If you’ve got a houseful of bored people or just wish you lived someplace snowy, this is the perfect craft. You can’t very well go skiing on paper snowflakes but they add a nice wintery touch your house long after the Christmas decorations have been put away. They are also very addictive to make. Our family can spend hours cutting these out. This tutorial will help you make very detailed, extra-fancy snowflakes. Little hands might have trouble with the details, but older kids and adults will be fine. They are surprisingly easy and cheap to do. If you think you could never make these, I promise you’re wrong. They look much harder to make than they are. Give them a try!
The materials you need to make paper snowflakes couldn’t be simpler: paper, scissors and a pencil. You can definitely use any kind of paper but run-of-the-mill printer-type paper is kind of thick and makes it nearly impossible to get super fine details. The first year I made snowflakes I only used regular paper and I was thrilled with the results. But the next year I wanted make them even better; I wanted to make mine more detailed and elaborate. If you want to make the prettiest, fanciest snowflakes you’ll need very thin paper and nice pointy scissors. I prefer tracing paper. It’s quite thin and translucent and is absolutely lovely if you hang the snowflakes in your windows. When the sun shines through them they have a soft glow that you don’t get if you use regular printer paper which is completely opaque. This brand is my favorite (I bought this pad of 50 sheets at Michaels for $8. Actually, I had a coupon so it was about $5. Cheap!). Tracing paper is a lot easier to cut as well. Your hands will be aching after a while when you cut regular paper. I also recommend some nice sharp-tipped scissors. These were in the scrapbooking department and cost about $8.
Step One: Take a sheet of paper and fold it in half. Make a nice sharp crease. The entire time you’re folding your paper the crease will be closest to you and the loose edges will be further away.
Step Two: Fold the paper in half but only crease the very bottom. We don’t want it to stay folded; we just want to mark a halfway point. Open the paper back up so it’s a half-sheet again.
Step Three: Take the lower right side and fold it over, starting at the midpoint where you made your little crease.
Step Four: Fold the lower left corner over and crease.
Step Five: Flip the paper over so it’s on it’s back.
Step Six: Fold the left side over so it’s completely even with the right side and crease it.
You can’t tell in this picture, but you’ll have a paper edge right along that dotted line. This is where you’ll make a cut.
Step Seven: Cut along the slanted edge. The bottom triangular part will be your snowflake. The top bits can be thrown away.
Step Eight: Now is the time to draw on a pattern with pencil. The idea is to cut away most of the paper. I’ve drawn the pattern on this snowflake. To make it easier to see I’ve lightly colored the areas that will be cut away. Only the white parts will remain. This seems a little daunting and scary but it’s amazing how just about any design looks wonderful. You might think you need patterns or ideas but just experiment; you’ll get to be an expert surprisingly fast.
Step nine: Use your nice sharp scissors to carefully cut out your design. An unfolded snowflake is not much to look at.
Step Ten: Unfold your snowflake ever so gently. These things rip like the dickens so be careful!
Look how lovely! Prepare to feel an absurd amount of satisfaction. Now if only this snowflake didn’t look so . . . foldy.
Step Eleven: Iron your snowflake. What? Iron paper?!? Won’t it burst into flames? Not if your iron is on the lowest setting. If you try to iron your snowflake by itself the iron will get caught on all the little details and rip your snowflake to pieces. So we’re going to take two sheets of printer paper and make a snowflake sandwich. Put one piece of paper on your ironing board, then put the snowflake on top of it. Top it off with another sheet of plain paper. Now iron it gently on low heat. It won’t take more than a minute.
All done! Now go forth and multiply some snowflakes! Here’s a hint if you’ll be taping them to windows: don’t place the tape on the outer edges of the snowflake; place the tape inside of the details. It will be much less obvious. I recommend transparent tape but plain old Scotch tape is fine.
To get an idea of how snowflake designs translate from folded up to unfolded, here are some examples:
Happy Winter! Enjoy your snowflake-making!
22 thoughts on “How To Make Elaborate Paper Snowflakes”
Wow… you could sell those they are so pretty. Maybe you could put up some patterns for those of us who are craft challenged!????
I’ve made 16 of them now and my hand hurts. I’ll make more tomorrow though because they are mighty addictive.
Love your iron. So cute and chubby.
Those look amazing ! You are so talented. I am wondering if I could ever make them and have them come out as good as yours! Maybe I will practice for a year :p
How do you ever find the time, my dear?
Holy schnikeys, those are beautiful! I think I’m headed out to get some tracing paper! Very cool, and not something I’ve seen all over blog land.
We made paper snowflakes this year and they do NOT look nearly as good as those.
Tracing paper! That is the key!!! I wish you’d told me sooner. We tried this last year as per your advice (only with copy paper) and it was so thick we couldn’t cut through it, even the grown ups. Our designs were very simple, therefore, and totally boring. I’m going to get some tracing paper and try this again.
Was browsing through blogs trying to find nice snowflake tutorials and I saw yours, immediately bookmarked it. Thanks for giving a really easy step-by-step tutorial with pictures, very much appreciated. Though it makes me sad to say that I think someone used your pictures and I’m pretty sure without permission because they made it look like it was from their own site. I think they also copied your steps word-by-word. Some people… Here’s the link http://apolo7-net.blogspot.com/2012/01/how-to-make-elaborate-paper-snowflakes.html
Thanks for the kind words, Nicole! Snowflake making is totally addictive. And it’s nice to have decorations that you don’t have to take down when Christmas ends.
I can’t believe somebody ripped off my tutorial (actually, yes I can). I figured if I used my own hands in the pictures that would make people think twice! Guess not.
Those are just the prettiest snowflakes I’ve seen. I bought bulk coffee filters and they are so ever EZ to cut!
Your snowflakes are gorgeous. I used to make these with my students a LONG time ago. Thanks for posting the instructions – I had forgotten how to do steps 5 through 7! Now I can do them again, this time with my grand daughter.
They’re such a perfect craft for boring December afternoons! Have fun with your granddaughter!
Wow!!! Such a great idea and they are so very beautiful. I will definitely be making some of these for next winter. I went to see the person that stold your idea and I made a comment of how sad it is for someone to do such a thing. Hildie, keep making your BEAUTIFUL snowflakes because I will be visiting your blog/website and not a thiefs.
Debbie, It’s not too late to make snowflakes. You’ve got a couple more months! Sadly, there are major thieves all over the internet. That’s what I get for not watermarking my photos. Have a great day!
You make amazing paper snowflakes. You are a great artist. Really you are.
Thanks so much Tim. It’s not as hard as it looks. The nice thing about snowflakes is that it’s pretty easy to make them look spectacular. I hope you give it a try. Maybe you’re a snowflake artist waiting to happen, too!
Found your most wonderful way to make snowflakes from the Nester’s blog. I’m going to try after Christmas but will go get the supplies tomorrow. Thank you for sharing. I don’t read many blogs but after finding yours I made it a favorite. Thanks again. And I’m sure my granddaughter will be excited as this is something we can do together.
Thanks for reading, Pam! Good look on the snowflakes!
Thanks for the great idea! Very creative and fun 🙂
Instead of using tape, i use a few touches of craft glue stick for kids. When i take the snowflakes down they are put away till next Christmas time in a folder. I’m gonna make some more now that i have come across your beautiful site.
All these years I have been doing the folding all wrong. I just used copy paper and they turned out great. Although the tracing paper is a bit easier. Lots of fun. Quite addicting! When I was looking for this tutorial I was scrolling through your others and there are some really fun things on there. I can’t wait to read some of your other stuff. Shared it with my family!