How to Make a 3D Paper Snowflake

Three dimensional paper snowflakes look beautiful hanging in a window or on a wall. Fun for kids or adults, they are easy to make. Some like them for Christmas, but you may like them any time!

Steps

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    Gather materials. You'll need six (or eight for a fuller snowflake) pieces of paper (white copy paper will do, although you can use more elaborate types like construction or origami paper), scissors, clear tape and a stapler.
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    Fold each of the six pieces of paper in half, then diagonally. If the paper you are using does not make a perfect triangle, cut off the rectangular edge that sticks out and make it align perfectly. You should end up with a square folded into a triangle. Fold the triangle in half, noting where the folded "bottom" of the triangle is. If you have to cut off the bottom end of the paper, keep it and put it aside.
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    Cut three slits in the triangle. Position the scissors along the bottom fold, and parallel to one of the edges going up to the top (your cuts should be somewhat diagonal). Cut almost all the way up to the double folded crease, but not quite. Keep about the same distance between each cut. (This might not be suitable for thicker paper, since the number of layers makes it difficult to cut through.) When you unfold the triangle into a larger triangle, it should look like the photo at right.
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    Unfold the triangle again. Turn it so that one of the points of the square faces you. It should look like the picture.
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    Keeping your paper diamond side-up, roll the first two innermost paper lines together to form a tube. Tape these two pieces together. You should see triangle shapes on each side of the roll.
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    Turn the diamond over to the other side. Take the next two paper lines and pull them together on the opposite side of the tube and tape together as before. This will be a more rounded shape and wider than the first tube.
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    Keep turning the paper and joining the paper lines together on opposite side in the same fashion until all paper lines have been joined.
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    Repeat Steps 2 - 7 with the remaining 5 pieces of paper.
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    Join 3 of the completed rolled pieces together at one end and staple together using the other hand. Do the other 3 pieces the same way. Now you will have 2 pieces consisting of 3 strands or "arms" each. (For smaller snowflakes, it may be easier to use double-sided tape or white glue in place of staples.)
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    Staple the two new pieces together in the middle.
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    Staple where each of the six arms meet. This ensures that the snowflake shape is pulled into place. See picture at top for the finished snowflake.
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    Hang them up, use them to make a center piece or use them to decorate in your own way as long as they can be admired.

Tips

  • Make sure these pieces of paper are evenly cut or it will not look very good when finished.
  • You can vary the paper color if you want to match a Christmas color theme - red or green for instance. Those left over bits of holiday wrapping paper also work very well - just keep in mind that one side of the paper will be plain white while the other side will be colorful. You can also use tinfoil or glitter paper.
  • Adding a 7th side to the snowflake will give it a fuller and completed look.
  • It's best to use 6 pieces of paper instead of more. Seven can make it look a bit too packed and it's harder to see the shape of the flake.
  • You can also place these snowflakes on lollipop sticks to make a pinwheel.
  • Work slow and steady. Rushing is likely to lead to a ruined snowflake, or your hands being cut up by scissors.
  • If you want a "perfect" snowflake, make sure the lines you cut are identical for each square.
  • If you want a more appealing look use glue dots, or glue sticks. Find these at arts/ crafts stores.
  • If you want larger snowflakes, use larger paper. You will probably need to cut more lines though; work it out from how large your piece of paper is. Don't try enlarging your snowflakes until you are comfortable with the method of making them with the suggested paper size first.
  • See "Sources and Citations" below for 2-dimensional snowflake patterns suitable for younger kids (and the impatient).
  • Mini staplers are great for these type of snowflakes.
  • For those who are making a smaller snowflake, it's easier to use a toothpick.
  • If you want to "jazz up" your snowflakes, put liquid glitter on the snowflake along various parts of the paper lines. Just remember though, that these do not store very well (easily crushed) and you might be throwing them out.

Warnings

  • Don't use any kind of hot glue if you are making this; it may burn or rip the paper.

Things You'll Need

  • Six pieces of paper, any kind should do. The size of your paper square can vary from 4" to 10" (10cm - 25cm). The paper should be of a good strength to hold up the snowflake structure.
  • Scissors
  • Tape (Or Glue)
  • Stapler (a mini stapler is great for smaller snowflakes).

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