Forget snow angels. Learn to make Jabba, tauntauns, and AT-ATs in the outdoors this winter.
For many people, it's winter time. And at least in the United States, this winter hasn't exactly been mild. We've recently been experiencing brisk temperatures and painful wind chill factors. The local meteorologist doesn't rank the cold in comparison to Hoth's climate, but I'm going to assume it's close. I haven't frozen on the trip to the first marker (my mailbox) and back yet, but I'm sure it's only a matter of time before I have to learn what a tauntaun smells like on the inside from experience.
What? I have the tauntaun sleeping bag from ThinkGeek.
Winter isn't all misery and gloom though. It can be an opportunity to get outdoors and build snow people and creatures, to set up AT-ATs and reenact the Battle of Hoth from The Empire Strikes Back, or you can enjoy your time indoors with movies and crafts. So many Star Wars options, so little time.
It's time to adjust the way you think about snow. Sure, the white stuff on the roads can be an inconvenience, but it’s still fun. Think of it as a blank landscape waiting to be transformed into all your favorite characters or places. Unless you're a snow sculpture pro, I suggest warming up by making Jabba the Hutt. Make a lopsided pile of snow, add eyes and wrinkles, and you're done.
Sculpting even a lump of snow takes me a while so I stick to basic shapes such as a tiny version of Yoda's hut on Dagobah or the Echo Base Power Generator. However, if you have plenty of layers to keep you toasty and you're feeling ambitious, you can build a tauntaun. Miguel Valenzuela appears to be a pro at snow sculpting and has a full tutorial on building the creature at his blog.
Oh, yeah, he's also got instructions on constructing an AT-AT.
I need to move into his neighborhood.
Creating snow sculptures may be the obvious outdoor activity, but it's not the only one. Take your Imperial walkers, Rebel pilot Luke, snowspeeder, and whatever Hoth toys you have outside and play! Photograph the action stop-motion style and make a short movie or animated gif. If they aren't your toys, it is very important to ask permission before taking them into the snow. We don't want any wampa-like bursts of anger.
What if you don't like playing outside and getting wet and cold? What if you live in a region where no snow falls and the temperature doesn't drop below freezing? You can still join in on wintry Star Wars fun. One of the easiest things to do if you don't have snowflakes is to create your own! You don't need to rent a fancy machine, you just need the basics like pencil, paper, and scissors. There are plenty of basic shapes and symbols in Star Wars to use as your design such as the Rebel Alliance and Imperial symbols or C-3PO's head. If you don't feel like making your own snowflake template, you can find free ones to download online. Yet another option: decorate your paper with Star Wars designs first and then cut out regular snowflakes.
Another fun indoor activity is building dioramas. You could go all out and build a replica of the Echo Base or take part of your living room to create the Battle of Hoth, complete with explosions. Even if it's just a temporary display on an end table, you could make snow from cotton balls, gather your tauntaun and Darth Vader figures, and create a new scene.
Or, think small! Miniature figures, empty salt shakers, white glitter, hot glue, and Mod Podge are all you need to make a tiny diorama. The tauntaun in a jar didn't take me long to assemble. Basically, I trimmed the base of the figure so it would fit inside the salt shaker and glued it to the lid (you could also glue the toy to the bottom of the jar). Once it's dry, smear a tiny bit of Mod Podge around the inside of the glass so that glitter will stick and leave a frosty-looking residue. Then, add your glitter and you have a portable diorama. You can grab a detailed how-to at my blog. This technique can also apply to dioramas in larger containers like pint or quart jars.
When you tire of all the snow, real or fake, you can always turn to one activity that never gets old: sitting on the couch and having a Star Wars marathon. I'll make hot chocolate for everyone -- if it’s okay for Luke Skywalker, it’s okay for me.
Amy Ratcliffe is addicted to Star Wars, coffee, and writing. You can follow her on Twitter at @amy_geek and keep up with all things geeky at her blog.