I remember the first time I made ‘snow’ was in high school. My Social Studies teacher made us submit a project showing different community set-ups. Me and my seatmate Malou were assigned an American rural-country setting so we decided that our little community will be made up of a 3 country-like cabin homes and a small worship-chapel diorama with lots of pine trees. (We pictured an American rural scene would probably look like that.) We worked on making houses out of Popsicle sticks and matchboxes, and then we made a fairly big structure as the chapel. The pine trees we erected were made from fallen Christmas tree leaves. After much hot gluing and arranging the pieces together for several days, our community scene was finished but we weren’t happy with the result.
Rural houses, a chapel and trees are a common sight, even in Filipino communities. There was no identifiable character that could make the looker tell that this community is definitely American. To solve that problem, we decided that there should be snow.
Let it snow!
My buddy Malou thought of using shredded polystyrene foam to create snow, but I had a far better idea. My Aunt Jijith once taught me to create snow with soap. The procedure in making snow soap is both laborious and tedious, but the result is an immaculate white foamy snow-like stiff lather, far better than any shredded polystyrene foam and a sure eye-candy if you like to impress your audience.
And for good measure, I also added a small American flag and attached it to front area of the church. In the end, we got a good 87 grade on our project.
Now, last Friday, November 18, my little boy Makus who’s in his first grade announced quite distressing news.
“Mommy, I need another Christmas decor, this time for my Art Club. And if I can’t submit in 3 days, I will be removed from the group.” He said in an as-a-matter-of-fact tone.
“What? Who told you this?” I was nearly irritated. I personally don’t like deadlines, especially if he has a long test coming this week. My plan for the weekend is to make his mock-test reviewer, and make him answer them, and not make a Christmas decor. Besides, I reckon expulsion from Art Club is too severe just because a kid couldn’t submit a Christmas decor in 3 days. Makus could have heard that news from his group mates who exaggerated about the expulsion rule a little bit. So I’m quite curious about the source of that news.
“My Art Club adviser said that to all of us in our club meeting.” Makus replied.
Oh, it’s official then. Very well, club rules rule. I guess every school club is now preparing for their own Christmas celebrations.
So I asked Makus if there’s any particular Christmas decor he has in mind, the materials he would use, and how and when he plans to make them.
“Mommy, you mentioned about a snowman you created many years ago, the one that is made from soap, can you teach me how to make that?” Makus answered me. His eyes were big with excitement. I can’t say no to that. I personally don’t like making snowman decors simply because we don’t have snow in Philippines, the idea of making a Nativity Scene makes more sense to me, anyways Christmas day is about Jesus and his birth. Making snowmen isn’t in my culture, but for the sake of a teaching a kid how snow soap is done, and of course to help him meet his deadline, I said YES.
“But you will have to be the one to make it. I will just teach you how, okay? This is an art club requirement, you’re the member and not me. Being art club isn’t just about knowing how to draw Spiderman and clowns. You have to be creative too.” Having said this, we prepared our materials and proceeded to making the soap snowman.
Makus will be taught to turn this bar of soap into this snowman.
For the snowman’s foundation:
For the snow:
Okay, now, don’t ask me why Perla soap, or can we use any other white laundry bars? The answer is I don’t know. I asked myself that question many years ago. Maybe Perla is used because it creates white creamy lather compared to other laundry bars. Maybe Perla is used because it’s just citronella, and in this light, it means Ivory brand soap could do a marvelous snow-soap too. But I haven’t tried it. One of these days maybe I’ll fork and experiment with Ivory, when I’m especially feeling like wasting my time in non-productive activity.
First, is to create our snowman structure. Of course, newspaper can be used for this, but because I have piles of white typewriting paper which my little boy used for his drawings, I decided to make of these instead of newspaper. For this snowman, I made 3 balls of paper; the base being the biggest, around 5 inches in diameter, the middle ball is 4 inches in diameter while the head ball is 3 inches, also in diameters. Makus helped in making the balls too, crumpling each sheet and covering them with another to make the ball grow bigger. I used an adhesive tape to flatten out paper crumples and imperfections. The rounder the ball is, the better the snowman will look like. Okay, so at this point, I have 3 balls. I put them aside for a while I worked on the base, the part on which the snowman will stand.
