# How to Make 6-Pointed Paper Snowflakes

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This step by step guide will teach you how to make SIX pointed paper snowflakes. Most people make (and most how-tos teach) snowflakes with four or eight points. Real snowflakes in nature form with six points (or occasionally three if they formed weird) so I choose to make my own with six points.

Be sure that you follow each step carefully. Each step is one fold, but some steps have two pictures shown to help explain things, so please read the description underneath.

Instructables.com doesn't always show all of the steps on one page, so hit "next" to go on to the next step. Steps 4-6 tend to be the trickiest, so step 6 has an extra image to hopefully help explain better for those who are having difficulty.

All you will need for this is paper and scissors. Some people like to use fancy paper, but I use plain white copy paper because somehow the simplicity of white is more beautiful to me.

If you want to view a gallery of my snowflakes, see me on Flickr: Paper Snowflake Gallery.

Remember to rate this Instructable!

First, begin with a square piece of copy paper.

I have outlined the edges of my paper in blue to make it easier to follow along with the steps. As I fold, I keep the paper in place, so you shouldn't need to rotate or flip over the paper to follow along (unless otherwise stated). Just fold it exactly as it shows.

(TO MAKE A SQUARE: You can make a square from a rectangular piece of paper simply by folding one corner down to form an isosceles triangle and trimming off the excess paper. See second picture.)

I usually make two snowflakes for every 8.5"x11" piece of paper, so I first cut the paper in half, and then make a square from each half. This makes a snowflake about 5" across. If you're just learning to make snowflakes, using a full piece of paper for each snowflake may be easier to practice with.

## Step 2: Fold in Half Diagonally.

Fold the square of paper diagonally to make a triangle.

(Note that I have marked the center of the paper square with a yellow star, as well as outlines of what the paper looked like before it was folded. This is just to help make a reference point for following along.)

## Step 3: Fold in Half Again.

Fold this larger triangle in half to make a smaller triangle.

## Step 4: Fold One Third.

Imagine this triangle in thirds (as shown in the first picture), and then fold the right "third" over, as shown in the second picture. If you want to be precise and have a protractor, each "third" in this step is a 30 degree angle.

## Step 5: Fold Again.

Fold the left third over. Try to get all of the folds to line up as close as possible for the most symmetrical snowflake.

## Step 6: Cut the "top" Off at an Angle.

Flip your folded paper over so that you're looking at the back. Then, cut off the top of the paper at an angle. Make sure to cut if off so that all remaining layers of paper are equal. As you can see, I'm basically cutting off all of those excess blue edges.

Cutting at an angle is what makes the points of the snowflake. Eventually, you'll learn to cut at different angles to make snowflakes with points that are more or less sharp.

BONUS: The extra image shown in this step is from a worksheet I made for a class, which just re-explains steps 4-6 for those who may have a harder time visualizing the "fold in thirds" part. If you've already got the hang of it, just ignore the second picture and continue on to step 7.

## Step 7: Shape It!

This is where your imagination comes in. Begin cutting away from the sides of the paper. Usually, cutting small triangles from the sides is easiest, but don't forget to try other shapes.

Be careful not to cut all the way from one side to the other, or else you'll chop your snowflake in half!

In this particular snowflake, I cut the top edge (that original angle that we chopped off) to make the points turn out differently, I added some spiky cuts around the middle there, and I snipped off the very bottom at an angle (which will make a star shape in the middle of the finished snowflake).

I don't use patterns for my snowflakes: I just cut as I go. My snowflakes are never the same because I don't usually plan out my snowflakes. Sometimes I find a new cut or shape that I like, and I may use the same technique on a different snowflake, but I don't copy the whole snowflake.

## Step 8: Unfold to Reveal!

Unfold the paper very carefully.

Ta da!

The snowflake will not lay flat right away, so I like to tuck them between the pages of a book for a while before displaying them. I have also ironed them (between two pieces of plain paper) to make them extra flat. Watch out though, because paper can get very hot to the touch when ironed (don't use steam!) so be sure to let it cool for a second before handling the paper, and as always excercise caution to avoid fire and burns. Ironing them also seems to make them a tiny bit stiffer, which could be good if you want to hang them rather than tape them to a surface.

## Step 9: Tips!

Materials:

- Make sure you have sharp scissors and clean hands. Dirty hands make for dingy snowflakes!

-Some people recommend using cuticle scissors so that you can make even more intricate snowflakes. I don't like this for two reasons. First, cuticle scissors are not comfortable in your hand. A comfortable grip is essential. Second, it is possible to get too intricate. Too many tiny snips and not enough shaping will just make your snowflakes look like lace doilies.

