My mother taught me to make perfect paper snowflakes when I was a child and I'm still making them today. They are 6 sided, as in nature, and each one is totally unique. Here in the Yukon, fall weather has arrived and the snow can't be far off. It seems like the right time to share my mom's secrets!
Step 1: Cut Square of Paper and Fold Diagonally Twice
- Fold square of paper in half diagonally
- Fold in half again, pressing down hard on the inner point to form a crease and not so hard on the rest of the fold. The purpose of this fold is to locate the center point of the square.
- Open this last fold, so that once again your square is only folded in half
Step 2: Fold Square Into a Wedge and Trim Square Into a Circle
- Take your half square triangle, and press down on the center point with your index finger (the place you pressed hard on in the last step to form a crease.) With your other hand, fold in from this point towards the other side, with the goal of folding this large triangle into thirds to form a wedge, folding in so that the outer folded edge is at the one-third point. If you have a protractor, you can mark lines at the 60 and 120 degree points to show the fold lines. Don't press the fold too hard until you are satisfied that your wedge is folded into equal thirds, and ensure that the center point remains sharp.
- Flip over your wedge. You will see 2 places on each side where the paper is noticeably shorter, and you will also be able to see a place in the middle where the paper is shorter on the other side. See photo above where these points are marked.
- Trim the wedge using a slight curve, trimming off all the paper above these 3 points. This will leave you with a circle.
Step 3: Cut Out Snowflake Design
Leave the circle folded into a wedge and start cutting out your snowflake on each side of the wedge, starting from the outside and moving towards the center.
Rather than trying to draw a pattern with a pencil and then cutting on those lines, I suggest that you just start cutting the snowflake, in effect "drawing with scissors". Remember, the part you are cutting away will be gone, and the part that remains will form your snowflake.
Step 4: Unfold Snowflake and Modify If Desired
Once you unfold your wedge for the big reveal, you will have a perfect paper snowflake! If it's not perfect, you can fold it back up, and re-cut. Often just adding an extra triangular cut-out on each side is all that is needed. After you've made a couple of snowflakes you will understand how to cut them in ways that please you.
Every snowflake you make will be uniquely perfect, just as in nature.
Step 5: Tips for Making Perfect Paper Snowflakes
The photos above show 6 examples of snowflakes, before and after unfolding them.
A few tips:
- Each side of your triangular wedge, once unfolded, will form half of one of the six points of the snowflake.
- In nature, all six points of a snowflake are identical. However, I find that it makes a more interesting snowflake to cut the left side and the right side of the triangular wedge in similar, but slightly different shapes.
- Start at the point and cut towards the center.
- The center will look nice if it is open in some way - just cut across the tip to make a small hexagon opening, or cut out a V shaped piece from the center, or cut a small V from each side of the triangular wedge near the center.
- You could fold your wedge once more, and then you only have to cut one side. However, if you do this, you have to cut through 12, rather than 6 layers, which is difficult. Occasionally, just to add a detail to the center, I will fold my wedge once more after I have partially cut out most of the design.
- I usually use regular computer copy paper for my snowflakes, but you can use wrapping paper, newspaper, or anything else that isn't too thick.
- For more design ideas, look at photos of actual snowflakes on the internet.
Step 6: Flatten Your Snowflake and Enjoy!
Once flattened, (iron on low setting or place under a book) your perfect paper snowflake can be used as a table decoration, taped onto windows or glass panels in doors, used instead of a bow in gift wrapping, glued onto gift bags, used to create cards, etc.
The possibilities are infinite, just like the number of perfect snowflakes!