head for International Community Ice Art Exhibit_Technical Notes
Heather Brown works with a template and a die grinder retro-fitted with one of Steve Brice’s custom shafts.

Heather Brown works with a template and a Makita Die Grinder, retro-fit with one of Steve Brice’s Custom Shafts and a burr bit made by Friction Coating Tools.
Photo credit: Louie Manzino
Steve Brice and Heather Brown

Aaron Costic working on an ice sculpture. Photo by Linda Heck.

Aaron Costic’s shows how chilly it can get sculpting ice.
Photo credit: Linda Heck
Elegant Ice

National Ice Carvers Association


Ice Techniques

The stages of ice sculpture carving can be pretty well summed-up with the help of information generously shared by Dawson List on the NICA (National Ice Carvers Association) Web site:

  1. Determine size of piece and measure the ice
    to be used.
  2. Sketch out your idea. If a template is to be used size it, enlarge it, to fit the ice.
  3. Adhere the template to the block of ice with water. It freezes to the ice. (If there is no template to be used then warm ice can be drawn into with an Exacto blade, ice pick or knife. Cold ice can be sketched on with a
    thick marking pen to rough out the design.)

  4. Rough cut the first major areas to be defined
    with a chainsaw (or saw). (Use ear protection, because chainsaws are loud. Use eye protection because pieces of ice or broken chainsaw bits might fly at you. Wear gloves to protect hands.
  5. Die grinders add detail; an iron will melt the template off the ice.
  6. Small wood chisels and Dremel® tools can be used for smaller detail work.
  7. To attach ice to ice, the surfaces are both flattened, using warm aluminum plates applied
    to both surfaces. This makes a strong bond.
  8. Inspect art.
  9. Torch to clean up the surface and make it glassy.
  10. If a stanchion (support) is used it will need to be removed and hopefully your ice sculpture is strong and balanced even to remain standing.


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