December is the prime time for making paper snowflakes. Especially because it’s looking a lot like – once again – a White Christmas isn’t something that’s in the cards for us this year. If I’m being honest, I don’t like a lot of snow. Or cold. Or being bundled into a giant sweater-coat-combo-snowman-shaped-blob just to leave my house. Let’s just say I’m not big on the months from November to February. Even so, there’s something about a fresh layer of powder around the holidays that still holds magic for me. I can grump about snow and slush from January into March (or sometimes April here in Chicago), but give me at least ONE GOOD SNOWFALL in December; preferably nearer the 25th.
“The first fall of snow is not only an event, it is a magical event. You go to bed in one kind of a world and wake up in another quite different, and if this is not enchantment then where is it to be found?”
J. B. Priestley
Luckily for me, one of my favorite crafts to make are paper snowflakes. We learned to make paper snowflakes when I worked at the Museum of Science and Industry, and I went Hog Wild that year. If I was standing still at any point in time, I was cutting snowflakes. I COVERED our break room in the Idea Factory in festive flakes, and just kept going. Every year, I pull out my pile of not-so-carefully saved snowflakes cut into the back of old daily schedules for work that I still hang in my windows every year.
I love finding new crafts to commemorate the changing of seasons that Penny can participate in. Obviously, scissors and a two year old don’t go together, but Penny adores painting, and thin watercolor appropriate papers make the best flakes. So without much further ado: here’s how you can incorporate your tinier kiddos into your holiday decoration.
Gather supplies for paper snowflakes:
- Watercolors – I went with Crayola watercolors because Penny is just going to mix all the colors, so I didn’t want to spend a ton.
- Paper – THIN is best. Our standard computer paper worked well enough, but I picked up a pad of marker paper that was better, and I am tempted to give tracing paper a try (but I’m not sure how well the watercolors would adhere).
- Scissors! Make sure they’re nice and sharp.
Let your toddler paint away to their heart’s desire.
Crayons, colored pencil, and marker would obviously also work, but Penelope LOVES to paint.
Trim dried paper into a Square
I have a paper cutter I use to trim my headshots down to 8×10. I love it. You definitely don’t need one, but you DO need a square sheet of paper to start with. 😉
Fold snowflake base.
I’m going to include my step-by-step photos of folding and cutting, but this link has great instructions about folding for a six-pointed flake. Please, for the love of crystalline structures, make six-pointed snowflakes. Please. For Science.
*Helpful hint: making your folds as sharp and crisp as possible will make subsequent folds easier to make and your final flake cleaner. I recommend running your fingernails over the folds to make them as sharp as possible.*
WHEW! Now you’re ready to:
Cut Your Paper Snowflakes!
GO HOG WILD! …ok… not EXACTLY, but the sky is the limit for how you can cut your flake. I like to keep my cuts to a minimum (if I don’t like the snowflake, I can always fold it back up and add more cuts), and keep my lines of “leftover paper” at an equal width. For my flake for the post, I cut six shapes out.
- The top cut
- A trapezoid shape
- Three Triangles
- (See Above)
- (See Above)
- The bottom cut
Again, all of my remaining paper is the same width. This is a personal preference after cutting LOTS of snowflakes and seeing what I liked. I tend not to cut circles or round shapes out, and like to stay simple.
Unfold your snowflake!
Voila! Marvel at your watercolor, toddler-collaborated, paper creation!
I like to hang mine with fishing line from the ceiling or tape them to the window during the winter. Alternatively, you could glue them to darker colored paper and use them as Christmas/Hanukkah/Literally ANY other celebration cards, or embellish them with glitter for even MORE festive fun.
I made the snowflake in this photo out of a heavier weight craft paper. It’s doable, and I love the idea of brightly colored snowflakes all over the walls, but the heavier weight papers are DEFINITELY more difficult to fold AND cut. They’ll hold up straighter on their own, but I’ve never had a problem with paper the weight of your standard computer paper. Plus, it’s cheaper!
“A snow day literally and figuratively falls from the sky—unbidden—and seems like a thing of wonder.”
So whether you receive enough snow for a snow recreation of the Terra Cotta Army, or barely a yeti’s fart you can still bring some wonder and seasonal joy into your home – and maybe spread some of that joy to others.