Instructables
Picture of How to Make 6-Pointed Paper Snowflakes
This step by step guide will teach you how to make SIX pointed paper snowflakes. Most people make (and most how-tos teach) snowflakes with four or eight points. Real snowflakes in nature form with six points (or occasionally three if they formed weird) so I choose to make my own with six points. I taught myself this technique in high school and have been making paper snowflakes around Christmas time ever since.

All you will need for this is paper and scissors. Some people like to use fancy paper, but I use plain white copy paper because somehow the simplicity of white is more beautiful to me.

If you want to view a gallery of my snowflakes, see me on Flickr: Paper Snowflake Gallery.

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Step 1: Step 1

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First, begin with a square piece of copy paper. I usually make two snowflakes for every 8.5"x11" piece of paper, so I first cut the paper in half, and then make a square from each half. This makes a snowflake about 5" across. If you're just learning to make snowflakes, using a full piece of paper for each snowflake may be easier to practice with.

You can make a square from a rectangular piece of paper simply by folding one corner down to form an isosceles triangle (like the one in the next step) and trimming off the excess paper.

Step 2: Step 2

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Fold the square of paper diagonally to make a triangle.

Step 3: Step 3

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Fold this larger triangle in half to make a smaller triangle.

Step 4: Step 4

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Imagine the triangle in thirds, and fold the right third over, as shown. If you want to be precise and have a protractor, each "third" in this step is a 30 degree angle.

See the explanation above, from a worksheet I made up, which should help to explain folding in thirds a little better.

Step 5: Step 5

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Fold the left third over. Try to get all of the folds to line up as close as possible for the most symmetrical snowflake.

Step 6: Step 6

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Cut off the top of the paper at an angle. Make sure to cut if off so that all remaining layers of paper are equal. Cutting at an angle is what makes the points of the snowflake. Eventually, you'll learn to cut at different angles to make snowflakes with points that are more or less sharp.

Step 7: Step 7

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This is where your imagination comes in. Begin cutting away from the sides of the paper. Usually, cutting small triangles from the sides is easiest, but don't forget to try other shapes.

For this snowflake, I altered the top edge a little to make my points a different shape. I also cut out a piece with a "spiky" edge. Use your imagination!

 I don't use patterns for my snowflakes: I just cut as I go. My snowflakes are never the same because I don't usually plan out my snowflakes. Sometimes I find a new cut or shape that I like, and I may use the same technique on a different snowflake, but I don't copy the whole snowflake.

Step 8: Step 8:The Reveal

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Unfold the paper very carefully.

The snowflake will not lay flat right away, so I like to tuck them between the pages of a book for a while before displaying them. I have also ironed them (between two pieces of plain paper) to make them extra flat. Watch out though, because paper can get very hot to the touch when ironed (don't use steam!) so be sure to let it cool for a second before handling the paper, and as always excercise caution to avoid fire and burns. Ironing them also seems to make them a tiny bit stiffer, which could be good if you want to hang them rather than tape them to a surface.

Step 9: Tips!

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Materials:

- Make sure you have sharp scissors and clean hands. Dirty hands make for dingy snowflakes!

-Some people recommend using cuticle scissors so that you can make even more intricate snowflakes. I don't like this for two reasons. First, cuticle scissors are not comfortable in your hand. A comfortable grip is essential. Second, it is possible to get too intricate. Too many tiny snips and not enough shaping will just make your snowflakes look like lace doilies.

-Snowflake experts recommend using tracing paper and an X-acto knife to make snowflakes, to make them even more delicate and more perfectly symmetrical. However, I still like plain paper and scissors, since those are things that anyone has and you can use them with kids.

-Some people like to use wrapping paper or other fancy paper to make their snowflakes. Use whatever you like to create the desired effect. I stick with plain white copy paper because somehow I get a lot of satisfaction from creating something so beautiful from something so ordinary.

Making Snowflakes:

-I usually make my snowflakes while sitting down on a couch or chair with a coffee table in front of me, and a small trash can between my knees. This way I can lean forward to fold the paper on the table, and then sit up and snip bits of paper into the trash can. This makes less mess.

