˚F for every ¼" of thickness.
Step 3: While they are baking, cover the twigs with Mod Podge and let them dry. This makes them a little more sturdy and not as likely to break.
Step 4: After the characters have baked and cooled, you can paint them with the white acrylic paint if you want them more white. Let dry.
Step 5: Glue on the details by dipping them in the glue and sticking them on.
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I created the Book and Activity Advent on my other blog, Bella Dia, in 2007 - hard to believe it was that long ago! Anyway, I thought it was time for an update, so throughout the advent this year you will see some new books and project ideas but the original ones will still be available too.
Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening is the first new book of the advent and I had a lot of fun creating an art project to go along with it. Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening is of course one of Robert Frost's most well-known poems and his beautiful words are brought to life with the gentle illustrations of Susan Jeffers.
If you have the opportunity to go for a walk in snow covered woods then that would be great inspiration for this project, but you can also look at photos on the internet along with the art in the book.
I took the close-up view; standing in the woods you don't always see the tree in full, merely the trunks layered one after another. In the project, you'll notice that the bottom of the trees are staggered while the tops go fully to the top of the card.
I created two versions, one for younger kids and one for older kids and adults. The younger version uses black acrylic paint while the older one uses India ink. It's a great project to do as a family and I think they would make beautiful homemade greeting cards too!
Step 1: Tape the cardboard down to your covered surface; cover about ½" of the edge. Creating this mat around the edge adds a bit of sophistication to any art plus it holds it in place. Younger Version With Acrylic Paint Step 2: Squeeze out a small amount of paint in a jar lid or similar, and paint vertical lines (tree trunks) with the stiff paint brush. The bottoms should be staggered but the tops should go up to the tape line. Don't worry about making a solid black line, it looks better with some of the background coming through. Emphasize that the trees that are closer to the viewer appear wider than the trees that are further away. Let dry.
Older Version With India Ink Step 2: Apply the India ink with an eyedropper. Use it to make straight vertical lines to represent the tree trunks. Stagger the bottoms of the trees while the tops should meet the tape line or go past it. Trees that are closer should be wider than the trees that are further away.
Step 2a: Use a toothpick to drag around the ink to create a more textured tree trunk. The ink will thicken as it drys and the toothpick will ultimately be removing some of the ink. Keep a paper towel in your hand to wipe off the excess ink from your toothpick. It's a bit like scratch art with less scratching! Let dry. The ink will be shiny and have a slight raised texture when it's dried.
Step 3 for both versions: Remove the art, including the tape, from your surface and put it in the bottom of your cardboard box for splatter painting.
Squeeze some white paint in a small dish and add a bit of water. Use the soft paint brush for splattering. The paint should hold on your brush but flick off easily.
Start splattering paint onto your tree trunks. Hold the brush and gently tap it with your other fingers. You can decide how long you want to "watch the woods fill up with snow"!
Step 3a: You can add more snow at the bottom, if you like, either while it's in the box, or remove it, and put it back on your covered surface.
Let it dry. If you're in a hurry, use a hair dryer.
Now the best part (you know it is!) - gently pull up the tape!
This is the acrylic paint version all finished...
...and this is the India ink version. I love the texture of the India ink!
If you like this project I hope you'll share it on your favorite social media channels!
The original post for Day 4 of the Book and Activity Advent featuring The Trees of the Dancing Goats by Patricia Polacco and tissue paper silhouette ornaments can be found here.
*This post includes affiliate links. If you make a purchase through the links I will receive a small commission without it costing you anything. Win win! I only recommend products that I like and think that you will like too. Thank you for your support!