Turning a Confetti Light Snowman

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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.

Printable Snowman Diagram

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…

Use a spindle gouge to true the face of the blank
Use a spindle gouge to true the face of the blank

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.

Make sure your bits are sharp
Make sure your bits are sharp

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.

Make sure your forstner bits are sharp
Make sure your forstner bits are 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.

Use a square end scraper to turn the recess
Use a square end scraper to turn the recess

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.

Reverse Chucking

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.

Use a spindle gouge and turn the blank to shape
Use a spindle gouge and turn the blank to shape

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.

Paint multiple light coats to avoid drips or runs
Paint multiple light coats to avoid drips or runs

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.

Use masking tape to act as a depth gauge
Use masking tape to act as a depth gauge

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.

Use a skew to turn the tenon
Use a skew to turn the tenon

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.

Reverse Chucking

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.

Always use the tailstock for support when possible
Always use the tailstock for support when possible

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.

Sand through 320 grit
Sand through 320 grit

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.

Use a pencil to mark on the snowman where you will glue the stones
Use a pencil to mark on the snowman where you will glue the stones

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.

Glue the nose in using CA glue
Glue the nose in using 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.

Find some twigs to use as arms
Find some twigs to use as arms

Confetti Light

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!

Finished snowman confetti light
Finished snowman confetti light

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11 COMMENTS

  1. I just love this plan. I saw it in the flyer you just sent out selling a 4 pack of Confetti Lights. I don’t know about other areas, but selling pens is starting to dry up so I have moved to other things and am always looking for new ideas. I will always do a few pens but am moving to bowls boxes and now tops as that is what sells. Thanks for the plan.

  2. Hi, Can you tell me where to get (or what you call) the glass candle holder that is inserted into the Confetti Snowman? I looked up “confetti light” and can’t find anything. Thanks.

  3. Thank you for sharing this article on making the snowman confetti light. Sufficient instruction without too much detail.

    Merry Christmas to the entire Craft Supplies USA family of employees. I’m grateful live in the area, so I can stop by once in a while.

  4. Starting in November I have made a total of seven snowman using the confetti lights and all have been received well in their new home’s . I decided to step out side of the box and used coal I had crushed to inlay the eyes and buttons and found that people love it.

  5. Personally I have a major concern with lighted candles at Christmas and would suggest one of those battery light candles instead . However the piece is very impressive piece and it is well worth trying.

  6. Stunning piece, and thanks for the helpful directions. I’m currently making things similarly shaped, but not hollow and for a different use. ANyway, thanks!

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