-When folding, steps 4-5 are the hardest, when you have to try and estimate thirds. Often, you'll fold the second third over, only to discover that it doesn't line up exactly in thirds. You'll have to unfold and refold until it's as exact as you can get it. The closer to exact thirds you can get it, the more symmetrical your snowflake will be. As it is, the thickness of the paper and the amount of folding that you do will make it so that making a precisely symmetrical snowflake is almost impossible. This will be most obvious in the center of the snowflake: look at some of mine. The star in the middle of some is not perfectly symmetrical. It happens. Real snowflakes have defects too, so don't worry about it.

-Avoid what I call "blank space". This is when you're cutting your snowflake in Step 7, and you leave behind big spaces of blank paper in your snowflake. Generally, anything thicker than 1/4th of an inch gets cut down into a thinner line, or by decorated it in some way (like by making tiny triangle snips all along the edge to give it "teeth"). Otherwise, when you open your snowflake, it will have thick, clunky lines instead of nice delicate ones. Sometimes thicker lines do create a different effect when contrasted with thinner lines, but use sparingly.

Decorating With Snowflakes:

-A tiny piece of double-sided tape behind each point is a good way to stick them to a surface. I love to put mine on windows so that they're visible from inside and out. They show up beautifully at night against the dark glass.

-These can be hung from the ceiling, but be careful because they are delicate. It may be wise to cut some with thicker lines for support (imagine making a skeleton for the snowflake: thicker lines for structure surrounded by the delicate parts for show) if you want to hang them. White or invisible thread, or fishing line, works great.

-Use your practice snowflakes to decorate gifts instead of a bow. I like taping a single snowflake to a gift, and then putting a plain gift tag on top of it. The lacy looking snowflake makes a pretty backdrop for the tag.

-Save the end scraps of paper from when you cut the original sheet of paper into a square. Use these little pieces to make tiny simple snowflakes that you can place around your larger snowflakes when decorating. This makes a "sprinkle" effect that looks wonderful, and you can fill more space without using up all your larger snowflakes. I didn't discover this idea until after the picture above was taken.

Step 10: Analyzing a Snowflake

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If you do want to try and copy a snowflake that you see, or at least get an idea of how to make one similar, try to visualize the slice of the snowflake that represents the completely folded paper. This is one slice out of twelve symmetrical slices. It will be a line that cuts through the middle of one point, and intersects with a line cut though the middle of the "valley" between it and the adjacent point. If it makes it easier, pretend that the snowflake is a clock and the lines you're imagining are the hands when it's one o'clock. See picture.

This slice of the snowflake shows what your cuts should look like if you want a snowflake that looks like this. It may be easier to visualize if you look at the black (cut out) spaces and think about those shapes being cut away. This is how you can make a "template", in a way, based on snowflakes that you see.

Step 11: Replicating a Real Snowflake

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From time to time I try and copy a real snowflake that I see in a book or online. It's impossible to copy an actual snow crystal exactly because they're simply too intricate, they're 3-D, and some parts of the snowflake are attached with a layer of ice so thin that it looks invisible.....if you tried to copy one exactly, it would fall apart. However, you can still try to mimic the form of a real snowflake.

Real snowflakes often have large areas of "blank space" that don't look very good when rendered in paper. A flip through a snowflake photography book shows that quite a few snowflakes form as just a simple hexagon with few details. If the snowflake you're copying has a lot of blank space, embellish it anyway. Since it can't be an exact replica, it might as well be pretty!

Basically, just use the technique from step 10. Imagine the how a real snowflake would look if it were a slice of a pie. Think of the clock hands at 1 o'clock.

Above are two examples of snowflakes that I've tried to replicate. I've added a second view of each with the "slice" highlighted.
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KatrinaC27 hours ago

my snowflake came out in a reactangle shape

ReadsInTrees (author)  KatrinaC23 hours ago
Give it another go, and try to follow the steps very carefully so that you don't miss any folds.

