Introduction: Six Sided Paper Snowflakes

Picture of Six Sided Paper Snowflakes

Introduction
Because of the hexagonal qualities of ice crystals, snowflakes in nature form six sided symmetrical crystals. However, many people incorrectly create eight sided paper snowflakes for decorations. These instructions will help you create naturally correct six sided paper snowflakes to use for decorations during the winter season.

Supplies
Scissors
8 ½” by 11” Paper (white paper works best, but any color may be used)
Pencil or Pen (optional)
Other cutting utensils such as hole punch and exacto knife (optional)

Step 1: Orient

Orient the paper so that the 8 1/2” side is towards you.  The paper should be flat on the table.

Step 2: Fold in Half

Picture of Fold in Half

Fold the paper in half by bringing the bottom edge upward and aligning it with the top edge, as shown in the picture.  Crease.

Step 3: Turn

Turn the paper so that the fold is toward you.

Step 4: Fold a Reference Point

Picture of Fold a Reference Point

Gently fold the paper in half, perpendicular to the first fold, creasing only 0.5 cm - 1cm (about the width of your little finger), to mark the center of the paper.

(The crease should not extend the entire length of the page.  This fold is a reference point for following steps.)

Step 5: Lay Paper Flat

Picture of Lay Paper Flat

Allow paper to lay flat on the table, with the folded edge oriented towards you.

(Paper should still be folded in half one time.)

Step 6: Fold One Third

Picture of Fold One Third

Using the center mark as the pivot point, rotate one half of the bottom edge and fold a third of the paper at a 60 degree angle in a triangular shape. Your paper should look like the paper in the image.

(This will take some estimation.  If necessary, adjust the angle and re-crease the fold.)

Step 7: Fold Another Third

Picture of Fold Another Third

Fold the second side over in a similar fashion.  This will give you a wedge shaped paper, and should look similar to the one in the image.

Step 8: Turn Over

Turn the paper over.

Step 9: Fold in Half

Picture of Fold in Half

Fold the wedge in half by bringing the slanted sides together, and crease.

Step 10: Remove the Top

Picture of Remove the Top

Cut along the straight edge, illustrated in the picture.  This cut will give you a hexagonal shape.

Step 11: Design and Cut

Picture of Design and Cut

Draw a design and cut it, or free cut the snowflake.  Make sure you do not completely cut through the folded edge, as this will cut your snowflake in half.

Step 12: Unfold

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Unfold and admire your structurally accurate snowflake.

Step 13: Conclusion

Congratulations! You’ve created a six sided paper snowflake. We've found the best way to display these snowflakes is to use scotch tape to stick them to a window, or white thread to hang them from the ceiling.

If you want to learn more about the science behind why snowflakes form the way they do, check out these websites:

http://www.thenakedscientists.com/HTML/articles/article/science-of-snowflakes/
http://www.noaa.gov/features/02_monitoring/snowflakes.html
http://chemistry.about.com/od/moleculescompounds/a/snowflake.htm
http://www.its.caltech.edu/~atomic/snowcrystals/primer/primer.htm
http://www.sciencefriday.com/video/12/31/2009/snowflake-safari.htmlhttp://geology.com/articles/snowflakes/

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