-Snowflake experts recommend using tracing paper and an X-acto knife to make snowflakes, to make them even more delicate and more perfectly symmetrical. However, I still like plain paper and scissors, since those are things that anyone has and you can use them with kids.

-Some people like to use wrapping paper or other fancy paper to make their snowflakes. Use whatever you like to create the desired effect. I stick with plain white copy paper because somehow I get a lot of satisfaction from creating something so beautiful from something so ordinary.

Making Snowflakes:

-I usually make my snowflakes while sitting down on a couch or chair with a coffee table in front of me, and a small trash can between my knees. This way I can lean forward to fold the paper on the table, and then sit up and snip bits of paper into the trash can. This makes less mess.

-When folding, steps 4-5 are the hardest, when you have to try and estimate thirds. Often, you'll fold the second third over, only to discover that it doesn't line up exactly in thirds. You'll have to unfold and refold until it's as exact as you can get it. The closer to exact thirds you can get it, the more symmetrical your snowflake will be. As it is, the thickness of the paper and the amount of folding that you do will make it so that making a precisely symmetrical snowflake is almost impossible. This will be most obvious in the center of the snowflake: look at some of mine. The star in the middle of some is not perfectly symmetrical. It happens. Real snowflakes have defects too, so don't worry about it.

-Avoid what I call "blank space". This is when you're cutting your snowflake in Step 7, and you leave behind big spaces of blank paper in your snowflake. Generally, anything thicker than 1/4th of an inch gets cut down into a thinner line, or by decorated it in some way (like by making tiny triangle snips all along the edge to give it "teeth"). Otherwise, when you open your snowflake, it will have thick, clunky lines instead of nice delicate ones. Sometimes thicker lines do create a different effect when contrasted with thinner lines, but use sparingly.

Decorating With Snowflakes:

-A tiny piece of double-sided tape behind each point is a good way to stick them to a surface. I love to put mine on windows so that they're visible from inside and out. They show up beautifully at night against the dark glass.

-These can be hung from the ceiling, but be careful because they are delicate. It may be wise to cut some with thicker lines for support (imagine making a skeleton for the snowflake: thicker lines for structure surrounded by the delicate parts for show) if you want to hang them. White or invisible thread, or fishing line, works great.

-Use your practice snowflakes to decorate gifts instead of a bow. I like taping a single snowflake to a gift, and then putting a plain gift tag on top of it. The lacy looking snowflake makes a pretty backdrop for the tag.

-Save the end scraps of paper from when you cut the original sheet of paper into a square. Use these little pieces to make tiny simple snowflakes that you can place around your larger snowflakes when decorating. This makes a "sprinkle" effect that looks wonderful, and you can fill more space without using up all your larger snowflakes. I didn't discover this idea until after the picture above was taken.

## Step 10: Analyzing a Snowflake

If you do want to try and copy a snowflake that you see, or at least get an idea of how to make one similar, try to visualize the slice of the snowflake that represents the completely folded paper. This is one slice out of twelve symmetrical slices. It will be a line that cuts through the middle of one point, and intersects with a line cut though the middle of the "valley" between it and the adjacent point. If it makes it easier, pretend that the snowflake is a clock and the lines you're imagining are the hands when it's one o'clock. See picture.

This slice of the snowflake shows what your cuts should look like if you want a snowflake that looks like this. It may be easier to visualize if you look at the black (cut out) spaces and think about those shapes being cut away. This is how you can make a "template", in a way, based on snowflakes that you see.

## Step 11: Replicating a Real Snowflake

From time to time I try and copy a real snowflake that I see in a book or online. It's impossible to copy an actual snow crystal exactly because they're simply too intricate, they're 3-D, and some parts of the snowflake are attached with a layer of ice so thin that it looks invisible.....if you tried to copy one exactly, it would fall apart. However, you can still try to mimic the form of a real snowflake.

Real snowflakes often have large areas of "blank space" that don't look very good when rendered in paper. A flip through a snowflake photography book shows that quite a few snowflakes form as just a simple hexagon with few details. If the snowflake you're copying has a lot of blank space, embellish it anyway. Since it can't be an exact replica, it might as well be pretty!

Basically, just use the technique from step 10. Imagine the how a real snowflake would look if it were a slice of a pie. Think of the clock hands at 1 o'clock.

Above are two examples of snowflakes that I've tried to replicate. I've added a second view of each with the "slice" highlighted.