I love making snowflakes and this is the best way!!! (I would put a picture but I've got an old iPad so I can't take pics) :(

JaNieceWyesterday

Very easy seemed as if it would be hard bu turns out to be fine! i made it i just did not have a photo

MattN3 made it!2 days ago

here's what I made

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ReadsInTrees (author)  MattN3yesterday

Hmm, looks like you skipped a few steps of my tutorial. :)

MattN3 made it!2 days ago

here's what I made

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kaylah119 days ago

hellllppppp!!!! at number 6 step i end up cutting the snowflake in half! what am i doing wrong?????

nwaordu kaylah117 days ago

did you figure out what you was doing wrong because i'm in your boat

I was doing the same thing. Turns out I was folding it one too many times.
ReadsInTrees (author)  kaylah119 days ago
You may be cutting too low? This is a step where you do chop off a big chunk, but only the top. If you folded correctly to this point, you'll see that the top of the snowflake has those two paper corners making a V shape at the top. You'll be cutting those off. We need to even out the layers of folds so that everything is symmetrical, and by making the cut at an angle, that makes the final points of the snowflake.

Thank you very much for the step by step directions, they are easy to follow. The only trouble I had at first was figuring out which side you should cut off once you have it folded in thirds. I had to try it twice, but once I figured it out, it made really awesome snowflakes. I'm going to making snowflakes this afternoon for Christmas decorations with my 7 year old, which will be a blast. Thank you again! :) Happy Holidays!!!

loomergirl5 days ago

THANKS SO MUCH! I am making a lot of snowflakes for Christmas decor. Thx!

DanaA16 days ago

Thank you! Your steps and pictures were easy to follow.

I'm sorry to bother you, but did you get the first 6 steps from making a star? I was just wondering because I have been doing those steps for over 10 years to make perfect 6 point stars like the star of David.

ReadsInTrees (author)  genny.ward.798 days ago
Well, since a snowflake has six points, you'd use the same steps to make a star of David. I didn't "get" them from there when I figured out these folds 15+ years ago in high school. I just worked it out after realizing that folding in half again and again would only make multiples of 4 points (4, 8, 12). So yes, if you know how to make a 6-pointed star, then it's just the same folds.

Before I retired, I had access to an awesome computer drafting program. I wrote a macro to draw snowflakes by drawing the first 30 degree segment freehand, then using mirror, rotate, and copy commands to complete each intricate design.

Your instructions were so helpful, i am now obsessed with making these!! Thank you sooo much ;)

ReadsInTrees (author)  susan.vukici10 days ago

I'm glad you're having fun!

nroybal made it!13 days ago

Great directions and addictive on a rainy/soggy day! Here are my first six.

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ReadsInTrees (author)  nroybal10 days ago

Nicely done!

Papel y lapíz made it!10 days ago

Yay!

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LirikKS11 days ago

It's not so easy as it looks on first sight, but it is wonderful!

Your instructions were so helpful, I am now obsessed with making these!! thank you so much ;)

ajones12713 days ago
it's good to see someone else who knows that snow flakes don't have 8 sides... Join the movement for anatomically correct snowflakes!
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3of513 days ago
You made my thinker hurt reading all the copying instructions, sure helps alot. Thanks!
gabsmith45 made it!14 days ago

Ta Da!

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gabsmith4514 days ago

This is amazing! I LOVE how they all turn out different!

Thank you so much. You have done such a tremendous job on this tutorial. What a treasure!

THIS goes out to my on-line "grand-daughter" and Princess, Emerald!!! She loves Frozen and she is super smart and pretty.

nwaordu17 days ago

ok wen i open up before cutting out shapes i got 4 semi circles back to back

i dont understand

ReadsInTrees (author)  sarah.mawson.16517 days ago

If you could be more specific about which part you don't understand, I might be able to help.

IraP19 days ago

I did it today!

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ReadsInTrees (author)  IraP18 days ago
Nice!
IraP19 days ago

Thank you very much for the clear and communicative instructions! For the first time it worked for me!

Great intructable! Thanks

Cicharisse22 days ago

Amazing! I did it. Thank you. Can't wait to share with my sons.

AngelinexA23 days ago

Wow, these instructions are great. I am a very clumsy person, but I still managed to do this..

ReadsInTrees (author)  AngelinexA22 days ago
I'm glad that my instructions were helpful!
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