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Long Island professional ice sculptor provides tips for making the best snowman

Andy Gertler, president of All Natural Arts, Pumpkin Sculpt USA and Sand Sculpt USA has competed in snow and ice sculpture contests around the world.

The Bayville resident shared some of his own snow creations and offered tips for building and crafting the perfect snow sculptures and snowmen.

See pictures of snowmen submitted by readers, and submit your own at newsday.com/submit

Plastic bins are great for packing snow in
Photo Credit: Andy Gertler

Plastic bins are great for packing snow in and stacking to gain height. You can pack snow into any plastic bin and turn them over like a bucket of sand, said Gertler.

Once you've attained the height you desire, it's
Photo Credit: Andy Gertler

Once you've attained the height you desire, it's time to carve it. You can use butter knives, forks and spoons to carve away or add details.

You can also add on snow at any
Photo Credit: Andy Gertler

You can also add on snow at any point to help shape your creation.

If you want to build something tall, it's
Photo Credit: Andy Gertler

If you want to build something tall, it's helpful to have some sort of form to compress the snow into, said Gertler.

Photo Credit: Andy Gertler

"We sometimes use wooden forms, but you can use an old plastic garbage can and cut the bottom out," said Gertler. "You would then shovel up a mound of snow and walk it down for a base, then place the garbage can upside down so the taper is on top for easy removal."

Simply shovel snow into your newly created
Photo Credit: Andy Gertler

Simply shovel snow into your newly created "garbage can form" and have a friend compress it until it's packed to the top. Then, just lift off the can like an upside down bucket of sand at the beach. "You might have to hit the sides as it might create a seal," said Gertler.

When it's time to carve the snow, Gertler
Photo Credit: Andy Gertler

When it's time to carve the snow, Gertler recommends using a serrated kitchen knife. "It works well for blocking out your sculpture and smaller kitchen tools work well for the details," he said.

A grapefruit knife is a great detail tool
Photo Credit: Andy Gertler

A grapefruit knife is a great detail tool along with forks and spoons, said Gertler.

When it comes to building the perfect snowman,
Photo Credit: Andy Gertler

When it comes to building the perfect snowman, Gertler said, he doesn't have any other tips than what has already been said a million times. "The classic snowman is a pretty easy concept, rolling a snowball into a larger boulder, then making one or two more, and placing it on top, adding a hat, scarf, carrot and coal," he said.

He also suggests using your imagination.
Photo Credit: Andy Gertler

He also suggests using your imagination. "Get out of the traditional idea that you can only make a snowman," said Gertler. "Instead, make a snow cat, dog, dinosaur or even a giant bug. Let your imagination go wild and push the boundaries of what has already been created."

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