This instructable will show you the fine art of Paper Snow Flake making. Now, these ain't your mama's paper snow flakes, these are intricate, themed creations.

I have been making these delicate decorations now for over ten years. I was originally taught how to make them by a very good friend of mine, Glenn Tong. My first encounter with them were by Glenn using them as decorations at a Christmas party my family used to attend every year. I can remember as a small child looking up in wonder of his marvelous creations: dancing pigs, the Eiffel tower, and lobsters. Since he has taught me making them has sort of become a tradition. Some designs come back every year, others last only once. Either way, each one is the continuation of a a tradition, and has sacred happy memories attached.

Each of the snow flakes shown below will be detailed in the examples section

I've created a flickr group for you to showcase the snowflakes you've made. The group is called 'The Great Paper Snowflake Group', its URL is http://www.flickr.com/groups/928430@N20/

Can't wait to see what you've made!

Paso 1: Materials Needed

As impressive as these snow flakes can look (I use the word can because I have made some pretty awful and ugly ones) they do not require and special materials, tools, or skills. Only a simple folding method, which will be detailed in a moment.

Tools:
A Writing Utensil
Good Scissors

Materials:
A Piece of Paper (see below)

Attributes:
Patience
Creativity

A note on paper: In all the years I have been making these snow flakes my paper of choice has always been everyday printer paper. It is pretty strong, has a great color for snow flakes (white!) and is cheap and easy to find. I've tried other papers, but always come back to the old stand by.
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ahamedaashif
ahamedaashif dice: Ene 27, 2014. 3:40 AM
nice one
urbanwoodswalker
urbanwoodswalker dice: Dic 11, 2013. 10:09 PM
I found that using a spray starch on whie coffee filters works best. Iron the filters dry and crisp before you fold them. You can also iron the folds in for extremely detailed designs.....but you will need to iron them out after the flake is cut. This is the way I have created public holiday displays... With hundreds of paper snowflakes hanging from the ceiling.
urbanwoodswalker
urbanwoodswalker dice: Dic 11, 2013. 10:03 PM
You will have a 100 times easier job with spring action type micro point scissors. I use Fiskars...the micro sharp small tip gets the tiny intricacies and the spring action cuts down on hand fatigue. The difference in final product will be tremendous.

Try it! You will never go back to old scissors when cutting out complicated snow flakes.
ElZorro
ElZorro dice: Feb 12, 2012. 10:16 AM
This is my favorite!

Nice early pope's nose!
chekiert
chekiert dice: Nov 22, 2011. 12:34 PM
Love these!!! Just did a couple of them up and I think my Girl Scouts will be able to make some awesome ones. Can't wait to show them....
MinMo
MinMo dice: Nov 15, 2011. 9:03 PM
Those are gorgeous! It's hard to believe it's just paper cut with scissors, they're so beautiful. I'm going to try it out right now.
flakemaker
flakemaker dice: Feb 4, 2011. 3:49 PM
Okay, I am totally into this now. Thank you so much. I didn't make any of your designs, but not because I don't like them (I do). It was mainly because I didn't feel like copying them out and I wanted to do my own thing. At first I did some simple letters and words, and then I moved on to more complex letters - I wrote "Valentine's Day" on one (inspired by my friend's goal to make valentines for her friends) and it came out really well - I'm really proud of it. Then I moved on to pictures - I did one with leafy vines and hearts which came out looking like a doily - very cool! Then, last but not least (and I'm not done yet) I made one with a cat batting at a flower. Since I can't draw cats to save my life I traced it, but the cutting was still cool even though I can't take credit for the drawing.

