Learn how to make a paper snowflake with these simple instructions! Snowflakes can offer endless delight for curious little kids. If you live in a location where the temperature drops enough so that snow is possible, your child can step outside in December to collect the real thing, but if you live in a warmer climate, you can still make a collection of DIY snowflakes! Follow the instructions below to learn how to make a paper snowflake with only paper and scissors, and prepare to explore the art, science, and math of snowflakes!
What You Do:
- Take out one sheet of plain white typing paper (8 ½” x 11”), and lay it on a table in front of you horizontally. Cut 2 ½” off the long side of the paper so that you are left with an 8 ½” square.
- Now you’re ready for folding. Start by folding the square diagonally, so that you’re left with a triangular shape. Now turn the triangle so that the long, folded edge is facing you. Match up the bottom left corner and the bottom right corner, and fold the triangle in half. Turn the triangle one more time so that the longest edge is facing you, and fold it in half one final time.
- Use the scissors to cut into the triangle on any side…just don’t cut all the way across to the other side of the triangle, or you’ll cut your snowflake apart! Kids may cut little triangles, or make curve cuts, or squares. Encourage them to mess around and explore. When they’re done, unfold the paper, and you’ll see an intricate snowflake design.
If you've mastered a basic snowflake, try these tips and tricks to make your snowflakes even more beautiful!
- After you've folded your paper in half twice, fold your second triangle into thirds, to make an airplane-like shape with two 'tails.' Cut straight across the open fold so that the tails are removed. Then, cut your snowflake as normal. Doing this special fold and cut will give your snowflake six sides. Experiment with other folds to change the number of points on your snowflake.
- Cut the short side of your folded triangle into an interesting shape—don't feel like you have to stick with points, straight lines, and curves! Try cutting two sharp points; one that's long and one that's short. Or, experiment with rounded shapes and swirls.
- Try cutting your folded triangle so that there are only thin strips of paper between cuts. This will give your snowflake a delicate, open look. These kinds of snowflakes look great taped all over windows, as they add a festive flair while still letting the light shine through.
Once kids get the hang of them, paper snowflakes can be irresistibly fun. Glue some big ones onto cardboard and hang them in a window. Create small ones and attach them to construction paper for glorious cards for family, friends, and teachers. Encourage your child to get out those scissors and explore. No matter where you live...let it snow!
Julie Williams, M.A. Education, taught English and History for 16 years at Aragon High School in San Mateo, California. For the last five years, she has worked in elementary classrooms with primary-level students. She is the mother of two young sons.