Turn a festive Snowman Confetti Light that is sure to be this year’s favorite decoration. This woodturning project requires only a few tools and a little creativity.
First of all, be sure to print the diagram below before you start turning this project. This diagram will help you get the critical dimensions right and show you a simple snowman confetti light that we like to turn. If you have any questions while you’re turning this project give us a call at 1-800-551-8876 and we’ll be glad to help.
Turning the Upper Half
To get started, select a 3″ x 3″ x 4″ piece of wood that is free of voids and knots. We recommend using plain maple, ash or similar material if you’re going to paint it after it’s turned. If you prefer the look of natural wood, you may want to use figured wood instead.
Let’s get started…
Mark the center on both ends of the blank then mount it between centers on your lathe. Rough the blank down to round. Once the blank is round, turn a tenon on one end of the blank. Make sure the tenon will fit in the chuck you plan on using. Mount the blank in the chuck using the tenon. Use a spindle gouge to true the face of the blank, this will help the forstner bits cut on center.
Before we do any drilling, it’s important to make sure our forstner bits are sharp. If they are dull, hone the bit using a diamond hone or sharpening stone until the bit is sharp.
Also, it’s important to use a lubricant such as mineral oil, beeswax or even water while you’re drilling. This will reduce heat and help the bit cut more efficiently. Drill the hole according to the snowman dimension diagram. Hole dimensions (both size and depth) are critical to the proper fit and function of a snowman confetti light. Take your time, double check dimensions and don’t be in a rush when drilling. We recommend marking the desired hole depth on the shaft of the drill bit with masking tape so you know when to stop.
Using a 1-1/2″ forstner bit drill the hole according to the diagram. Make sure to check drill depths frequently! With a square end scraper, turn a 1-7/8″ x 5/16″ deep recess to fit the tenon on the lower half.
Mount the drilled end of the upper half into your chuck. Be careful when expanding the jaws into the recess, too much force will split the wood! Use a revolving center in the tailstock to support the blank. Turn the upper half to shape using a spindle gouge. Make sure to leave a small tenon of waste material to support the blank while turning. Once you’re satisfied with the shape, remove the tailstock and remove the small tenon.
Sanding and Finishing
Sand the upper half through 320 grit. We recommend coloring the snowman by using a white spray paint to color the upper half. If you prefer a natural look use a spray lacquer or friction polish.
Turning the Lower Half
To get started, select a 3″ x 3″ x 3″ piece of wood that is free of voids and knots. We recommend using the same material as the upper half.
Mark the center on both ends of the blank then mount it between centers on your lathe. Rough the blank down to round. Once the blank is round, turn a tenon on one end of the blank. (If you are using a figured wood turn the tenon so the grain will line up with the upper half once assembled.) Turn the tenon to fit in the chuck you plan on using. Mount the blank in the chuck using the tenon. Before we drill the hole for the confetti light, use a spindle gouge to true the face of the blank. Mount a 1-1/2″ forstner bit in a drill chuck and drill a 1-9/16″ deep hole according to the diagram. We recommend marking desired hole depth on the shaft of the drill bit with masking tape so you know when to stop.
Now that the hole is drilled we can turn a tenon for the upper half of the snowman to fit onto. Use a skew or parting tool to turn the tenon to the correct dimensions. Make sure to follow the diagram carefully and test the fit of the upper half until you are satisied with the fit! I prefer a semi-loose fit so I can remove the upper half of the snowman with one hand.
Mount a waste block in the chuck and turn a 1/2″ long tenon to fit the 1-1/2″ drilled hole in lower half of the snowman. Mount the drilled end of the snowman on the tenon. Use a revolving center in the tailstock to support the blank. Turn a flat or slightly concave base on the snowman. Leave a small tenon of waste material to support the blank while sanding and finishing.
Sanding and Finishing
Sand the lower half through 320 grit or higher. Match the two halves of the snowman with the same paint or finish used on the upper half. Remove the snowman from the lathe. Use a chisel or handsaw to remove the remaining waste material from the base of the snowman. Sand, finish and paint the exposed ends.
Adding Buttons (Optional)
Our favorite way to create the face of the snowman is with a small amount of thick CA glue and small nuggets of crushed stone. We have a package of stone available for purchase that are properly sized for this snowman.
Turning the Nose (Optional)
Drill a small nose hole in the face of the snowman. With a small piece of scrap wood, turn a small nose that will fit into the drilled hole. Color the nose orange with a marker. Glue the nose into the drilled hole using a little CA glue.
Making the Arms (Optional)
Adding arms to this snowman will really add a decorative touch. Drill two arm holes in the snowman that will fit a couple small twigs. Use CA Glue or Epoxy to glue the twigs into the arm holes. Make sure you don’t use too much glue or it will spill out and onto the wood.
Use a funnel to fill the confetti light with oil. Insert the wick leaving only an 1/8″ of wick exposed. Place the confetti light into the drilled hole in the snowman.
Hopefully you had fun turning a snowman box. Try turning a few more with different shapes and find out which one you like best. Leave any comments or suggestions you might have in the comment section below, we’d love to hear them!