Introduction: Wooden Snowflake Christmas Tree Ornaments

Picture of Wooden Snowflake Christmas Tree Ornaments

I know. I am a little behind the times. With ten days till christmas I make snowflakes. In truth, it is the first time I have thought about what to get all the relatives... my bad.

So, lets hope they dont come across this instructable, otherwise my pressies will be sprung!

For this batch, I found a really good deal on wood. My Woodcraft order came in three days! And that was standard shipping. Which is good to know, if you are like me and have only now thought about present hunting.

I made these at Techshop!

Step 1: Ingredients

  • Any type of wood that can be laser cut - I used thicknesses of 1/8th'.
  • Experiment with different types of woods I used maple, Tasmanian Black wood, Cherry, Walnut, Mohogony and Ash.
  • Trotek Laser Cutter
  • Illustrator
  • reference images

I went with planks of 3' x 24'. That gave me 7 snowflakes per plank. As it just happens, I have a snowflake book I bought years and years ago, full of huge pics of snowflakes;

Step 2: Line Up Your Reference Image

Picture of Line Up Your Reference Image

Under the microscope, real snowflakes are amazingly intricate. And as you can see from the reference images I used, are quite varied. The book is;

The Art of Snowflakes by Kenneth Libbrecht

It shows microphotographic captures of real snowflakes in incredible detail. He calls them "the simple act of freezing turns formless water into vapor into spectacular crystalline ice sculptures".

Create a new Illustrator doc (RGB color mode, of course). and set the stroke to 0.01 inches thick (for laser cutting) and color to 255, 0 0.

Drag your reference image onto the artboard and in the Layers pallete, rename the layer "reference". Scale the image to fit, bring its Opacity down to around 50% and lock the layer. Lock datt Thang.


Step 3: Tracing

Picture of Tracing

Create a new layer above the first and start tracing half of one of the pointy crystal thingies. Don't worry about being too accurate - will will use the align tools for that. Make sure you only trace half, since we can easily mirror our work in the next step.

Step 4: Mirroring

Picture of Mirroring

the idea is to make lots of little traces, all separately, mirror them, then join everything together.

Once you have finished, rotate the trace so it is vertical. This is where you can make slight changes to individual points. You can also perfectly align points (selecting them using the hotkey a) by using the Align tools (Align window).

Next, select the whole trace (hotkey; v), copy it and then paste in position (Command Shift v) and under the Object menu, choose Transform/Reflect. Make sure you check the Preview on so you can see the result before committing, and click the Copy button.

Step 5: Joining Each Part

Picture of Joining Each Part

once you have created the various pieces its time to join them up. bring the separate pieces where you want them to be in relation to each other, then use the align tools to snap points together. Note, I always like to swap the fill/stroke at this point, so I can see the whole shape easier.

Then Unite the pieces into one, via the Pathfinder palette, using the Shape Modes - Unite.

From here, you can use the Reflect & Rotate tools to copy each growing piece to create the symmetrical whole.

Step 6: Burn Datt Thang

Picture of  Burn Datt Thang

Once you are happy with the layout, its time to cut it. I did a test on cardboard, to make sure all is well before moving onto my precious wood.

Then onto the walnut. You will notice I forgot one crucial bit in the design. The hole to attached it to the tree.....

I'll do that when I'm in Techshop ;-)

I got carried away, so have too many hahaha. so i'm selling a few extra on Etsy!

Comments

OrganicMum (author)2015-12-09

This may have been an easier instructable for those without Illustrator, the software experience and the patience needed to to trace by uploading the snowflake image(s) you already traced.

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