How to make snow

how to make model snowWinter is coming… Fancy adding a seasonal touch to your layout? Here’s how to make snow that you can add to a model railway to give it that festive touch.

This technique comes from Time Capsule Scratch Builder a modeller on Instagram who creates amazing models (take a look at his Instagram page).  His latest of a snow-topped doorway has some of the best snow I’ve seen and works wonders for dioramas, miniature bases and model railway layouts.

Here’s how he does it…

“Off the shelf you can buy products that allow you to make snow instantly but they can be expensive for the amount you actually have in the packet. Fear not for here I can show you how easy and cheap it can be to make realistic crystallized snow and lots of it completely from scratch…

Step 1: The ingredients

  • PVA glue (Any will do the trick)
  • White Acrylic paint
  • Bicarbonate baking powder/soda
  • A small pot or cup
  • A brush of a medium size
  • And of course your area you wish to cover in snow

Step 2: Preparation

Pour roughly two teaspoons of bicarbonate soda into the container/cup followed by a blob of the Acrylic white paint and a few drops of PVA glue.

The amount of these three ingredients can be measured by eye. If the area you wish to cover is for e.g. 10 cm x 10 cm I would use two spoons of bicarbonate soda.

Step 3: Mixing

making snowMix the ingredients together until it all binds and becomes a stodgy paste.

If the mixture is very crumbly still – add more PVA glue. If it’s too wet then you can always add more bicarbonate soda to thicken it up again.

(The reason for the white Acrylic paint is to stop any yellowing after application. It helps to maintain the white nature of the snow).

Step 4: Application

When you are happy the mixture is the consistency you are after, start to apply it to your model/area of the landscape.

Don’t be afraid to apply a huge lump because it can easily be spread around and also be removed. It is possible to drape snow off of roofs and it will stick to walls very nicely too.

That’s it.

Now stand back and let the snow dry, it should take a couple of hours. To the right and below you can see one of my many time capsule models this one being a winter theme. I have applied the mixture to the areas I felt it was most likely snow would settle.”

Pictures copyright and reproduced here by kind permission of Time Capsule Scratch Builder.

> A final, personal, note: I spend a huge amount of time testing, photographing, writing and researching techniques for these articles and pay for all the running costs of MRE out of my own pocket. If you found this article useful you can support me by making a donation on my fund-raising page. Thanks and happy modelling, Andy.

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Founder of ModelRailwayEngineer, Andy Leaning

Andy is a lifelong modeler, writer, and founder of He has been building model railways, dioramas, and miniatures for over 20 years. His passion for model making and railways began when he was a child, building his first layout at the age of seven.
Andy’s particular passion is making scenery and structures in 4mm scale, which he sells commercially. He is particularly interested in modelling the railways of South West England during the late Victorian/early Edwardian era, although he also enjoys making sci-fi and fantasy figures and dioramas. His website has won several awards, and he is a member of MERG (Model Railway Electronics Group) and the 009 Society.
When not making models, Andy lives in Surrey with his wife and teenage son. Other interests include history, science fiction, photography, and programming. Read more about Andy.

Afflliate disclosure:The links on this page may take you to carefully selected businesses, such as Hornby, Amazon, eBay and Scale Model Scenery, where you can purchase the product under affiliate programmes. This means I receive a small commission on any orders placed although the price you pay does not change. You can read my full affiliate policy here. I also sell my my own ready to use, pre-made and painted buildings and terrain features. browse the range.

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