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## 342 Discussions

I made this last winter, put them on a dark wall and shone an ultra
violet light on them.. very pretty! (hard to get a good photo of though)

I use this technique to make scrollsaw Christmas ornaments. Lay your cutout snowflake on a piece of darker paper and copy twice. If you cut a full sheet to make your snowflake, you can reduce the size to whatever you like with the copier. Set your first copy aside as a master pattern and use the second pattern to stack cut your snowflakes out of 1/8" plywood. Any good scrollsaw book should tell you how to stack cut, and there are several videos on You Tube. I usually cut about four at a time. A good family project would be to have each family member make several paper flakes. Then the whole family selects the best of each member's paper flakes and these winners are made into patterns to cut from plywood for a permanent ornament. You can spray paint them white and sprinkle with glitter while the paint is wet or spray them with clear varnish and leave them natural color. For more colorful ornaments, spray with white primer and paint with acrylic.

When you do the last triple-fold, flip the flake over between the folds. This reduces the thickness of paper that must be folded over (the last 2 folds, will look like a "Z" rather then a "U". The fold will have only 8 thicknesses rather then 12.) This is especially helpful when the paper stock is thick, or the snowflake small.) Prior to the last folds, crease the paper firmly. The Z-fold also reduces paper bulge of the inside layers and pull-back of the outside layers because the effects of the 2 folds tend to cancel.

Diagram shows exploded cross-section view of paper stack, as viewed from the outside edge of the folded snowflake.

I've done both the Z version and the one I have here.....I find that for beginners do better with the way I've shown, because being folded tightly around itself is easier to hold while cutting. The Z version has more "open" sides that they have to hold on to. Either version works well enough for most crafters decorative goals.

I use the end piece and a few crayon shavings to make a small "water color" snowflake.
to do so sharpen a crayon on to the paper FIRST then fold and cut as normal then when you go tp press it use a sheet of wax paper with wax side on the crayon shavings and use an old towel as a pressing cloth. make sure the cloth is not too thick or the heat will not melt the crayons. or do the crayons first then make the snowflakes.

My wife and I just made a few of these and had a great time. It got us feeling all festive for the holidays. Thanks for the great - and fun - Instructable!

You can make another decoration related to the snowflake. Fold as described (except on 3rd fold, do just single fold to make 1/8th of a circle), then take compass and strike arcs on one side of the triangle (pivot at pointed end, draw arcs 1/8 inch in increasing radius from almost zero to the outside). Cut along outermost arc all the way along. Cut all the other arcs, alternately, from one side to ALMOST the other side (stop 1/8" short). Cut off a little of the point (this will form a hole at the center).
Carefully unfold and flatten. Place a weight on the center. Slowly lift the outside loops and the paper will expand into a cylinder. The loops can be supported by crossed sticks. Place a Christmas ornament ball in the center with the hook protruding down through the central hole. Put weight on the hook to stretch cylinder. The whole thing can be hung on a motor and slowly rotated while a light shines from below.
The number of loops on the outside equals half the number of layers . For the snowflake fold scheme given (1/12 of a circle, 12 layers), there will be 6 loops. The one I made in the photos is folded 3 times, making 1/8th circle, 8 layers or 4 loops.
1st photo shows after folding with arcs drawn. 2nd one shows after cutting, 3rd one shows after unfolding flat, and the last one shows it expanded into a cylinder.

This is a fantastic tutorial. Perfectly detailed and logically explained. Well done!

If you really love some of your snowflakes, take them to an office supply store to be laminated for a few bucks. You can cut the plastic away around the edges and some of the larger spaces inside as well. These look great on a bare tree with white lights, and the plastic laminate reflects some of the light with beautiful effect.

I remember making snowflakes in grade school, but they weren't 6 sided. This great! I am impressed by the snowflakes in your examples--amazing! I hope I can get my 11-year-old grandson off the computer long enough to get him to make some snowflakes. He's so creative, I'm sure he'll make some nice ones once he get the hang of it. Thanks for posting this! :-)

Beautiful snowflakes! It's important to note that your instruction to fold in thirds means a third of the angle - you start with a square-angle (90 deg.) with the double-folded square, then make two 30 deg. folds to get the thirds. Anyone who tries to measure the top edge of the double-folded square and divide this into 3 equal lengths will be disappointed!

For those who find step 4 difficult, here is a simple way to do it:

Great simple instructs let with superbly practical instructions and tips. Thanks!

Great site! I was finally able to make a beautiful one. (All my others came out like angry teeth.) Thanks!