One question - Do you always use scissors? One big problem that I ran into was not being able to close spaces because there was no way to get in with the scissors to get out the middle (big problem with making letters...). How do you get around this? I'll post pictures soon.
seoer2010
seoer2010 dice: Oct 12, 2010. 12:24 AM
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instantphoebe
instantphoebe dice: Ene 4, 2010. 7:27 PM
 This was not only a cool project but you did a good job of explaining it!
evesangel
evesangel dice: Dic 23, 2009. 9:12 PM
ok this is totally cool, this is day two of snowflake search and i bumped up on this site, SWEEET! I made joy and it was noticable when i pointed it out. Yay for me big accomplishment. Totally excited about this site and great instructions.
sheepborg
sheepborg dice: Dic 23, 2009. 9:19 AM
Ok, master plan:
it is the 23rd
i am going to make six
and put them on a board
and they will each have one word
and it will end out saying
"mom brings joy to the world"
now to get to work
fortunatly i have already made a bunch of my own
so i am in practice
sweetandsassy1359
sweetandsassy1359 dice: Dic 22, 2009. 6:42 PM
what does it say pointing to the bottom?
bFusion
bFusion dice: May 24, 2010. 1:30 PM
Center.
scoochmaroo
scoochmaroo dice: Dic 21, 2009. 9:20 AM
These are amazing.
I would give them 6 stars if I could.
CYNICALifornia
CYNICALifornia dice: Dic 21, 2009. 11:01 AM
Too kind. Glad you enjoyed it.
RedRaspus
RedRaspus dice: Dic 16, 2009. 10:11 PM
 For more an paper snowflakes, visit http://athousandsnowflakes.com -- I made a thousand four-point style snowflakes based on this Instructable...
CYNICALifornia
CYNICALifornia dice: Dic 21, 2009. 11:03 AM
Your project looks way fun. I am sincerly humbled to be have been able to help in some way. Thanks so much to the link on your blog.

Merry Christmas.
~Tom
Chromatica
Chromatica dice: Dic 5, 2009. 5:39 PM
Too awesome
Faved for sure
Ministryofhate
Ministryofhate dice: Dic 5, 2009. 12:50 PM
Woah ... i remember this enstructable almost getting me fired.... i made some pretty snowflakes though...

I'm pretty sure someone started a flickr group
Kenta-Rin
Kenta-Rin dice: Dic 4, 2009. 9:17 PM

I made SEVEN. :D

Thank you so much for this!

I am going to make a ton for my family and my English Class. :D

eulaliaaaa%21
eulaliaaaa%21 dice: Nov 27, 2009. 10:53 AM
I know I commented on this before, but awesome job!  I made Death, and my own version of Bug.  Bug is not as good as yours, but it at least turned out.  I made a few of my own, too.  I will post some pictures if you like.
CYNICALifornia
CYNICALifornia dice: Dic 3, 2009. 10:48 AM
No worries, I don't think anyone will complain about comments (I know I'm greatful for the feed back). And I'd absolutely like to see your snowflakes.
eulaliaaaa%21
eulaliaaaa%21 dice: Dic 9, 2009. 11:44 AM
Okay, I just need to get the pictures uploaded.
BluStrawberryBaby
BluStrawberryBaby dice: Nov 23, 2009. 7:50 PM
Mine is messed up :( I need start all over.... but its pretty cool ;D
Dovetail
Dovetail dice: Nov 20, 2009. 10:58 AM
Yay! After 4 snowflakes I finally managed to not cut mine in half! Epic. I'm so glad I stumbled on this tutorial. My boss is going to hate me at the end of the day though when the office is covered in snow flakes 
CYNICALifornia
CYNICALifornia dice: Dic 3, 2009. 10:51 AM
The trick there is to make one with you boss's name in it and give it to them. I usually don't get bugged after that for my art projects at work. :)
CYNICALifornia
CYNICALifornia dice: Nov 8, 2009. 5:54 PM
I wanted to say Thank You! to everyone who has checked out, commented on, or rated this instructable. You all are fabulous. Please forgive my lack of replies as I have been very busy and at times without an internet connection.

Again, thank you.
Toni_J
Toni_J dice: Nov 8, 2009. 8:39 AM
Hi! These are great! Last christmas I did Love, Death and Joy.

Have you got any new examples for this christmas :)
CYNICALifornia
CYNICALifornia dice: Nov 8, 2009. 5:56 PM
I have yet to start my snowflakes this year, but am excited we're finally at this time of year.

I'll try to post my new flakes to the flickr group which you can get to by clicking: www.flickr.com/groups/928430@N20/

