Snow brings many fun activities with it, and sledding is usually top of the list, but snowball fights are also pretty common on many streets. A well-constructed snow fort provides the perfect cover and gives you a higher chance of winning.
You can also decide to build a fort as a fun way to make the most of the weather with your family, but how can you build the strongest fort?
To build a snow fort that will last, you should focus on constructing the right snow fort size for the quantity of snow you can collect. The more snow you have, the more complex your snow fort can be. You also need denser snow for your wall or snow bricks. Loose snow will fall apart very quickly.
The rest of the article will cover tips and tricks to keep in mind to get the perfect snow fort.
Choose the Style of Your Fort
There are so many ways to build snow forts. You can choose to make them as simple as one wall facing a corner of your choosing, or you can make them a lot more detailed, looking like a small room and complete with a roof.
To choose a style, the most important thing you need to consider is the depth of the snow around you. If you’ve got a lot of snow to work with, you can build a fortress of any depth, height, or length you choose.
You should consider the size of your friends or family when thinking of what to build. It should ideally take everyone in one go to make it fun. Of course, you’ll need the fort to take all members of your team if you’re building to get ready for a snowball fight.
Pick the Perfect Location
When thinking of building a snow fort that will last, you should start with choosing a flat site. This will ensure your fort has a proper base and also make the process easier for you.
You should also avoid choosing a busy spot; otherwise, your fort may be knocked down by reversing cars, playful kids, etc.
Another reason to avoid locations with vehicular traffic is that there’s the risk of carbon monoxide in exhaust fumes—which is very deadly—getting trapped in the fort if you chose to build one with a roof.
Check out our article about Snow Fort Dangers And Safety if you’re worried about how safe snow forts are for kids.
Get to Measurements
Whether you’re building a simplistic snow fort or a complex one, you need to have exact measurements of the space you need for the project. You can use a branch, shovel, or stick to properly highlight a perimeter for the structure you’d like to create.
During the measurements, you should remember to consider everyone’s size and how much space they’ll take up in the fort. It’s a good idea to have them all standing in the spot for the construction to give you a visual representation.
To make the fort comfortable, make it large enough to take double the number of the people you’ve got around. So, make it big enough to take four people if there’s just two of you, etc. Of course, this is dependent on how much snow you have to work with.
Make Your Snow Bricks
To make snow bricks—there are two options you can go with. The first one is to roll up sizable snowballs as you would when making a snowman. You don’t need any special equipment for the process, just your hands.
However, a more efficient method of making snow bricks is to pack as much snow as you can into plastic tubs, coolers, storage boxes, or any decent-sized wooden boxes you can find. Once you’ve packed it well enough and turn it upside down, you’ve got your snow brick to use.
Check out the assortment of Snow Block Molds (link to Amazon) to make strong and sturdy snow forts that will last.
When making snow bricks, however, you should be sure to use moist, sticky snow. Powdery snow will fall apart before you’ve even started with the construction. Think of this as how wet sand builds sandcastles better.
If you can’t find anything other than powdery snow, you should make your bricks using snow closer to a house or landscaping. Snow from these spots will be wetter.
Here’s a cool time lapse video showing what you can do with some snow brick molds to build a snow fort with:
Start the Building Process
The best way to build the fort is to have someone making the bricks and other people stacking them up right away to form the wall of your fort. You should aim for a four-foot wall on all sides, but you can go a bit higher or lower if you want.
Your building should follow the perimeter you’ve mapped out originally. You should also lay your blocks bricklayer-style by making sure the bricks are spaced inches away from each other.
You also ensure the next layer is positioned with a brick crossing two bricks under it.
Someone else should follow closely behind as the bricks are laid to fill up gaps with some snow (just like bricklayers use cement, etc.).
This is to ensure the structure doesn’t collapse midway. To ensure durability, the inside walls of your construction should be perpendicular—with a slight slant that looks close to a pyramid.
Use Ice As the Finish
Your snow fort is incomplete until you give it an iced exterior. All you need to achieve this is to splash some water on the walls of the fort inside out.
You should do this from top to bottom to ensure the ice on top doesn’t collapse the rest of the fort. By starting from the bottom, the lower part of the fort will be strong enough first.
How to Speed Up the Snow Fort Build
The best way to speed up the snow fort building process is to work in a group, especially when making the snow bricks and laying them.
You should have at least two people making the bricks, and another two people laying them. If you have to walk a fair distance to find wet snow to use, you’ll need even more help.
Basically, you should make sure you have enough hands on deck for the project. You won’t just complete the project faster; you’ll also reduce the possibility of the snow fort crumbling because the snow has been weakened by being left loose on the ground for too long before being used for bricks.
How to Decorate the Snow Fort
You can decorate your snow fort in a number of ways:
- Add food coloring to the water you’d splash on the fort to form an ice coat, as we discussed above.
- You can dye the snow bricks by spraying some colored water onto the snow mix as you mold it.
- Line the fort with some strings of Christmas lights. Only use the low-power types to avoid excess heat that can melt the snow.
- If there’s enough snow, you can make some snowmen around the fort and dress them up. Flags and other props can also work. Also, depending on the strength of your construction, you can carve designs into the exterior of the walls.
Building a snow fort is a fun way to make the most of the winter. If you’ve got some help, you can make an exquisite looking fort of any size. The hardest part is finding some wet snow to make the bricks, as well as laying them properly.
If you have that part covered, all you have to do is create the design you want to accomplish and get to work. Don’t forget to throw some water over the walls of your snow fort when you’re done, to give it a layer of ice, and make it stronger from the outside.