Instructions for Making Paper Snowflakes

Instructions for Making Paper Snowflakes – An Easy Tutorial

How to Make 6-Sided Snowflakes – A Fun Activity for Kids and Adults

Creating paper snowflakes can be a fun family activity for inexpensively decorating your house for the winter and for the Holidays. 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!
Instructions for Making Paper Snowflakes

All snowflake photos on this page 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 sharp household scissors for cutting my snowflakes.

Folding paper to get the 6-sided symmetry for these snowflakes is trickier than folding paper for 4-sided or 8-sided snowflakes, but it is the 6-sided snowflake that we see in nature (never 4 or 8).

Follow these simple instructions to make your own beautiful six-sided paper snowflakes!

Step 1

This step shows you where your first diagonal fold is, and where to cut to create a square sheet of paper if you’ve started with a rectangular sheet of paper.

Photo 1

Snowflake directions 1

Step 2

Carefully fold Corner A diagonally to B as in Photo 1, matching the edges of the paper, and cut the edge off as shown as below.

Photo 2

snowflake directions 2

Step 3

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.

Photo 3

snowflake directions 3

Step 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!

Photo 4

snowflake directions 4

Step 5

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.

Photo 5

snowflake directions 5

Step 6

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!

Photo 6

snowflake directions 6

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.

Photo 7

snowflake directions 7

Photo 8

Paper snowflake

Flatten Your Snowflake

Your finished snowflake will have fold marks and won’t lie perfectly flat. One way you can flatten your snowflake is 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 9

Ironing snowflake

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.

You’ve Made Your Snowflake!

Now make a blizzard of snowflakes and decorate your house!

  • Attach them with putty poster or transparent tape to your windows or walls (putty poster works best, but the tape is fine on windows).
  • String them on thread to make a garland of lacy flakes (use a small piece of tape to keep them in place on the thread).
  • Hook them on ornament hangers and hang them on your Christmas or Holiday tree.

Free Printable Snowflake Pattern Templates Online

If you’d like some ideas for your snowflake patterns and designs, here are a few of good sites with printable templates. The paper folding is the same as I’ve shown above.

Three 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, from Disney’s “Frozen”, and “Guardians of the Galaxy”.

Cut and Fold Snowflake Pattern Books

Here are some paper snowflake pattern books you can find on Amazon (and maybe locally).  All three books give instructions for folding the paper, and show design templates that you can trace or copy to your own paper.

A Tip for Helping Younger Children Make Paper Snowflakes

It will be more difficult for younger kids to fold and cut paper as shown above.  I’ve found that using larger size easel pad paper is easier to work with.  You could help them fold, or just let them fold the paper into fourths or eighths and not worry about neatness or 6-sided symmetry to begin with!  Let them experiement and create their own designs.

Learn More About Snowflakes in Nature

How Snowflakes are Formed: The Science of Snowflakes and Snow Crystals — Learn how snow crystals and snowflakes are formed, and why snow crystals are 6-sided and not 4 or 8-sided.

Enjoy Making Your 6-Sided Paper Snowflakes!

Don’t worry if your snowflakes aren’t perfect!  It may take some time and patience to learn how to fold your paper and to cut it to get the results you want.   No snowflake in nature is perfectly symmetrical, and yours doesn’t have to be either.