Winter is here, and that means all kinds of fun DIY decor. If you’re thinking about adding a snowman decoration to your front porch this holiday season, this post is for you! In today’s step-by-step tutorial, we’ll delve into the creative process of crafting a delightful snowman figure porch leaner using cedar fence pickets. Not only does this charming project bring a touch of festive joy to your home, but it’s also an excellent opportunity to showcase your woodworking skills. So, gather your tools, roll up your sleeves, and let’s create this adorable DIY Christmas snowman that will undoubtedly be the best of your neighborhood outdoor decorations!
Get the printable plans here that are perfect for printing out and taking to your woodshop!
How to make your own outdoor Christmas decorations on a budget?
The easiest way to do this is to use what you already have! Repurpose inexpensive materials such as discarded fence pickets or reclaimed wood. Look at your existing paint collection and supplies and see if you can make what you have work for this DIY Wooden Snowman Porch Leaner. With a mix of resourcefulness and creativity, you can achieve a festive atmosphere without breaking the bank.
Materials to Build a DIY Wooden Christmas Snowman Porch Leaner:
- Two 1×6 cedar fence pickets (5/8″ thick, 5.5″ wide)
- One 1×4 pine board
- Narrow crown staples (or brad nails or screws) 1″ long
- White latex paint
- Black latex paint
- Black spray paint
- Orange paint for the nose (I used Glidden Koy Orange)
- Paint brush
- 1.5″ diameter wood circles (for eyes, mouth, buttons)
- E6000 glue
- Tape measure
- Speed square
- Miter saw
- Scroll saw, jigsaw or band saw
- Orbital sander (optional) and sandpaper (120 grit)
- Safety glasses and dust mask
- Narrow crown stapler (or brad nailer or drill)
1×6 cedar fence pickets:
- 2 @ 60 inches
- 2 @ 7-9 inches (for backing, size can vary)
- one short piece for nose
1×4 pine board:
- 1 @ 17 inches
How to Build a DIY Outdoor Wooden Christmas Snowman:
Step 1: Preparing the Fence Pickets
Begin by trimming off 2-3 inches from the cedar fence pickets. This will prevent the dried out ends from splitting.
Once trimmed, cut the fence pickets to an exact length of 5 feet, and make sure they are the same so your snowman looks balanced when you’re finished.
Step 2: Cutting the Nose
For your snowman’s nose you need to make two cuts. First, adjust your saw to a 5-degree angle and cut the end. Next, flip the board and make a mark 3/4 of an inch wide. Then, line up your saw and make your cut using this mark. Voila, a triangular nose!
Step 3: Cutting Back Support and Additional Pieces
To add structural support, you’re going to attach pieces of wood to the back of your snowman. To make these back supports, put your saw back to 0 (90 degrees). Then cut some of your leftover pieces from when you cut the fence pickets to size to approximately 7 to 9 inches long. They won’t be seen, so the measurements don’t have to be exact.
Then, cut the piece of 1×4 to 17 inches long. This will be your hat brim later on!
Step 4: Sanding
Now it’s time to sand! This step makes your cedar pickets ready to take paint and will also mean a smoother looking finish for your DIY Christmas snowman piece. It’s a good idea to wear a mask for this part so you don’t inhale any cedar or dust particles.
Step 5: Marking and Measuring
It’s time to measure and mark for your next round of cuts. And remember that since your snowman is made of two pieces, both pieces have to be exactly the same for the effect to be right.
Use your speed square for this part. Decide which is the top and bottom first. This matters! Then, make marks at 20 inches, 36 inches, and 48 inches from the BOTTOM. This will give you a 20 inch section, a 16 inch section, and two 12-inch sections. Do this for both boards.
Step 6: Creating Angles and Cutting
Now, measure one inch in from the edge at each mark you made in the previous step. Basically, you’re extending the mark to one inch long.
Then use the angle on your speed square to draw an angled line from the top of the one inch mark to the edge of the board. Do this for all the marks.
Then, flip your speed square over and use the same process to draw a line from the mark to edge of the board in the other direction. (You’re basically marking a small triangle that you will cut out.)
Use scroll saw to carefully cut out triangular sections marked by pencil lines. A bandsaw or jig saw will work too.
Repeat for second picket.
When you are done, you will have 3 triangles cut out from the outside edge. Do this for both boards.
Step 7: Notching (Optional)
This step is optional depending on what look you want. If you want to recreate that fence picket look, notch out the bottom corners of each board. Draw a mark one inch from the edge and use the 45-degree angle of your speed square to mark where you want to make the cut on the outside edge of both boards. Use your miter saw for this step.
Step 8: Sanding Again
This is just a quick sand to remove any remaining pencil marks. You can do this either by hand with sandpaper or with your orbital sander. I didn’t have a lot of marks so I just used sandpaper.
Step 9: Attaching the Backing Pieces
Now it’s time to fasten your boards together! Flip them over so they are backside up, and make sure the notches still face the outside edge of your snowman’s body. Place your two backing pieces where you want to attach them. One should be fairly close to the bottom, and one should be around the middle.
Make sure at this point that your boards are lined up with each other at the top and bottom. If they are not the same length, now is the time to trim them! Attach the two backing pieces using 1-inch staples with your staple gun. Put a few staples into each piece.
Step 10: Attaching the Hat Brim
Every snowman needs a top hat! Place the hat brim at the precise middle of the uppermost set of notches. Make sure there is a 3 inch overlap of the hat brim on each side of the snowman. Use your speed square to ensure that the brim is square to the rest of the snowman.
