How to Make Paper Snowflakes -- A Fun Activity for Kids and Adults
Creating paper snowflakes is a fun way to inexpensively decorate your house for the winter and for the Holidays. It can be an enjoyable family activity also. Younger children can create simple snowflakes with help from an adult, and older children and adults can start to create more intricate, lacy patterns.
Snowflakes can be strung together to hang across a doorway or wall, or individual snowflakes can be hung on your Christmas tree or attached to a window for some winter cheer.
I remember making paper snowflakes as a child, learning how to carefully fold and cut a piece of paper to make a lacy six-sided snowflake pattern. My mother would then tape or glue our creations to the windows. Then when my sons were young, we also enjoyed making paper snowflakes together.
The materials and tools you need to make a paper snowflake are simple -- all you need is light-weight paper and a good pair of scissors. You'll find instructions below. Enjoy!
Snowflake folding photos are my own
Instructions for Folding and Cutting Six-Sided Paper Snowflakes
This Can Be a Fun Family Activity!
All you need to get started is paper and scissors. I use 20 lb printer paper, since I always have plenty of that around, and I use a regular pair of household scissors for my simpler snowflakes.
Follow these simple instructions to make your own beautiful paper snowflakes!
This step gives you your first fold, and also shows where to cut if you've started with a rectangular sheet of paper.
Carefully fold Corner A diagonally to B as in Photo 1, matching the edges of the paper, and cut the edge off as shown in the below.
After cutting the edge off as in Photo 2, you'll have a triangle shaped as in Photo 3. Fold in half, from Corner C to Corner D to form a smaller triangle as shown in Photo 4.
Divide your triangle into thirds as shown in Photo 4. To be precise, you can use a protractor to divide the peak of the triangle into three 30 degree segments, or you can carefully measure the bottom edge of the triangle and divide into thirds, and draw lines up to the peak. Or you can just "eye-ball" your measurements, and adjust your folds to make them even. This gets easier with practice!
From Photo 4, fold one side across, as in Photo 5, then the other side across, as in Photo 6. Adjust the folds as needed so the edges of the paper line up with each other.
Cut the bottom part off as shown in Photo 6. This will give you the basic shape to start cutting your paper snowflake, as in Photo 7!
Step 7 - Cutting the folded paper
Now make your cuts! The sharp top peak of the triangle corresponds to the center of your paper snowflake. Experiment with your cuts. You'll soon get a feel for what kinds of cuts produce certain shapes for your snowflakes.
The cuts I made in Photo 7 produced the snowflake in Photo 8. The top part of the triangle in Photo 7 is the center of the paper snowflake shown in Photo 8.
For design ideas, check out these online Paper Snowflake Templates that you can print out.
Free Printable Snowflake Pattern Templates Online
If you'd like some ideas for your snowflake patterns and designs, here are a couple of good sites with printable templates. The paper folding is the same as I've shown above.
- Snowflake Templates by First Palette This first page has three simple and beautiful snowflake designs.
- Free Printable Snowflake Pattern and Template Collection These snowflake pattern templates are a little more complex.
Flatten Your Snowflake
Your finished snowflake will have fold marks and won't lie perfectly flat. You can flatten your snowflake by pressing it between the pages of a heavy book.
Or you can lightly iron your snowflake in between two pieces of wax paper (Photo 9). Some of the wax will transfer to your snowflake and make it a little stiffer (Photo 10).
Video of Making Paper Snowflakes
This reviews the same instructions as above (although upside down from mine!). Sometimes seeing the folding in action is helpful.
The circular piece of paper in the middle is the initial unfolded shape before cutting.
Books With Paper Snowflake Templates and Cutouts
More Snowflake Patterns to Cut
This book shows 72 snowflake designs for all seasons of the year. There are patterns for traditional snowflakes, but also designs for holidays and special occasions, such as hearts for Valentine's Day, shamrocks for St. Patrick's Day, pumpkins for Halloween, trees, bells, and candles for Christmas, and many more.
You can make these snowflakes many times if you photocopy the patterns rather than cut out each page.
Get some light-weight paper, and some sharp scissors, and start making your own snowflakes from these interesting patterns.
Fun, Free Snowflake Templates
Two different hugely popular movies (or series of movies) are represented in these free templates. You'll find very cool snowflake templates for characters from the Star Wars saga and from Disney's "Frozen".
Decorate With Your Paper Snowflakes!
The simplest way to decorate with your paper snowflakes is to tape them to a window with transparent tape (like Scotch Tape), adhesive putty, or you may prefer to add a small dab of Elmer's Glue to the points of the snowflakes to adhere them to the window (easy to scrape off with a razor blade).
You can also hook them on Ornament Hangers and hang on your tree.
Another fun way to decorate is to string a few paper snowflakes together and drape them across a wall, window, or doorway (see the videos below).
