Nothing quite finishes up a holiday decorating job-well-done like homemade paper snowflakes. Whether you and your brood are experienced snowflake snippers or are making your first apprehensive folds and cuts, our handy guide is your key to keeping each flake festive and fun.
Required Materials: Plain white paper cut into squares (any size will do, but 4-6 inches per side is a good size to start), scissors, pencil. Optional: Pinking shears, one-hole punch.
Step 1: Fold the square diagonally into a triangle. For younger kids (up to about age 5), proceed to Step 2. For older kids, keep folding the triangle in half two or three more times. The more folds in the triangle, the more repetitious and prettier the design—but the harder it will be to cut the paper.
Step 2: Use the pencil to lightly outline of the design you want to cut. Keep in mind that anytime you cut into a folded edge in the paper, the shape you cut will be mirrored across the fold—so if you a semi-circle right over the fold, you’ll end up with a whole circle. Cuts made to the middle of the paper—where two folded edges come together—will replicate several times within the final design.
Step 3: Use scissors and, if you wish, pinking shears and a one-hole punch to cut out your design. Remember: Never cut all the way along a folded edge, otherwise the snowflake will be cut in half (or thirds or fourths) and fall apart when unfolded.
Step 4: Unfold your triangle once and inspect your design. Feel free to add a few more cuts at this stage as you see fit, then continue unfolding to reveal the flat, finished snowflake.
Step 5: Smooth out the creases (you can even lightly use a clothing iron for ultimate flatness) and use your flakes to adorn window panes, Christmas trees, tabletops, wrapped gifts, and more!
Bonus craft: Got leftover scraps? Use them to make mini-snowflakes—the varied sizes look artsy and fun.