Monday, 17 December 2012

Let it snow: snow basing tutorial

Right from the start I wanted my Space Wolves to have snowy bases. It fits their character and complements their colours.

I spent a great deal of time online looking at various ways and materials to create snowy bases and finally settled on the use of PVA glue and Bicarbonate of Soda. This gave me the fluffy pure snow look I wanted.

Here's how I did it.

You will need ...

Very few materials are required for this and all are readily available.
  1. Bicarbonate of soda (i.e. Sodium Bicarbonate, or Baking Soda) – if you don't know what this is, you'll find it in the baking section of supermarkets.
  2. PVA glue
  3. A small container for mixing
  4. On old brush or similar for application

Stage 1: making the mix

You will need to create a paste with the PVA glue and bicarbonate of soda. A roughly 50/50 mix is about right.

You want a fairly thick paste. For mine, it stuck to my mixing stick without falling off, but you don't need to be too precise about it.

Stage 2: applying the paste

Now, it's just a case of applying the paste to your base.

Just scoop and gloop it on the base wherever you think looks good. You can move it around quite effectively if the paste is thick enough so don't worry if it doesn't go on right first time. In the above photo you can see my first gloop of paste, and below are shots after the base is covered to a point where I'm happy.

As you can see, I left some areas uncovered for contrast. Don't be afraid to cover a model's feet, otherwise they may look like they're floating on the snow. Please disregard for Legolas models.

Stage 3: sprinkle sprinkle

Now to create the pure and fluffy look I sprinkled bicarbonate of soda onto the wet paste. It will stick on a bit like other scatter materials like sand or static grass, but it will not dissolve into the paste.

Sorry for the lighting on this one. [[insert joke about yellow snow]]

You can be quite liberal here, as I was, if you wish. You can also apply a little glue to the model's lower legs if you want it to look like it has been trudging through deep snow.

Now just wait for the paste to dry. It will probably take a day.

Stage 4: brush and blow

Now we need to gently brush and blow off any excess bicarbonate of soda as not all of it will stick down. I used a soft flat brush for this.

There's not a huge amount of difference here, but trust me that plenty of excess came off and it's best to get it out the way now rather than having white power all over your gaming table.

And that's that. Another nice simple tutorial.

Let me know if you have any other snow techniques in the comments.


  1. I haven't tried it yet, but I think I'm going to use this method as well. This guy made a similar tutorial, but he waters down the glue in different ratios to give different consistency in his snow.

    1. Interesting; I may have to try that if I need to create a little variation in look on larger bases, or even snowy terrain (if I ever make some snowy terrain).

      Let me know how you get on; I'll check out your blog!

  2. Looks very realistic. I might have to try this. Thank you.

    1. Thanks; the materials do all the work for you with this one. It's great to re-purpose simple household items.