snow gnome on pickle planet moncton front yard riverview winter carnival snowbank productions

How to build snow gnome sculptures

We are constantly blown away by the amazing Winter Carnival put on by the Town of Riverview, but they outdid themselves for 2021, creating an exciting festival fit for a pandemic with snow sculpting competition featuring gnomes!!

And guess what? They’ve kept it going! CONTEST DETAILS for 2024:

Pickle Planet is thrilled to support Riverview Winter Carnival as a communications partner.
Keep reading to find out how EASY & FUN it is to create snow sculptures, no matter what kind of snow is on the ground (or which community you call home around here)!
snow gnome among us sculpture
Just an Among Us crewmate & his buddy the Snow Gnome, hanging out at Pickle Planet HQ 🙂

Building your own snow sculptures

That’s right – it doesn’t matter if the snow is your typical ‘good snowman snow’ or not. You can make it perfect for sculpting! This technique is being popularized & shared around North America by Matt Morris, a retired teacher living in Waterloo, Ontario.

When the folks at the Riverview Winter Carnival first told me about this idea & shared links to Matt’s work, I got goosebumps! His talent for sculpting is incredible, but what’s really amazing is how accessible he makes it for everyone. We gathered the kids around & watched several of his short instructional videos before testing things out ourselves. I can assure you – even non-winter enthusiasts like me can LOVE creating sculptures following Matt’s guidance!

riverview winter carnival snow sculpture kit challenge


  • A bucket or trash can
  • A shovel and/or something to really push down the snow
  • Plastic knife and/or other sculpting tools you borrow from the kitchen 🙂

If you live in the Town of Riverview you can request a kit to be dropped off before the contest begins.

We used both the Town’s kit (based on Matt’s teachings) & what we had around the house. Both worked great, so this really is something that just about everyone can manage to do at home!

using a shovel and trash can to pack snow for sculpting a gnome

MUST WATCH: Matt Morris’ instructions for collecting, sintering, & sculpting snow

You’re going to want to follow Matt’s full instructions, but mostly the trick is to pack the snow down in the bucket (which is why the wooden pounders from the Town are great; Matt also shares how to make them, of course), then flip it over, twist, & release. Now you have a snow cylinder. Let that sinter (A new word we learned from Matt; according to the online dictionary, it’s a verb that means to make a powdered material – such as snow – form into a solid mass.) for at least two hours. It will become the perfect consistency for carving!

showing how to pack snow for creating sculptures
Just a trash can & a shovel is all it takes! Pack the snow tightly, twist & release, then let it sit. Can you tell by my expression how happy I was this worked as easily as Matt says?!

We built our initial snow piles on Friday afternoon, then tackled the carving on Saturday morning. It was fantastic fun!

prepping snow for sculpting
Our kids LOVED using the Riverview Winter Carnival snow sculpting kit to prep our pieces. We made about a dozen snow stacks on our lawn, letting them settle overnight before tackling the detail part of sculpting!
thumbs up snow sculpture
Matt shares a ‘thumbs up’ sculpting video that inspired this piece. It’s a great style to try, as you can easily use your own hand as a model!

a snow gnome on pickle planet moncton's front lawn

RELATED: Matt Morris’ instructions for sculpting a snow gnome

Here’s Matt’s video that we watched before attempting our own snow gnome. I highly recommend watching all his videos before heading out! His website also has written instructions with photos if that’s more your learning style. 🙂


If you’re looking to add a little learning to your sculpting adventure, Matt has you covered for that, too! He has a great page that shares some science-y snow facts, including a little math problem: How do I estimate the weight of a typical snow sculpture?

You might also want to explore:

What exactly ARE snowflakes & why are no two alike?

Science Mom’s lesson on water expanding when it freezes

Snow trivia, science, crafts & more from the Homeschool Scientist

Insider info: One of my pet peeves is ‘science’ websites/blog posts for kids that don’t actually explain any of the science. So, if I share a link to something I think you can use to teach kids at home about science, it’s going to actually be helpful & filled with information!

There is SO much – math, chemistry, physics, art, language, & more! – that you could touch on while creating snow sculptures. This really is a fantastic activity for homeschooling or an outdoor classroom at any age.

It’s also just a bundle of fun if you want leave all the ‘educational’ aspects behind & embrace the joy!

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: if our family can pull this off, so can you! Here’s a little video tour we did of our lawn a few days after creating our first snow gnomes & sculptures. 

Alrighty!! Let’s get to sintering & sculpting!

Whether you’re taking part in Riverview Winter Carnival‘s snow sculpting competition or just looking for a fun way to get out & try something new in the snow, we hope you’ll pop over to our social media & show us your creations!

LISTEN to Matt & Charles (RWC) chat with Jenna & Tosh on the podcast! (Or watch the video version here.)

things to do moncton kids parents parenting mom mommy group connection

Leave a Reply

Name *
Email *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.