Cut paper snowflakes are a fun easy project that you can create so many variations with and they make excellent winter decorations! In nature most snowflakes are 6 sided, many times when we make paper snowflakes, we create 4 or 8 sided snowflakes – below you will find instructions for folding 6 pointed, 8 pointed and 12 pointed! Once you get the hang of these folds and where to draw your design you will have some amazing paper snowflakes! These can also make a great lesson to incorporate symmetry, angles, fractals, & kirigami into!
What you need:
- Paper – I just prefer to use plain white copy paper but any thin paper will do. You can even create colorful snowflakes!
- Scissors – Because we’ll be cutting through several layers of paper at once, be sure you have a sharp pair! If you plan to do a lot of smaller details on your snowflake, small sewing scissors can come in handy!
- X-Acto Knives – These are optional to be used in place of the scissors or to make cuts that are not along the edge of your folded snowflake.
- Pencil for drawing designs out if desired!
MAKING YOUR PAPER SQUARE:
If you’re starting with plain copy paper, the first thing to do is make your paper square – we will need to start with a square piece of paper for any of the snowflakes below!
Step one: Fold the bottom corner of your paper up, and to the opposite side, until you’ve created a point at the bottom of your paper.
This is what it looks like unfolded….
Step two: Cut off the single layer of paper that you see.
Step three: Open your paper back up – square!
You can make your squares any size! Try using the piece of paper you cut off of your rectangle to make a smaller square (and smaller snowflake!).
6 SIDED SNOWFLAKE: This method of folding gives your snowflake 6 points/sides just like a snowflake found in nature! This is also the easiest method listed to cut as there’s less layers of paper to cut through!
Step one: Start with a square piece of paper, leave it folded. (Or fold a square piece of paper from corner to corner)
Step two: Find the center of the bottom of your triangle (shown in the next photo) – do this by folding corner, along the bottom edge, and “pinch” your paper in the center. This way you don’t create a crease line all the way to the point of your paper!
Step three: Make sure you have your paper opened back up after “pinching” the middle point of your paper!
Step four: We will be folding the corners of your paper up on the two lines shown in the picture – you can use a protractor for this, marking the crease lines at 60-degrees.
Step five: Fold the right flap up on the 60-degree mark shown in step four.
Step six: Flip your whole paper over, keeping the point towards you.
Step seven: Fold the right flap up on your other 60-degree mark – the two sides of your paper should all be even.
Step eight: Cut the top triangles off of your paper, making the top layers of paper all even.
Step nine: Draw out your design; I like to have my design go all the way, or almost all of the way, to the top corners, and dip low between them. Then I draw shapes & designs on the edges of my triangle, these shapes start and stop on the same edge of my paper – this keeps my snowflake whole!
Step ten: Cut out your design – it’s easiest to start by cutting your little designs first and then your larger areas.
You can also use the extra paper you cut to create a square and make mini snowflakes!
8 SIDED SNOWFLAKE: This method gives your a couple more points than the first!
Step one: Start with a square piece of paper.
Step two: Fold in half, edge to edge.
Step three: Fold in half again, to create a square.
Step four: Check the edges of your square – point the corner that has all open flaps of paper away from you, and the corner that is the center of your paper (or no flaps of paper) pointed towards you!
Step five: Fold the square in half, right point to left point (keeping the open ends at the top and center towards you).
Step six: Draw out your design!
Step seven: Cut out your smaller details first…..
Step eight: Cut out your larger area & carefully unfold!
12 SIDED SNOWFLAKE: This is my favorite snowflake fold – because it’s 12 layers it can be harder to cut but it makes the snowflakes look more intricate and delicate!
Step one: Start with a square piece of paper!
Step two: Fold your paper in half, from corner, to corner.
Step three: Fold your paper in half again, with your folded edge from the last step on the bottom.
Step four: This next step can be tricky until you’ve done it a few times! We will be folding your paper into 3rds, shown on the fold lines your can see in the photo above. You can use a protractor to do this (dividing it into 3rds, each at a 30-degree angle) or just eyeball it and fold & unfold, until you get it right in the next steps! The more exact you line up and fold your paper, the better your cuts and snowflake will come out, so take your time on getting things lined up!
Step four: With the point of your paper facing you, fold the left side of your paper over on your first 30-degree mark or the first line seen in the picture on step three.
Step five: Flip your whole paper over, keeping the point towards you.
Step six: Fold the left side of your paper over to line up with the right edge, and the other 30-degree mark on your paper.
Step seven: Now you have your papers folded, cut the top triangle pieces off, so that all of your paper layers are even at the top.
Step eight: Draw your designs on your snowflakes! Keep your designs on the edges of your triangles, being sure not to cut all the way from one edge to the other.
Step nine: Cut your snowflake out on your lines! Carefully use an Xacto knife for small cuts if needed! Open your snowflake gently!
Your finished snowflakes can be used to decorate your windows – they look awesome from both inside and out, especially when it’s dark outside! I use a glue stick to attach my snowflakes to the window. You could also use double sided tape or hand them from a string!
You can make smaller or larger snowflakes with the same folds as above – just start out with smaller or larger squares of paper! The snowflakes above that have the objects and scenes incorporated into them are large, approx. 20″ – 24″ wide! They also have cuts that were created “inside” the folded triangle, not along the edge, I had to use a hole punch and my xacto knives to remove these cuts! Keep in mind when you create objects on your snowflakes anything drawn along the edges is just half of a shape, when opened it will become whole!
Use your paper snowflakes for other art projects too – like this mixed media encaustic piece! Paper snowflakes have been layered with different color waxes, pearl powders, & other papers to create a unique collage! I also cut some snowflakes from old book paper, tracing paper and vellum, to create different effects! You could also make a snowflake garland, use as gift topper/decorations, or on greeting cards!
Make this project? I’d love to see some photos! Check out other projects to complete at home here!