Friday, December 7, 2012

How to: Paper Snowflakes

Now, I know that making paper snowflakes isn't rocket surgery, but some of us learn better with a visual aid, which is why I'm posting this here How to.

Paper snowflakes in the front windows during the Winter months are a long-standing tradition in my family. My sister and I grew up with a single Mom and a tight budget, so we learned to make our own fun when we could. Mom's office had a ginormous dot-matrix printer that used 15 inch(?) wide green and white striped, accordion-folded reams of paper. For some reason, the printer would always spit out two blank pages after every print job. My Mom's boss gave her the green light to bring the wasted sheets home for us kids to use as coloring paper. I still have some of that pretty epic artwork scratched on those place mat-sized pieces of paper. I could draw ducks like nobody's business back in the day.

Those awkwardly shaped, oddly-striped pieces of waste paper ended up being our first snowflakes too.

Nowadays, the girls and I just rob the printer in my husband's home office blind. But we're doing it in the spirit of the SPREADING JOY, dang it!

Monkeys against a backdrop of snowflakes, Christmas morning.

What you'll need-

*standard printer paper (or re-purposed wrapping paper scraps, sales flyers, etc.)
*scotch tape for hanging them

Step 1: Squaring up your paper -

Fold bottom edge of page up to touch a side. You will have made a large triangle. See that extra bit that wasn't folded? Trim that piece off.

Now you have a perfect square!

Step 2: Fold the square in half along the same crease you made when making the initial fold to square it up. It is now folded in half.

Step 3: Fold it in half again. Now it's in 4ths.

Step 4: Fold it in half one last time. It is now folded into 8ths. You should have one side of your triangle which is a single, solid folded edge (side one), a side that has two folded edges (side two) and a side that has all cut ends of the paper (side 3).

Each of the facets of the "flake" need to be treated differently. This is where a small mistake can lead to a giant pile of pretty scraps instead of a gorgeous finished snowflake.

Side One - This is the side of the folded paper that holds things together. If you go to bananas with the scissors, your snowflake will either be very fragile or will fall apart completely. I try not to cut away too much more than 50% of that edge.

Side Two - This side also contains folds that hold things together, but isn't as critical as the connections on side one. I'd probably cut a maximum of 75% of this edge.

Side Three - This edge is all cut ends (what will be the outer edge of the snowflake), so there are no folds to preserve. Go crazy and cut 100% of it if you want.

First cut on side one. I want this snowflake to be kinda-sorta frilly, rather than strictly geometric, so I'm going with bends and curves.

Finished cutting. I cut maybe 30% out of side one, 75% out of side two, and 80% or so of side three (a very subtle dish shape). Now the unveiling begins!

Open slowly! You don't want to tear your lovely creation.

Et viola! A lovely, festive, one-of-a-kind paper snowflake.

This is a great craft for those long, cold days of Winter break at home with the kids. Be creative and have fun!

1 comment:

  1. what an awesome job! I should have given everyone your how to before I made them cut them for my window...