Introduction: DIY: How to Make 6-Pointed Paper Snowflakes

Picture of DIY: 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.

Be sure that you follow each step carefully. Each step is one fold, but some steps have two pictures shown to help explain things, so please read the description underneath.

Instructables.com doesn't always show all of the steps on one page, so hit "next" to go on to the next step. Steps 4-6 tend to be the trickiest, so step 6 has an extra image to hopefully help explain better for those who are having difficulty.

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: Start With a Square

Picture of Start With a Square

First, begin with a square piece of copy paper.

I have outlined the edges of my paper in blue to make it easier to follow along with the steps. As I fold, I keep the paper in place, so you shouldn't need to rotate or flip over the paper to follow along (unless otherwise stated). Just fold it exactly as it shows.

(TO MAKE A SQUARE: You can make a square from a rectangular piece of paper simply by folding one corner down to form an isosceles triangle and trimming off the excess paper. See second picture.)

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.

Step 2: Fold in Half Diagonally.

Picture of Fold in Half Diagonally.

Fold the square of paper diagonally to make a triangle.

(Note that I have marked the center of the paper square with a yellow star, as well as outlines of what the paper looked like before it was folded. This is just to help make a reference point for following along.)

Step 3: Fold in Half Again.

Picture of Fold in Half Again.

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

Step 4: Fold One Third.

Picture of Fold One Third.

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

Step 5: Fold Again.

Picture of Fold Again.

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: Cut the "top" Off at an Angle.

Picture of Cut the "top" Off at an Angle.

Flip your folded paper over so that you're looking at the back. Then, 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. As you can see, I'm basically cutting off all of those excess blue edges.

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.

BONUS: The extra image shown in this step is from a worksheet I made for a class, which just re-explains steps 4-6 for those who may have a harder time visualizing the "fold in thirds" part. If you've already got the hang of it, just ignore the second picture and continue on to step 7.

Step 7: Shape It!

Picture of Shape It!

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.

Be careful not to cut all the way from one side to the other, or else you'll chop your snowflake in half!

In this particular snowflake, I cut the top edge (that original angle that we chopped off) to make the points turn out differently, I added some spiky cuts around the middle there, and I snipped off the very bottom at an angle (which will make a star shape in the middle of the finished snowflake).


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: Unfold to Reveal!

Picture of Unfold to Reveal!

Unfold the paper very carefully.

Ta da!


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!

Picture of Tips!


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

Picture of Analyzing a Snowflake

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

Picture of Replicating a Real Snowflake

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.

Comments

AbigailB25 (author)2017-12-08

I got stuck on step 4&5. can anybody help me

delicia.ambrosino.1 (author)2017-12-08

I LOVE snowflake even in the middle of summer. I love them 24/7 365 days a year. However, I had forgotten how to make them from my days of being in school years ago {I'm 64 now}. I tried and tried and failed to make them. I've looked up how to make them over the years here and there and the instructions were more complicated than necessary or you had to sign your life away to get the instructions. These are instructions that are easily understandable. No templates or downloads needed and reminded me of the simplistic form used in school. Sort of like making one type cookie dough but get 12 different type cookies with it. Absolutely love this and you can be sure this old gal will be cutting snowflakes to her hearts content. Going to get and Exacto knife too for fine detailing too. Thanks so very much. Merry Christmas-Merry Yule-

nlopez2793 made it! (author)2017-12-08

I am very good at arts and crafts but this one was tough

nadiam57 made it! (author)2017-12-07

Didn't follow good instructions on the 1st one...came out with 8 points...then paid closer attention LOL...that was fun.

VirginiaH41 (author)2017-12-06

Great site! I was finally able to make a beautiful one. (All my others came out like angry teeth.) Thanks!

LorettaB14 (author)2017-12-05

I am hopeless at any sort of manual craft and can't follow instructions for the life of me!! However, managed to make a snowflake!! Yeah!!

Your instructions are clear and easy to follow. Thanks! Tomorrow I will try it out on four very active little girls. Wish me luck!

2023.groeloffs (author)2017-12-04

I don't know what happened

JessicaL151 (author)2016-06-09

Nailed it

jaydeechick (author)JessicaL1512016-07-10

One of the ladies at the craft class I teach has asked to do these. I'd bet my bottom dollar we'll have quite a few copies of your fine example before the day is done.

Good effort, my friend. A fine effort at a unique snowflake. :)

CHRIS11556 (author)jaydeechick2017-12-03

de jar vou

ÐeidreB (author)JessicaL1512016-11-22

I laughed way to hard at this :P

HaileyT3 (author)ÐeidreB2016-12-14

why are you so rude ????

HaileyT3 (author)JessicaL1512016-12-14

great job

JessicaL 151

jaydeechick (author)JessicaL1512016-07-10

One of the ladies at the craft class I teach has asked to do these. I'd bet my bottom dollar we'll have quite a few copies of your fine example before the day is done.

Good effort, my friend. A fine effort at a unique snowflake. :)

jaydeechick (author)JessicaL1512016-07-10

One of the ladies at the craft class I teach has asked to do these. I'd bet my bottom dollar we'll have quite a few copies of your fine example before the day is done.

Good effort, my friend. A fine effort at a unique snowflake. :)

jaydeechick (author)JessicaL1512016-07-10

One of the ladies at the craft class I teach has asked to do these. I'd bet my bottom dollar we'll have quite a few copies of your fine example before the day is done.

