How to Create Fluffy Snow Bases for Miniatures

I did a snow basing tutorial previously and shortly after I found a tutorial using a different snow basing method. I experimented with the method I found and discovered I liked it a lot more than what I was doing. So, I figured I’d add a revised version to the site to cover the method I’m using now.

Snow Basing Materials

Here’s what you’ll need. First up is the snow itself. I got this Woodland Scenics Snow Flake from their online store for $13. As you can see, it’s way more than I’ll ever need.

Woodland Scenics: Snow FlakeThe only other thing you need is the glue. I use Mod Podge, which is a PVA glue that doubles as a sealer. In the U.S. you can find it at most craft stores for about $6 for the size shown. I use the one that has a matte finish to it. In this application the sealing finish really doesn’t matter but you could modify the steps and use a satin or gloss finish to get a more wet look. You’ll see below.

You can use any PVA glue you like. I just like Mod Podge because I can get a big container and it has the sealing component to it for other projects I use it for.

Snow Basing Materials

The cup is what I mix the glue and snow in for the snow basing. Note the bag of snow. I transferred snow from the huge container into the bag. The last step I do is to add snow on top of the wet mixture to get a fluffy look. I find it’s far easier to dip the base into a container, like the bag, than it is to pour the snow onto the base and have to pour the excess back into the container after. This is what I do for all my basing materials I use, pour it into a bag and dip the model in.

Mixing the Snow

First I pour some glue into the cup for the snow basing. I like to add a few drops of white paint into the glue as well. The reason for that is it gives the snow a vibrant white look once it’s all mixed in. Without the white paint the glue will dry mostly transparent and it gives the snow a more wet look. Nothing wrong with that, and it looks good, but it’s not what I’m after with this snow basing.

Glue and Paint

I then add in some snow and mix it all together thoroughly. The consistency you’re after depends what you’re looking to do with it. A thicker consistency is great for building up large snow piles and creating snow drifts. I go thinner though so I can use a brush to spread it out in spots easier. A thinner mixture makes it easier to create more dusted areas too where it isn’t piled up so much.

Mix the Snow

Adding the Snow to the Base

I then use a brush and glob the snow onto it and apply it to the base. I try to be pretty random with it. For what I’m doing I don’t want to cover the entire base and I want the ground to show through in spots. I just like the mix of textures and layering you get this way but you can certainly do the entire base as well.

You can see the wetness of the glue in these shots. If you aren’t after a fluffy snow look then you could stop here and this is where the finish of the Mod Podge would matter. I don’t have any finished shots of what this would look like but from experience I can say it would dry very much like you see it but without the wet look to it; at least with the matte version of Mod Podge I’m using. However, I like the fluffy snow look so I proceed from here to dip the base into the bag of snow I showed earlier. The snow sticks to the top surface and makes it all fluffy.

You can immediately see the difference; it’s very fluffy, I leave it alone like that for a handful of hours to dry and setup. Once it’s dry I blow off the excess and use a large brush to brush the stray flakes off the model and base rim.

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If you wanted larger snow piles then just repeat these previous steps. Do a first layer, let it dry, then add another layer on top and just keep building it up.

The End Result

A Step Beyond

There’s another step I used on this model to complete the snowy effect. On larger bases like this, I like to add in some ice to fill in some of that dead space. I have a tutorial on creating ice effects you can check out. Meanwhile, here’s the shots of the model completely finished. You can also see the snow better than in the shots above.

Conclusion

That’s it for the snow basing. From here I seal everything, model and base, with a matte spray sealer. The snow really doesn’t need sealing because the Mod Podge does that already, but the sealer will help keep the fluffier top layer from rubbing off with handling and gives that fluffy top layer some protection in general.

Whatcha think, convincing snow basing?

 

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