How to Make a 3D Paper Snowflake
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This is a little more complicated than a two-dimensional paper snowflake but it looks excellent and is a suitable craft for children adept with scissors and who have patience in making crafts. It will produce a 6-armed three-dimensional snowflake decoration that makes a perfect tree decoration or window-hanger.
- Assemble the materials (see "Things You'll Need").
- Fold each of the 6 pieces of paper in half, diagonally. If the paper you're using doesn't make a perfect triangle, cut off the edge that sticks out (rectangular edge) and make it align perfectly.
- Cut 3 lines each side of the triangle from the folded edge (as per illustration), making sure not to cut through the unfolded paper edges. The cut lines should be parallel to one another each side and come close to meeting in the middle but not touch; leave a small space between them. To make this easier, you can fold the triangle in half. This way you'll cut both sides at once, making a very symmetrical snowflake. This might not be suitable for thicker paper, since the number of layers makes it difficult to cut through.
- Unfold your paper and turn it so that the diamond shape is facing you for working with.
- Still keeping your paper diamond side-up, roll the first two innermost paper lines together to form a tube. Tape these two pieces together. You should see triangle shapes on each side of the roll.
- Turn the diamond over to the other side. Take the next two paper lines and pull them together on the opposite side of the tube and tape together as before. This will be a more rounded shape and wider than the first tube.
- Keep turning the paper and joining the paper lines together on opposite side until all paper lines have been joined.
- Repeat this process (steps 3 - 7) with the remaining 5 pieces of paper.
- Join 3 of the completed rolled pieces together at one end (draw together with your fingertips) and staple together using the other hand. Do the other 3 pieces the same way. Now you will have 2 pieces consisting of 3 strands or "arms" each.
- Staple the two new pieces together in the middle. You will almost have the snowflake shape by now.
- Staple where each of the 6 arms meet. This ensures that the snowflake shape is pulled into place. See illustration at top for the finished snowflake.
- Decorate further if desired (see "Tips" for suggestions). This is optional but might be suitable if you are creating a Christmas scene or other decorative theme.
- Choose one point to be at the top of your snowflake and attach a piece of metallic yarn or cotton for hanging. (This is best tied on the decoration, as a staple might not hold the thread well.) Pierce a tiny hole with a needle and thread through the metallic thread and tie with a small knot, twice. Do this very gently to avoid tearing the paper.
- Hang your new decoration on the tree or in a window space. Make several snowflakes and hang them at different lengths against a window for an effective display. They appear especially beautiful against a backdrop of a dark night sky.
- Larger snowflakes: If you want larger snowflakes, use larger paper. You will probably need to cut more lines though; work it out from how large your piece of paper is. Don't try enlarging your snowflakes until you are comfortable with the method of making them with the suggested paper size first.
- Paper color variations: You could vary the paper color if you want to match a Christmas color theme - red or green for instance. Those left over bits of holiday wrapping paper also work very well - just keep in mind that one side of the paper will be plain white while the other side will be colorful.
- Decoration ideas: If you want to "jazz up" your snowflakes, put liquid glitter on the snowflake along various parts of the paper lines. Silver, gold, red or green are probably the most suitable colors to use. Or you could think of other additions; the author tried tiny buttons and stick-on costume gems one year and they looked exquisite. Just remember though, that these do not store very well (easily crushed) and you might be throwing them out. Of course, you can always pull off the additional decorated pieces and keep for another time or craft.
- Be patient. This is not a craft to be rushed but it is easy to make if you proceed slowly and carefully.
- 2-Dimensional alternatives: See Related Links and External Links below for 2-dimensional snowflake patterns suitable for younger kids (and the impatient!).
- For extra special results, mirror two pieces next to each other.
- Fold one edge in half twice to find the position where to cut, and use this as a template for all the other pieces.
- For smaller snowflakes, it may be easier to use double sided tape in place of staples, particularly while adhering the individual arms to one another. If you do these step keep the snowflakes because they are hard to make.
- Be patient when cutting the parallel lines, so that you don't overcut to the other edges or accidentally cut into the line on the opposite side; if this happens, start again with a new piece of paper.
- If you want a "perfect" snowflake, make sure the lines you cut are identical for each square.
Things You'll Need
- 6 evenly sized squares of paper - preferably white, for the color of snowflakes; printer paper is fine, or try drawing pad paper. The size of your paper square can vary from 4" to 10" (10cm - 25cm). The paper should be of a good strength to hold up the snowflake structure. You might want to look for "patty paper", the kind used in food service, if there is a restaurant supply store near you.
Sources and Citations
- Acknowledgment: Thanks to LizMarie's Make a Snowflake photos on Flickr for the majority of the photos displayed here & for additional ideas for improving the instructions.
- Simple Paper Snowflakes - includes photo instructions
- Snowflake Patterns for Children
- Make a 2-D Snowflake Online
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