Good effort, my friend. A fine effort at a unique snowflake. :)

Onnie1 (author)2016-12-24

Really easy to follow, and I really love how these are six pointed for a more "realistic" feel. I made a few of varying sizes and mixed them with some glitter snowflakes I have to do my windows for the holiday!

CHRIS11556 (author)Onnie12017-12-03

looks really good.

Jaodono (author)2017-11-29

Thanks!! I'm going to read Snowflake Bentley, then teach my 4 graders how to make 6-pointed paper snowflakes. Can't wait.

americangrrl13 made it! (author)2017-11-27

5 of 20.. thye came out very pretty.. next ... glue and glitter..

americangrrl13 made it! (author)2017-11-27

5 of 20... a little tricky at first... but it does get easier... now everyone wants me to teach them..

rij4497 made it! (author)2017-11-27

It’s ok.

aver6800 (author)2017-11-25

how can you make so good snowflakes because I can not do that

PennyT25 (author)aver68002017-11-26

This is yours? I think you did a great job!

Uglemor (author)2017-11-26

This is good, easy to understand and follow along. This too made me remember weavesilk.com where you can make easy online snowflakes. I get snowflake-o-mania every winter ;)

ChemistX2 (author)2017-11-23

FYI you can get a 30/60/90 triangle anywhere they sell protractors (especially around school supply time). You may already have one if you ever took a geometry class! This makes the folding in thirds part really simple. I make snowflakes every December while my students take their finals. As they finish, I show them how. It keeps them quiet while others are working.

aver6800 (author)ChemistX22017-11-25

how do you MAKE that it is so hard that I can not do that at all because I do not get the steps to the snowflakes.So how do you do it we tried to look it up and in a book but that did not help

EmmitS (author)ChemistX22017-11-23

Chemistx2, I did that with my first few snowflakes until I learned how to get the right fold by eyeballing it.

steffelem (author)2017-11-25

This is a great instructable! I love that you show real snowflakes at the end. Thanks!

crazy gypsy made it! (author)2017-11-25

yay! as a lover of origami and dork-ness, this was an awesome instructable! very well written, great photos, and tips. the blue edge and yellow center make it super easy to follow too.

Ionut RazvanC made it! (author)2017-11-24

The first five of them!

Great instructable!

AnnePius (author)2017-11-23

These instructions are great. The precision you can get is very gratifying. In an educational environment, I think that creative older students (high school) could really get into this with precision cutting. I would recommend a lighter weight paper, if possible, because you can really fold the seams well and cut more detail. I liked the ideas of veneer sprays or laminating on darker paper. Well done!

ddorga (author)2017-11-23

Great instructions! Easy to follow! I forgot how to do these and your pictures helped alot!. Something to do with my neice when she is old enough for scissors!

EmmitS (author)2017-11-23

For a more permanent snowflake, glue your paper snowflake to a piece of dark construction paper and make a copy. Boom. You now have a scroll saw pattern. I like to cut them out of 3 mm (1/8") Baltic birch plywood and stack cut four or five at a time. You can paint them and/or apply glitter, but I like to leave them as natural color wood with a clear finish. They make great Christmas tree ornaments.

sgbotsford (author)2017-11-23

If you want to hang them, spray them with starch then iron them. This will help make them stiff. Once dried, you can spray with varnish.

Or cut out a hexagon out of coloured cardboard, and use a spray adhesive and attach the snowflake to the face. This will be more permanent.


Sandwich tracing paper and aluminum foil when folding and you can make foil ones too. Florists have foil in red, gold, and green. The tracing paper keeps the foil from binding on the edges when you cut it. They are delicate to unfold.

If you do the fold in thirds stage step earlier, you end up with 60 degrees and a 3 fold symmetry instead of 6 fold.

Dreak (author)2017-11-23

thanks a lot

grannyjones (author)2017-11-23

When I was doing computer mapping, I wrote a program to make snowflakes using our mapping software. It was so quick that our office could display dozens of CAD drawings of intricate snowflakes with a very small use of computer time. For years it was an easy, festive winter touch--until they changed our software.

DebbieH154 (author)2017-11-23

Excellent detailed instructions. Description and visuals very helpful.

thesnowtheriver (author)2017-11-23

very nice! merry xmas! thank you.!!!

csmith141 (author)2017-11-23

Great idea, thanks for sharing the how to/

Nigguh made it! (author)2017-10-29

haha diz is very easy! Txs for the post

DeniseK56 made it! (author)2017-10-26

i think i folded it right, but mine turned into kind of a rectangle. ill keep trying, im sure to get better at this. thanks for the wonderful tutorial.

CanoesT made it! (author)2017-07-16

Thank you, Brilliant and easy to follow instructions. My wife, my kids and I enjoyed making them

Scott_Mellis (author)2017-07-15

great instructions - kids love them

silm (author)2017-04-13

Great job , going to create them.

patriciaM175 made it! (author)2017-02-07

Great Instructions!

patriciaM175 (author)2017-02-07

OMG Ta Da! Is the right phrase to express the unveiling of your finished product. Thanks so much! The instructions made it super easy . I love this!

alf2beth16 (author)2017-02-05

Really easy to follow! It was great hanging them up on the ceiling and outside. The instructions couldn't be more clear and vivid. Made it!

محمد عليم (author)2017-01-18

مرحبا

AngelinaC11 (author)2016-12-22

i made it peeps

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