Homemade for the Holidays: Origami Snowflakes

Christmas is the most wonderful time of year, with the most beautiful decorations. So what better way is there to get into the Christmas spirit than to make your own decorations? Just imagine it: the pride you will feel, and even the memories you will make after making your home look like a winter wonderland. I learned this origami project in seventh grade, and have made the snowflakes for many occasions through the years. Decorating my home and even my high school with these snowflakes, I have found it to be a low cost, easy way to decorate and get into the Christmas spirit. Especially for college students like myself, this inexpensive, stress-relieving, beautiful, fun origami activity can be a game changer.

This project will take approximately 30 minutes to 2 hours to make one origami snowflake, depending on your experience in origami.

Step 1: Materials

6 pieces of 8.5 x 11 paper

Glue- either a glue stick or elmer's-glue-all

Scissors

Optional:

Single hole punch

Ribbon

Paint

Paintbrush

Before we begin I would like to define a few key terms that will be used in this tutorial:

Fold (noun): folded and then left closed

Crease: folded and then opened, for the purpose of making future folds easier

Edge: the four sides of the paper, will be referred to as left/right/top/bottom

I would also like to give some general origami advice:

When making the folds and creases defined above, make sure to firmly crease the paper for the project to turn out best.

Step 2: Cut Paper Into a Square

To begin the project, take one of the corners of your 8.5 x 11 paper and fold until it reaches the other side of the paper. Cut off the unfolded part of the paper. Once the extra part of the paper is cut off, you are left with a square, 8.5 x 8.5 paper perfect for getting started with your basic creases.

Step 3: Basic Creases

Once your paper is cut into a square, you can begin making the basic creases. By making the paper into a square, you already have one diagonal crease.

Take one of the corners that crease touches and fold it to the opposite corner. Unfold.

Take each edge and fold it to the opposite side. Unfold.

You now should have 4 creases: 2 diagonal, 1 vertical, and 1 horizontal.

Step 4: Double Door Folds

Next, fold the left and right edges into the center. Leave the folds closed.

The paper now should look like a double door.

Step 5: Intermediate Creases

With your double door, you are then going to take the bottom edge, and with help from the diagonal creases you made during the basic creases step, fold it up and to the left, unfold it, and then repeat the process to the right.

Step 6: Boat Folds

With these new creases, take the top and bottom edges of your paper, pull out the corners, and push down along the bottom and top creases you just made in the last step so the paper now looks like a boat. This process is done to both the top and the bottom edges of the paper, so what you do to the bottom, repeat on the top. Keep these folds closed.

Step 7: Corner Folds

Next, turn the paper so that it is now vertical. With each of your four corners, fold the bottom ones up and over to the left and then right. Once the bottom is folded up, take the top corners, and fold them down to the left and to the right.

Step 8: The Smushing: Part 1

With each of the four corners you just folded the paper into, open and push down so that the paper is composed of 4 squares. The squares should be even, so make sure that each square does not go beyond the paper below it or is crooked.

Step 9: Corners to Center

Once you make the squares, then each square that you folded should be made up of two triangles.

On the right and left side of each triangle, fold the corner into the center of each square. There should now be two folded triangles on each square, with a triangle above the two.

This is 8 folds: 2 per square

Step 10: The Smushing: Part 2

Finally, open up each of these newly formed triangles (there are 8 of them), and using the same technique as in “The Smushing Part 1”, smush it down.

Step 11: Repetition

You've now successfully made one of the pieces of the snowflake! Repeat this entire process 5 times to make all of the pieces for your origami snowflake. Don't worry if it took a little while to get the first piece of the snowflake done, it gets easier with more practice! Just think about how amazing your decorations will look when you are finished!

Step 12: The Connection

Using the edges of your folded triangles as a guide, fold over the four corners on each of the pieces.

Glue those folded corners, using either elmer's liquid glue or a glue stick, to the corresponding corners on the other pieces, and you have your basic origami snowflake!

Because there are six pieces, when gluing together think about the shape as a cube with six faces. No matter what order the corners are glued to each other in, the same shape will result, as long as each corner is only glued to exactly one other corner.

Step 13: Optional Additional Decorations

To make the snowflake even more festive, you can add extra decorations as I did in the picture above.

Options:

1. Use a single hole punch to make a hole on the top of the project, and tie a ribbon through the hole so that the snowflake can be hung.

2. Splatter paint the project. Simply take some paint on a paintbrush and fling it at the snowflake. This process is best if done outdoors.

Step 14: Conclusion

So the next time you're feeling just a little bit stressed about the looming holiday season, instead of going into a frenzy, take the time to make some origami snowflakes. These fun, simple, cool-looking origami snowflakes will put you into the Christmas spirit, lower your stress level, and of course, make your home look impeccably decorated with work from your own hands.

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