Paper Snowball #2

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Introduction: Paper Snowball #2

About: I have taught math for 30 plus years. I am one of the crazy ones who actually think math is fun. I am still adapting to the loss of my husband of 18 years. He was the love of my life. I am returning to t...

This is similar to my first snowball ornament in that you only need a printout of the template and a pair of scissors. It is a little different in that this time there are 30 pieces and each one is a square.

I like this one better. It is more work but the resulting ball is more stable. I have even been able to throw (gently) it across the room. This one is a little smaller than a softball when it is finished.

Step 1: Template and Cutting

Print the template on cardstock or similar stiff paper. I like to use a sheet of photo paper--because I have a stack of it and it makes a pretty, shiny snowball.

Each square should be separated from the others. The slits have to be cut as neatly as possible. Cut to the left of the line and also to the right of the line. If you do this well, there will be a 1 mm wide strip that curls a bit. Pinch off this little strip as close as possible. You have to do this to all 4 slits on all 30 pieces.

This tiny slit gives the paper a little bit of wiggle room. You may be tempted to just cut each slit only once--you will not be able to fit the pieces into place. The little gap in the paper is important.

I usually do this while I am watching tv or even sitting around chatting. It takes time but not much effort. I drop the finished pieces in a box or envelope and just keep at it.

I have included a Word document in case someone wants to resize the pieces. Small children (3rd or 4th grade) have been able to build these but I usually give them slightly larger pieces to work with. The bigger pieces are sometimes easier for people with larger fingers.

Step 2: Assembly

Start with only 3 pieces. Take the time to make sure that they are all facing the same direction. If one is flipped over, it will not assemble correctly. Two of the slots are longer than the other two.

Slip a long slot of one piece into the short slot on the next piece. Take a third piece and connect it to both of the previous pieces by inserting the long slot into the short one. See the pictures. It takes a moment or two in order to adjust all the little pointy corners, but when you get it right, the pieces lock each other in place.

Make a chain of these triple piece corners--it will twist around into almost a circle. The fifth corner connects back to the first one. There will be a pentagonal hole in the middle of the piece.

As you move around the piece, keep looking for the pentagonal hole as you add more clusters of pieces at each corner. The last few pieces have to be added carefully since there is not a lot of room for your fingers. Be patient and gentle so the paper doesn't tear. If it does, just cut another piece.

Keep adding pieces the same way. The ball will naturally form as long as you keep making the pentagonal holes.

Step 3: Multi-color Ball

I make these out of paint sample cards. It is a great way to get a lot of color variety. You can use 30 different colors or a lot of different shades of the same color.

Since you can't put the tiny cards in the printer, you have to get a bit creative in drawing the cutting lines.

I cut the paint samples into squares with my paper trimmer. Then I take a single printed square and cut the slots intentionally a bit wider than usual--about 2 mm wide. I lay this template on the paint sample. Draw the 4 slot lines on the paint sample through the template cuts. Do this to all 30 pieces. Then cut them out--cut twice (to the left of the line and to the right) and pinch out the tiny little strip.

Step 4: Displaying Your Creation

If you are displaying this on a Christmas tree, the approved method of hanging a paper snowball is to stand a few feet from the tree and gently toss it into the branches. Where it lands is where it stays. This method was my son's idea back when he was too short to reach the higher branches of the tree.

I have been told that some of my students have opted for a more traditional method of hanging these. They slip a string through the pentagonal gaps and tie it into a loop. Many of these balls are displayed in this manner year round.

If you decide to simply place it on your desk, be prepared for people to pick it up a lot. People of all ages are intrigued by these balls. Teenagers will often find it necessary to test it by throwing it around. They are amazingly sturdy for being hollow and made only of paper.

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