Image from MarthaStewart.com, Create a Blizzard's Worth of Snowflakes.
Make a "Paper" Snowflake Online
If you'd like to avoid the fuss of folding and cutting and creating paper scraps, you might enjoy making your own "paper" snowflake online with Make-A-Flake.
The program requires Flash 6 to work. If you don't have it, there's a link to download it.
Image of my own snowflake by Make-A-Flake.
Snowflakes, Starflakes, Swirlflakes - Cutting and folding for paper snowflakes
Whimsical, cute video on how to make variations of paper snowflakes.
Do you make paper snowflakes, or do you remember making them as a child?
I'd Love to Hear From You!
Denise McGill from Fresno CA on January 06, 2015:
Great tutorial. Thanks.
Karen (author) from U.S. on May 20, 2014:
@Charito1962: It really is a fun activity :-) Even though I don't have kids at home anymore, I still like to cut snowflake patterns.
Charito Maranan-Montecillo from Manila, Philippines on May 19, 2014:
This is truly a nice activity for kids! Thanks for sharing.
Michelllle on December 22, 2013:
Doing this one today! Great lens!
acreativethinker on December 13, 2013:
I remember making many snow flakes and it was such fun. Thanks for sharing the memory. Take care and have a great day! :)
Angela F from Seattle, WA on November 25, 2013:
Always a fun winter activity.
cleansweeping on March 25, 2013:
Great resources!!! I plan to use this in the classroom.
anonymous on December 19, 2012:
Thanks for this great lens. My grandchildren and I are going to enjoy it.
Karen (author) from U.S. on December 05, 2012:
@Tumblestar LM: Thanks :-) I agree, the make-your-own snowflake online page is fun!
Tumblestar LM on December 05, 2012:
I like your use of pictures here, and the site at the end is fun : D
Lorelei Cohen from Canada on September 09, 2012:
I love your step by step instructions for these paper snowflakes. It won't be long until the snow is falling and kids will be looking for winter craft projects to work on.
hotbrain from Tacoma, WA on December 23, 2011:
Yes, I made paper snowflakes as a child... Your step-by-step instructions should make it easy for anyone to make them!
Karen (author) from U.S. on December 15, 2011:
@shandigp: Thanks for the Squid blessing, comments, and suggestions, ShandiGP. Your suggestions make sense, and I will also re-arrange comments and photos to make everything clearer.
shandigp on December 15, 2011:
P.S. I think it might be a little easier to follow the photos if the photos were labeled the same number as the corresponding direction, using letters if necessary.
Just a thought.
shandigp on December 15, 2011:
P.S. I thought the Make-A-Flake link was super neat!
shandigp on December 15, 2011:
What a neat page! My snowflakes always came out looking stupid. No, really. That's because I didn't know to make the folds and cut in steps 4 and 5! Thanks! I love the idea of ironing with wax paper, too. Off to make winter decorations! *blessed*
pianolessongirl on December 06, 2011:
Loved the videos, thanks for the ideas. :)
Karen (author) from U.S. on February 06, 2011:
@anonymous: Thanks so much for returning and blessing this lens, Tipi! I'm glad you enjoyed it. I've had a great time this winter creating my own snowflakes -- and I look forward to being able to share this with grandkids (none yet, but maybe in a few years!)
anonymous on February 05, 2011:
I remember how much I liked this paper snow flakes lens and came back to bless it. I mad paper snow flakes with one of my granddaughters when she was here this winter. Its always fun to open them up to see how they turned out.
LouisaDembul on January 19, 2011:
Nice, easy-to-follow-pictures! I really like snowflakes, whether real, paper, painted or any other way. So delicate and beautiful.
CofCJenny LM on January 02, 2011:
Brings back a lot of memories, can't believe I didn't make any of these to decorate the house this year. Will have to remember for next year! :-)
HubLens Admin on December 25, 2010:
I am always fascinated by snowflakes. Merry Christmas!
Dee Gallemore on December 14, 2010:
Boy, does this bring back childhood memories . . . thanks for sharing these step-by-step instructions. Well done . . . and blessed!
Mona from Iowa on December 13, 2010:
I remember making these as a kid and it was great fun. I've added this as a featured lens to my Handmade Christmas Guide Lens.
Paul from Montreal on December 13, 2010:
I used to love making these!
SofiaMann on December 12, 2010:
I remember doing snowflakes al school. It was fun. Thanks for the idea.
anonymous on December 12, 2010:
Awesome tutorial lens. I love making paper snowflakes. My Grandmother used to be able to cute anything freehand out of paper, and I loved watching her do it. As I was growing up I got pretty good at free-hand paper cutting myself. My Grand-kids now love to ask me to make things for them out of paper.
Andrew Po on December 12, 2010:
Oh yeah! I used to make those things all the time.