Then, secure the hat brim in place using two staples. You can also use wood glue if you want, but I didn’t find it necessary.
Then, flip your snowman over and put a few more staples in the hat brim from the back (so there won’t be too many visible).
You can really start to see it now, can’t you?
Keep in mind that you could attach the hat brim after it and everything else has been painted. I am a creature of habit and I like to assemble everything before I paint or stain.
Step 11: Painting
Before you paint, make sure you remove all the sanding dust either by blowing it off with an air compressor if you have one or with a soft cloth if you don’t. We are going to paint the body of the snowman white and the top hat (including the brim) will be black. It’s really going to look like a snowman now!
Cedar has a tendency to soak up paint, so don’t be afraid to put lots of paint on your brush.
I used a dry brushing technique, which means I didn’t want a thick, even coat of paint. There are some areas that are a bit rougher that will show a bit of the natural wood. You are free to cover the entire thing the way you would a wall, if you want to! Use the same technique with black paint for the hat.
While you wait for the snowman to dry, paint the nose with Glidden Koy Orange to make it a happy, vibrant focal point. The wood circles you can spray paint black. Just lay them down on a piece of cardboard outside or in your garage and spray paint them with a nice even coat.
Step 12: Distressing (Optional)
For those who want an extra touch of character, consider distressing the top hat section and body of your snowman with sandpaper or your orbital sander. This optional step adds rustic charm to your snowman porch leaner. How much you distress it is up to you, and you don’t have to do this at all if you don’t want to.
Step 13: Adding the Face and Buttons
Almost done! Bring your snowman to life by adding the eyes, nose, and buttons. Before you glue everything on, take a moment to arrange them in several different ways until you’re sure you absolutely love the face you’ve created. Also consider putting your buttons to the side of the ridge where your boards meet.
When you are ready to commit to the placement of your wood circles and the nose, put a dab of glue on the back of the nose at each end and stick it down. For the nose (which is bigger than the circles), I used a single staple as well as the glue. Be aware that this could cause splitting and be very careful. Then, put a small amount of glue on the back of your circles, one at a time. Place them where you want them and gently twist and press it down for a few seconds to ensure the glue covers the whole back of the circle.
Do not use staples or nails on the wood circles because they are cut from an end grain piece of wood, and they will therefore split. Allow the glue to cure overnight for at least 24 hours before you set your snowman upright.
Step 14: Finishing Touch
Now that the glue is thoroughly cured and your Christmas snowman DIY is almost finished, it’s time to finish off the look and add a scarf. This adds a cozy, wintry feel to your creation, making it a true standout in your seasonal decor.
How do you weatherproof outdoor Christmas decorations?
Apply a clear coat of spar urethane or polyurethane to enhance the durability and weather resistance of your wooden Christmas DIY Snowman porch leaner. Ensure an even application by starting with a thin layer. Before covering the entire decoration, test a small, inconspicuous area to confirm that the clear coat won’t alter the appearance of the wood in any undesirable way. This protective finish will not only preserve the natural beauty of the wood but also shield it from the elements, ensuring a longer-lasting and vibrant outdoor display. It’s flat for easy storage too, and if you put this in a covered building for the summer you will find the colors will last longer.
Congratulations! You now have all the knowledge (and hopefully, the motivation) you need to make a beautiful fence picket snowman porch leaner. This winter decor masterpiece not only showcases your woodworking skills but also adds a touch of warmth and joy to your home. And if one snowman looks lonely, you can go ahead and make a whole snowman family of these little cuties! However many you make, they will look adorable and ready to welcome family and friends to your home this season.
Merry Christmas, everyone!
If you like to make wood crafts, consider joining the Wood Craft Blueprints membership for step-by-step tutorials of trending projects that you can make and sell!
Are there printable plans?
Yes, you can get printable plans e-mailed to you by signing up here: https://www.woodcraftblueprintsmembership.com/snowmanplans
Do you have a video tutorial for this Fence picket Snowman that I can watch?
Yes! Watch the video tutorial on my Youtube channel here:
What tools do I need to make this project?
You will need basic woodworking tools like a miter saw, jigsaw, stapler/nailer, drill, sandpaper, tape measure, speed square, safety glasses, and dust mask. I included the full list in the blog post instructions. Beginners can likely get by with just a miter saw, jigsaw, stapler, tape measure, sandpaper, safety gear, and clamps.
What if I don’t have cedar fence pickets?
You can use any type of wood like pine, redwood, or cedar of a similar width. The thickness doesn’t have to be exact either.
Can I make my snowman bigger or smaller?
Yes! Just adjust the measurements and cut list quantities. For a 3 foot tall snowman, cut the main pickets at 36 inches instead of 60. Size other pieces proportionally.
What do I use if I don’t have a scroll saw?
A jigsaw or bandsaw will also work. Even a hand saw or coping saw carefully worked at the pencil lines can get the job done.
How do I secure the wood circles for the face?
I recommend a strong adhesive like E6000. Superglue or exterior-rated epoxy would also work. Make sure to let it fully cure before putting outside in the cold.
Can I just paint the nose instead of using wood?
Sure! If you don’t have spare wood for the nose, simply painting it works great.
Let me know if you have any other questions! This project is fun for all skill levels.
Looking for more great Christmas ideas?
Build your own 3 foot tall DIY Wood Christmas tree from 2×4 wood with these plans that include measurements and angles! This wood tree is a great way to use scrap wood, so save this for your list of Christmas wood projects.