Light Bulb Snowmen

I’m back! I’ve recovered a good portion of my data from the hard drive crash and I’m getting things back on track. Thanks for your patience during my week off. Today, I want to introduce you to some chilly little recycled friends. 
Light Bulb Snowmen
Level of Difficulty: Complicated steps and materials
Time: Not a short project because of dry time and detailed steps
I taught a class on these cute little snowmen recently. I had found the idea on and then modified it to fit my supplies. Well I modified it because I never follow directions. And, for the class, I needed something that would be dry enough to finish in an hour or two, so traditional paper mache wouldn’t work. It’s the perfect way to recycle some light bulbs and make Christmas gifts. These little guys can be used as stand-up figures or can be tied or wired to hang on the Christmas tree, your choice.

Step One  

Supplies for Step One:

  • plaster of paris
  • water
  • measuring cup or disposable cup to scoop plaster
  • disposable bowl or pie tin and a plastic fork or spoon
  • small piece of plastic wrap or foil for setting wet snowman on.
  • burned out light bulbs in different sizes
  • paper towel
  • newpaper to protect work surface
  • disposable gloves

To make my snowmen, I used plaster of paris and paper towels. First, I tore the white paper towels, (a good quality quilted Bounty towel) and tore it into pieces approximately 2 inches by 2 inches. They can be random and ragged. It takes around one towel per light bulb snowman. 

Next, I mixed up a small amount of plaster of paris in a disposable bowl. It is important that yo do not begin mixing until you are ready to go because it begins the chemical process very quickly and you have little time to work. That means, get your surface ready with some sort of protection like newspaper and a something to set your snowmen on to dry.Have a pair of disposable gloves ready too. For mixing, it works best to put the plaster of paris power into the bowl and then add water until it is the consistency of pancake batter. Stir quickly!

Then, very quickly, dip the paper towel pieces into the plaster mix. It’s only necessary to dip one side. Then put the dipped side down on the light bulb and smooth out. Keep working quickly as the mixture will begin to harden soon. Keep dipping and smoothing without trying to be too precise. If you want your snowman to stand up, then you’ll need to put a blob of the paper towel/plaster stuff on the bottom and then smoosh it down on your work surface to make it stand.

Keep your paper mache layer as thin as possible. 

Your gloves will begin to get caked with the mixture and it will get more difficult to dip the towels as it begins to set. The most light bulbs I could get done per batch was 1-2. Any more and the mixture was too hard.

When you begin a new batch to do more light bulbs, be sure that your bowl and equipment is fresh as a small amount of hardened plaster will speed up the hardening of the next batch. Bummer. I learned it the hard way.

I also learned once the hard way that you cannot wash plaster of paris bowls in the sink. It will harden in your drain and someone, like an understanding husband, will need to take apart the plumbing to chisel it out. 

So, we’ve completed the plastering step.

Now, if you think this plaster of paris stuff sounds difficult and you have extra days to allow your critters to dry, then I would suggest the old newspaper, glue, paper mache method. Much more kid-friendly if you’re doing this with children too!

Step Two
  • Tacky glue or hot glue
  • scraps of fabric (felt, fleece, quilting cotton,)
  • small sticks
  • black paint or marker
  • buttons
  • White paint

If you used plaster of paris, it isn’t really necessary to paint your snowment since they are already snowy white. Although, it can let off a chalky film, and they aren’t waterproof, so you may wish to seal them with white paint. If you did the traditional paper mache, you’ll need to paint them for sure.

Next, it’s time to embellish. If you visit the instructions, you’ll see how they made the hat. I did mine with a piece that was 3×4 inches and I used fleece. It’s all glue, no sew. You basically fold a brim on the long side, then form it into a tube overlapping the short ends with a little bit of glue. Then you tie the top and snip it to look like a pom pom. I used a little glue to keep it on the snowman. Side note: if your plaster is a little damp, hot glue will not stick, but tacky glue will work wonderfully since it is water based.

Keep embellishing by adding buttons, stick arms and a scarf. My noses were made from orange fleece cut in a tiny triangle. You could use craft foam too. The arms stayed on best if I used a pencil to make a little hole where I was going to glue an arm.

To dab on the eyes and mouth, if you don’t have a paint pen, just dip the tip of a pencil into craft paint and dab it on in a row. You can sharpen the pencil again later and get the paint off.

I hope you have fun with your snowmen! My favorite light bulbs to use are my bathroom vanity ones because they are shorter and rounder. But the taller utility bulbs and regular incandescent bulbs make a fun little family of different sizes.

Happy Recycling!

See this post on tour at these blogs:

Today’s Creative Blog – Get Your Craft On

Reinvented – Trash to Treasure Tuesday
The Thrifty Home – Penny Pinching Party
The Inspired Room Holiday Link Party


DIY Day at A Soft Place to Land

2nd Time Around Tuesday at A Picture is Worth 1000 Words


Trash to Treasure Decorating
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  1. Thank goodness your hubby was understanding and extremely nice to you…oh my!

    I love this craft as I can recycle all my old bulbs or buy new cfl's and won't feel guilty about it!


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