Also, PLEASE post your own snowflakes too!
kawaiipeach
kawaiipeach dice: Nov 8, 2009. 5:58 AM
i love your designs!!!! Thanks for the steps about how to fold the paper, I've always tried but failed! :) 
eulaliaaaa%21
eulaliaaaa%21 dice: Nov 2, 2009. 3:59 PM
Yeah, But looking back, it's SCYTHE not SCATHE.
CYNICALifornia
CYNICALifornia dice: Nov 8, 2009. 5:58 PM
I am much more adept at scissors then spelling. :)
eulaliaaaa%21
eulaliaaaa%21 dice: Nov 2, 2009. 3:57 PM
WWWWWWOOOOOAH!
bootilicious
bootilicious dice: Sep 16, 2009. 10:16 AM
hi there ummm i have a quick qustion for u... im doing a project in school and i need to know some info on paper snowflake makeing and i cant seem to find it i need to know who started the hole paper snowflake thing and how they got the idea if u can message or comment me back letting me know if u can help me out i would apresheat it plz and thank you... have a good day
CHOCLatier07
CHOCLatier07 dice: Jul 14, 2009. 6:08 PM
I think the fish looks really cool!
CHOCLatier07
CHOCLatier07 dice: Jul 14, 2009. 6 PM
So, basically, you fold the paper twice, so that it's like a smaller version of the original paper, and then you fold it as if you were making a square out of it?
enza99
enza99 dice: Ene 10, 2009. 6:20 PM
just want to comment make sure u have good spacing on the E... it is very hard with the outline i drew... and on that heart inside the O... i cut that just a little too far and then the entire snowflake split into four... but it was only my first try at least now i kno to do more spacing on the design... it seemed easier in my head but... its folded four times and cutting is thick and then u have so much pressure and go to far at times
CYNICALifornia
CYNICALifornia dice: Nov 8, 2009. 5:59 PM
Yes, the paper gets very thick.

If you could only see how many failed snow flake I produced . . . monuments to learning.
enza99
enza99 dice: Ene 10, 2009. 5:48 PM
wow very thing before the unfolding... im glad u said to make sure to unfold carefully... very nice turn out i like this one the most =D
enza99
enza99 dice: Ene 10, 2009. 5:46 PM
WOAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH thats amazing i didnt c that in there at all great job (probably because it was somewhat small in the picture at first but that really amazed me)
Flumpkins
Flumpkins dice: Ene 2, 2009. 3:22 PM
WOW!! This is so awesome I'm 5*ing it and FAVing it!~

Another reason Is because I wanna come back to it... My paper holding hand might be fractured :S
bootilicious
bootilicious dice: Sep 16, 2009. 10:19 AM
hi there i have a qustion for u... im doing a project at school with paper snowflakes and i need to know some info for it do u by any chance know who started the hole paper snow flake makeing and how they came up with it if u could comment me back or message me and let me know if u could help me i would apresheat that have a wonderful day thank you
Flumpkins
Flumpkins dice: Sep 16, 2009. 1 PM
I'm not sure...
glynrd
glynrd dice: Dic 23, 2008. 10:52 AM
If you haven't been to the flickr link above, I think you should if you want some fantastic ideas. No two snowflakes are alike.
kdors53
kdors53 dice: Dic 22, 2008. 9:58 AM
that looks great!
cH%5BarMed%5D
cH%5BarMed%5D dice: Dic 18, 2008. 11:57 PM
I'm going to make a snowflake tomorrow :) Yay for winter and snow!!
coolboy45
coolboy45 dice: Dic 17, 2008. 6:54 PM
This was a great Instructable thanks for sharing this
coolboy45
coolboy45 dice: Dic 17, 2008. 6:52 PM
this is really cool looking
coolboy45
coolboy45 dice: Dic 17, 2008. 6:51 PM
I finally made one after like 5 trys but you can't tell it says joy:( oh well it looks really cool though
coolboy45
coolboy45 dice: Dic 17, 2008. 3:59 PM
what is the mirrored edge for and how do you make it?
kawaiipeach
kawaiipeach dice: Nov 8, 2009. 5:54 AM
it means that when you unfold the paper, you will have the same design on both sides of the mirror edge. You don't have to do anything more for the mirror edge, just follow step 2.
CYNICALifornia
CYNICALifornia dice: Nov 8, 2009. 5:57 PM
Good lookin' out Kawaiipeach. Thanks for answering the question in my absence.