The base is made from1 ½ inch thick polystyrene foam. I recycled the bread costume foam he used last time in his Nutrition Day parade, making two pieces of 9 inches diameter circles. After cutting, I put the one on top of the other and fastened them with 4 pieces of 3-inches sized Popsicle sticks positioned in a way that it could hold the snowman’s base too. You can do this my piercing the surface with a sharp knife, going down to make a thin slice then insert the Popsicle sticks in there. This will secure the foam together.
The Popsicle sticks I used to attach the foam together will also be used to help in holding the base of the snowman. I flattened the ball a little and positioned it in the middle of the 4 sticks. I hot glued the sticks to the area of the ball that made contact with them, waited a minute for the glue to cool a little, and then worked on attaching the middle ball.
We hot glued the bottom of the middle ball that will come in contact with the top of the base then attach it, waited a minute again, made sure they are secured, and then worked on the head. The same procedure applies. Just make sure all the balls are strongly and firmly attached on top of each other.
I also got Makus to hot glue twigs on both sides for the snowman’s arms.
Snowman structure attached to the base, now’s the time to make the snow and test my tenacity.
I got me a wide and deep plastic bowl, added 1 cup of water, pierced ¼ part of the Perla soap with a fork, dipped it in water. Using my hand, I moved the soap in a circular motion continuously. I don’t know if it’s possible to do this with an electric beater. How I wish though.
I started doing this at 8:11pm. I gave the bowl to Makus and told him to keep on swirling the soap for as much as he can. Of course, after a few minutes, he got bored and returned the bowl to me. I really don’t expect him to finish this, but at least, I gave him an idea.
After an hour of unyielding swirling I got me a nice lather. After 2 hours, I have used up the 2nd part of the soap and I have created a nice bowl of fluffy snow. I had to transfer it to a bigger basin because my bowl can’t hold the fluffy pile of creamy snow anymore. I sprinkled it with water from time to time to help dissolve the soap some more. I also sprinkled it with salt to stiffen the bubbles. This mixture when done will allow the soap-snowman to last for a long time. Don’t worry about melting, it won’t. The longer it stands, the dryer it gets. One should put more focus on the snow cracking instead of it melting. My son waited and didn’t sleep on me. He wanted to be the one to make the snowman.
After all the swirl and twirl, the snow is finally ready.
Using a makeshift spatula by gluing 4 Popsicle sticks together, Makus started covering the base of the snowman’s ball with the snow. I can tell he had lots of fun that he even didn’t notice his tongue sticking out of his mouth as he applied snow over snow! I only told him to make sure to cover all areas. The final finishing touch was done by me. He’s so afraid he could scrape the snow at that point. I even out the surface and formed the little details of the snowman. I also made sure to apply a lot of snow on the head’s top area because I plan to put a bandana over it.
Decorating the snowman was easy. I made a scarf and bandana out of scrap fabric, attached black buttons as eyes and a carrot tip as the nose. I found a small piece of red ribbon in my sewing box and used it for lips. I decided to use yoyo flowers for the body décor instead of button because I have many of those. Besides, they’re prettier. I also attached a Merry Xmas sign by making Makus glue Popsicle sticks together, and painting it with water color just a bit. He prettified it with ribbon that matches the snowman’s scarf and bandana.
When you make your own, you could definitely experiment with decoration and design. You may choose to attach a broom, or populate the snowman’s base with Christmas leaves and/or acorns; sprinkle lots of golden dust, whatever you like, and the possibilities for snowman’s decorations are endless. By the way, in lieu of popsicle sticks, you may use any other stick that’s available to you. Barbecue sticks will do fine too. All in all, buying the cheap Perla soap is the only cost I incurred in creating this 1-foot high Soap Snowman.
But I have to warn my reader, this snowman is very fragile so it has to be handled very carefully. Attach all trimmings very carefully too. Study very well and target the areas where you will attach them. Removing them and re-attaching them could potentially destroy your fluffy snowman’s face. Remember that the snowman is made from light soap.
Snowman is finished and ready to be submitted to Art Club. A Christmas decor to cheer up your home without much worry on the pocket. All you have to buy, is the Perla soap, which is how much? P7.00? Test your patience on this one!
Makus came home yesterday and excitedly announced that his Art Club adviser liked the soap snowman. Aside from that, what especially thrilled him is that his classmates were all pleasantly surprised when they saw the snowman and asked him a common question: “How did you make the SNOW?”
Makus knowingly answered: “From soap. Check out my mom’s blog, it’s all there.”
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