Friday, February 11, 2011

How to make a 6-sided paper snowflake

Did you know that every snowflake is unique, and that every snowflake has 6 sides or points?  It's true.  Because of the molecular structure and properties of water, snowflakes always form with 6 points or sides.  Making paper snowflakes is a winter-time favorite for many, young and old, but it always surprises me that people don't seem to care that their snowflakes are anatomically incorrect.  I think I've only ever seen one person (besides me and my mom, who taught me) who made 6 sided snowflakes.  One!  Everyone else in the entire world is wrong!

Well, that has got to stop.  So here, for your edification, is my illustrated tutorial: How to make a 6-sided paper snowflake.

1. Begin with a square of paper.  It doesn't matter what size, as long as it's square.  To easily make a square from a rectangular piece of paper, fold one corner down until it touches the other side.  You will have something that looks like this: 

Then cut off the rectangle of paper at the bottom, so you end up with a folded triangle.

2.  Fold the paper in half.  I think my mom would fold so that it formed a rectangle (like on the right), but since I'm usually folding my paper in a triangular shape to make a square first, I just leave mine folded in a triangle shape.

3. Fold in half again, crease, then unfold so that you're back to your rectangle or triangle shape.

4.  Here's where it gets a little tricky, but once you get the idea, it's easy.  Fold each of the bottom corners in and up, folding the paper in thirds--the bottom point should end up on your creased center line--like this:

You'll have kind of a cone shape (the angle will be 60 degrees--that's for you, Chip).

5.  Fold in half, along your fold line (the one you folded, then unfolded in step 3).  If you fold away from yourself, you'll be able to see where to cut in the next step more easily.
Do you see the line there?  That's where you're going to cut.

6.  Find the corners and cut straight across, cutting the corners off. 
The one on the bottom has already been cut; I drew a line on the top one so it would be easier to see where to cut.

7.  Cut shapes out of each of the folded sides--at this time of year I've been doing a lot of hearts.  You can also cut a curlicue or other shape into the top.  I've found that the more you cut out, the better the snowflake looks--just make sure you don't cut away all of either of the folded sides.  If you want a hole in the center of your snowflake, cut off the bottom tip of your triangle.  If your snowflake is too thick to cut through, unfold one fold so you're back to step 4, sorta.

8.  Unfold, and enjoy your beautiful snowy creations, inside where it's warm :)  For extra sparkle, decorate with glue and glitter, or, if you want to get fancy, glitter glue.
Aren't they lovely?
I just love the view from our dining room windows!

Just in case you'd like to read more about making paper snowflakes...

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