Also note that designs on the other side of the mirrored edge will be reversed, as though viewed in a mirror.
coolboy45
coolboy45 dice: Dic 17, 2008. 12:16 PM
yeah not confusing at all
MorganCrane
MorganCrane dice: Dic 11, 2008. 1:57 PM
You do a very good job explaining how to fold the paper. :)
ciaran54
ciaran54 dice: Dic 7, 2008. 12:04 PM
Cool, Me and my younger brother and sister got a wad of paper and scissors, made a big mess and some funky snowflakes. thanks!
xmascarol
xmascarol dice: Dic 6, 2008. 10:42 AM
very lovely. I've also been making snowflakes for years. Used to work with my classes during school lunch break if any kids wanted to really get into the cutting. My third step was to fold it into 3rds then for a 6 sided one. I learned that from a great book published by a doctor in Ann Arbor who evidently used to cut out flakes in his spare time. He had been encouraged to to publish a couple of little books of his designs that they sold at the U of M student union store. Lets hope we all get into "schneerenschnit" (sp?)
ssuasw
ssuasw dice: Dic 6, 2008. 3:53 AM
Been making those since i was a kid . Though your designs sure as heck are way more imaginative than my stereotypical snowflake ones . Bang up job on the instructable.
wibbly01
wibbly01 dice: Dic 5, 2008. 8:24 AM
I highly recommend serious paper scissors which have a "use it on paper or die" clause attached to them. My own are Wusthof and I hide them from my spouse and children. Thus, they stay sharp and at the ready. The seriously sharp points are invaluable for snowflakes and Scherenschnitt!
elopez
elopez dice: Dic 5, 2008. 2 AM
I like it a lot. thanks. I copied your designs. thank you for not making me think after a very hot day. I can't wait to put them up on our lounge room wall.
Jobee
Jobee dice: Dic 4, 2008. 10 PM
I would ask that people include pictures of their designs unfolded as well. Thus, everyone can learn from them. Great 'ible!
Mekkie+Boy
Mekkie+Boy dice: Dic 4, 2008. 7:53 PM
This is awesome! Thanks much! I think my girlfriend thinks I don't like Christmas, so I think a few of these should fix that.
radiobath
radiobath dice: Dic 4, 2008. 4:35 PM
Awesome instructable! I never knew how to do paper snowflakes. I felt like the biggest loser in 2nd grade when my snowflakes kept coming out as bits of paper. :( And now, I have the perfect gift for the boyfriend for Christmas!
writerlady
writerlady dice: Dic 4, 2008. 4:08 PM
Rah! I'm going to make two bug ones - one for the '73 beetle, and one for the '68 beetle (my baby and daily driver!)
MorganCrane
MorganCrane dice: Dic 4, 2008. 1:51 PM
Very cute. Just made one for my first time and it took maybe 15 minutes! A perfect lunch hour craft! ;)
Syncopator
Syncopator dice: Dic 4, 2008. 12:32 PM
Didn't anyone tell you, or haven't you noticed, that snowflakes are hexagonal?
richdoe
richdoe dice: Dic 4, 2008. 12:52 PM
That's kind of cynical. and not that nice. But none the less, a very good point.
DesignerUserName
DesignerUserName dice: Dic 4, 2008. 2:19 PM
Did anyone tell you that paper snowflakes are a holiday pasttime and not a science project?
nerdnurture
nerdnurture dice: Dic 4, 2008. 2:34 PM
I agree that you should make the snowflakes however you want, as a holiday craft. And I agree that they look even cooler with the hexagonal shape. Here's how I do mine - cut out a perfect cirle using a protractor or coffee can or something. Fold the circle in half, and then in thirds, sort of, but using the point as the vertex, so that you divide the circle into 6 wedges. Then I use those curvy scissors and cut as much as I can away, without letting it fall apart. They turn out GREAT!
irishwhistle
irishwhistle dice: Dic 5, 2008. 11:33 AM
You don't even have to have a perfect circle to start, or even a perfect anything provided you make sure you cut below the edges of all layers. I fold mine as you say, in to 6ths, then once more in half (the paper can't be too tiny or thick) so that whatever I cut will form 6 identical panels like a real snowflake. Then I just chop off whatever is uneven at the end and cut the snowflake. I found I always had uneven ends with circles anyway, and this is faster. You can tell I'm a little tetchy about my snowflakes... sadly, the kids shred 'em anyway.
CYNICALifornia
CYNICALifornia dice: Dic 4, 2008. 2:38 PM
Yepp, but then again I've never seen a snowflake that said 'Love', or someone's name. But I see your point, though, I'll probably chalk this one up to artistic license.
Oscelot
Oscelot dice: Dic 4, 2008. 3:09 PM
Does it really matter that much? Either way they're pretty.
tom0112358
tom0112358 dice: Dic 4, 2008. 3:24 PM
