A Beginner Crafter’s Guide: How to Make a Paper Snowflake

Who remembers making these out of napkins when they were a kid? Anyone used up a whole package of napkins and had their parents wondering why there’s none left to use at dinner… the night sloppy joe sandwiches were served? No? Just us? 

Anyway, paper snowflakes are a time-honored tradition during the winter holiday season, and are believed to have originated during the Victorian Era, when long evenings and cold weather kept the whole family occupied at home. 

You can make beautiful flurries using printer paper, writing paper or craft paper. You’ll also need a pair of craft scissors.

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Selecting paper is important. Don’t use anything that’s too heavy in weight, as you won’t be able to fold neatly or cut through all the layers evenly. Starting with an 8.5”x11” piece of paper, we chose writing paper for our snowflakes. It's 25 percent cotton and has a bit of texture but is still smooth and we can cut through all the layers.

Six-Point Paper Snowflake

This is perhaps the most commonly made paper snowflake, as naturally occurring snow crystals almost always have six sides. You can read more about this in this article from the Smithsonian Magazine

step 1 for making a six point snowflake

Step One: Fold the sheet at a diagonal and cut off excess. You should have an 8.5”x8.5” square.

step 2 for making a six point snowflake

Step Two: Fold back at the diagonal into a triangle.

step 3 for making a six point snowflake

Step Three: Fold again so that the two acute points meet. Gently press the edge for a smooth fold.

step 4 for making a six point snowflake

Step Four: Fold into thirds by overlapping. You should have a shape that looks like an arrowhead. 

step 5 for making a six point snowflake

Step Five: Trim off excess so that all thirds are the same size.

Step Five: Trim off excess

You now have a “blank” for your snowflake. Repeat steps one through five for each six-point snowflake you’ll make.

Step Six: Using scissors, trim away paper on both sides. Start with straight lines that meet at a point so you can practice cutting through layers of paper. As a general rule, the more you trim off, the more delicate the snowflake design will be.

Step Seven: Carefully unfold your paper to reveal the snowflake. To flatten, place under something weighted like a book. 

Tool Tip: For an advanced design, try curved nose scissors for cutting small round shapes like hearts, teardrops and more. 

Star of David Paper Snowflake

A variation on the six-point snowflake, this design is ideal for decorating the home for Hanukkah. This variation is simple and beautiful. Make a few for a minimalist decor or make many for a full display. 

a pile of star of david paper snowflakes

Follow steps one through six and then cut away paper like in the image below. This will give you a six-pointed star shape. Using scissor tips or a craft knife, you can add a design to the edge by cutting a zig-zag, a scallop or even fringe. To avoid any damage to the cutting surface, make sure to use a cutting mat and remember to replace your stainless steel blades if they are worn.

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a cut and folded paper triangle next to a pair of scissors on a cutting mat

Tool Tip: When cutting out shapes, use the front tips of your scissors for a better cut. When cutting shapes to a point, listen for the “snap” of your scissors. This means both edges cut through all paper layers. 

Eight-Point Paper Snowflake

The eight-point snowflake can become very ornate with just a few cuts since there are more folds. The image below illustrates the difference between a six-point and an eight-point snowflake, where the same cuts were made on both. Once unfolded, the eight-point snowflake design looks more intricate and has more “negative space.” 

a couple of eight point paper snowflakes against a hot pink background

Use a lighter weight paper or even tissue paper for this version, as this snowflake requires more folds and you're going to be cutting through additional layers. 

step 1 for making an eight point snowflake

Step One: Fold the sheet at a diagonal and cut off excess. You should have an 8.5”x8.5” square. Press down along the fold for a neat line.

step 2 for making an eight point snowflake

Step Two: Fold the square back at the diagonal into a triangle. Gently press along the edge for a smooth and crisp fold.

step 3 for making an eight point snowflake

Step Three: Fold again so that the two acute points meet. Gently press the edge for a smooth fold.

step 4 for making an eight point snowflake

Step Four: Fold in half again, pressing along the edge once more.

step 5 for making an eight point snowflake

Step Five: Once again fold in half. This step will be harder if the paper is thick. Smooth out the edges for a crisp fold. 

step 6 for making an eight point snowflake

Step Six: Cut off the excess. This is your eight-pointed paper snowflake blank. Repeat steps one through six for every new snowflake.

Step Seven: Cut out the shapes on both sides and be sure to carefully cut through all the layers. Carefully open up the paper snowflake to reveal the final design. Press flat by placing a book on top. 

a couple of five point paper snowflakes on a christmas tree

Five-Point Paper Snowflake

This one has fewer layers so it is easier to cut, but a bit more complicated to fold. If geometry was your favorite subject in school, this is the one for you!

step 1 for making a five point snowflake

Step One: Start with an 8.5”x11” sheet of paper in the Landscape orientation. We have not tested this in A4 format. Let us know in the comment section if you have and if it works!

step 2 for making a five point snowflake

Step Two: Fold in half. Press along the edge for a smooth fold.

step 3 for making a five point snowflake

Step Three: Fold in half again, creasing the fold and then unfold.

step 4 for making a five point snowflake

Step Four: The next few steps may seem tricky at first, but you’ll get there. First, bring the left bottom corner to the top of the fold line like in the diagram above.

step 5 for making a five point snowflake

Step Five: Bring the “new” right bottom corner over and fold so that “Edge B” is in line with “Edge A.” Press on the crease for a smooth fold.

step 6 for making a five point snowflake

Step Six: Fold back the upper right corner along “Edge B.”

step 7 for making a five point snowflake

Step Seven: Trim off excess with scissors. This is now your blank for a five-point snowflake. 

Step Eight: Cut away on both edges and carefully unfold to reveal your design.

Have fun with these and don’t forget to share your beautiful creations by tagging us on social media @excelblades and #excelblades. 

variety paper cutout snowflakes

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