I agree with richdoe, you could be a little less abrasive and a little more constructive. To make the snowflake hexagonal all you need to do is to change the second and third folds. After the first hamburger fold you must mark a centre point and fold the paper at 120° rather than 90°. This is roughly where the line of the first fold points towards the corner of the paper, if you use a protractor it is easy enough to make a template. Then continue the final fold in the opposite direction to achieve a wedge-shaped piece.
glynrd
glynrd dice: Dic 4, 2008. 6:45 AM
This is great!! I'm almost embarrassed to say I spent a couple of hours doing this last night.
Hiroak
Hiroak dice: Dic 2, 2008. 11:22 AM
This is great and could just be the thing that wins me the Cubical Decorating Contest here at work, well this and the cube sabotage I’m planning. Mmmmmuuuuuuhhhhahahahahaha
jeffconnelly
jeffconnelly dice: Dic 1, 2008. 7:53 PM
I don't have one, but has anyone tried a laser cutter?
Ministryofhate
Ministryofhate dice: Dic 2, 2008. 9:54 AM
lol nothing like sitting around the laser cutter with a warm cup of hot chocolate .. I wish i had one... i have some awesome ideas that don't seem to be able to be cut by hand. Though by hand is much more old timey romantic.
Ministryofhate
Ministryofhate dice: Dic 1, 2008. 9:07 AM
heck yes! i dont have much time so it's simple but awesome but here ya go.
Ministryofhate
Ministryofhate dice: Dic 3, 2008. 9:33 AM
learning this is going to get me fired....
Sana
Sana dice: Nov 30, 2008. 8:59 PM
This is such a simple way to make paper snowflakes that I just wouldn't have thought of it. You can really make some intricate designs with it too. I just finished my first one (an octopus design) and it looks NIFTY. With the thinner segments, the paper tends to curl, so I'm flattening it in a book as we speak. Thanks so much for my new favorite time waster. <3
Oscelot
Oscelot dice: Dic 6, 2008. 1:59 AM
I would love to see a picture of your octopus. _ (Marine Biology nerds FTW)
Stew2
Stew2 dice: Nov 30, 2008. 6:40 AM
Awesome instructible, I am so going to do these with my son! :) Plus, I think you did an excellent job describing how to fold the paper, it would be a very difficult thing to explain. Thank you :)
adamazing
adamazing dice: Nov 27, 2008. 2:45 PM
I noticed you used scissors for the eyes of the seahorses. You could probably use a hole-punch to get a cleaner cut maybe? Truly inspirational 'structable, definitely far better than any snowflake I've ever made!
CYNICALifornia
CYNICALifornia dice: Nov 27, 2008. 4:27 PM
That's a great idea, but I destroyed a few hole punches in my day trying to punch through too many layers of paper. Plus, I think there is almost something romantic about creating something with as few tools as possible. Thanks for the comments!
icebird
icebird dice: Nov 25, 2008. 6:59 AM
Great job on this and thank you! I used to make these as a kid around Christmastime, but had forgotten all about it. They are an easy and fun decoration to play around with for anyone able to safely maneuver scissors.
brindap
brindap dice: Nov 25, 2008. 1:50 AM
Your snowflake are artistic,yet delicate. They make one wonder and think to me that is what art is about. Hint: if you can't draw use carbon paper and trace your design. remember that no two snowflakes are alike. I do this in all sizes of paper. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to ALL !!!
MatrixPhreak
MatrixPhreak dice: Nov 24, 2008. 7:53 PM
And now... NOW I MUST USE THE NEW-FOUND POWER OF SNOWFLAKE MAKING TO COMPLETE MY SNOW SUMMONING RITUAL! BWAHAHAHAHAHA Ahem... which is to say, I haven't done this in ages! We used to make them in, like, 2nd grade as an activity when the weather got so cold but it just wouldn't snow (like it's been in CT lately). Thank you very much for making me want to do these again!
ChrysN
ChrysN dice: Nov 24, 2008. 6:58 PM
Wow, those are really great designs! I love the seahorses.
ehensel1
ehensel1 dice: Nov 24, 2008. 5:39 PM
That is awesome! I'm wondering if an xacto knife would help with the really intricate stuff? I'm going to try one this weekend, and try to post the results!
Oscelot
Oscelot dice: Dic 6, 2008. 2:01 AM
be sure you have a sharp new blade on there or it will rip instead of cut. I learned that the hard way. >.<
nimosa
nimosa dice: Nov 24, 2008. 4:10 PM
great instructable!!
CYNICALifornia
CYNICALifornia dice: Nov 24, 2008. 4:12 PM
Thank you very much, I am glad you liked it!
thingy
thingy dice: Nov 24, 2008. 3:22 PM
Very creative. My fingers are sore from snipping.
dombeef
dombeef dice: Nov 24, 2008. 3:18 PM
COOL!
foobear
foobear dice: Nov 24, 2008. 12:27 PM
incredible! wow