Paper snowflakes can be a warm winter craft for the whole family that will result in a beautiful indoor snowfall. Children enjoy the wonders of watching simple cuts in paper magically transform into delicate and complicated shapes. Cutting snowflakes teaches children the rules of the natural mathematical symmetry that exists in ice crystals. Learning how to make paper snowflakes is not as hard as you may think.

Different Types of Paper Snowflakes

Paper snowflakes come in all shapes and sizes. The wonderful thing about paper snowflakes is that, just like real snowflakes, no two are ever exactly alike. Paper snowflakes can be simple two-dimensional window hangings, a la Jack Frost. Some are elaborate three-dimensional artistic masterpieces. No matter which you would like to make, look below for some simple steps for how to make paper snowflakes.

Necessary Supplies

tape scissor and other paper craft tools in the table

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Gather the supplies you will need to make your blizzard. You will need paper, scissors or an Exacto knife, string, a stapler, coffee filters, and tape. For the simplest snowflakes, any piece of paper and a pair of scissors is all you need. The brightest white paper will help you make the most realistic snowflakes, but any color paper will work. If working with small children, safety scissors are a great idea. If you are trying to make more elaborate snowflakes with delicate lines and you are an adult, consider using an Exacto knife to cut out your patterns.

How to Make Paper Snowflakes

There are many methods for how to make paper snowflakes. Some methods are simple enough for young children to do with supervision and others very complicated, involving measuring, mathematics, and precision. Deciding which method you use will largely depend on who is making the snowflakes, what your goal is for snowflake production, and how much time you have. We have outlined a few methods below for making snowflakes.

Simple Two-Dimensional Snowflake

Paper snow flakes in red carpet

​Image Source: Pixabay

Step One: Fold One Triangle

The first steps in how to make paper snowflakes are a lot of folding. Depending on the age of your snowflake helpers, they may need some help with steps one through three. Starting with a square piece of paper, fold your paper in half to make a triangle.

Step Two: Fold Again

Turn your triangle and fold it in half again.

Step Three: Fold in Thirds

Carefully fold your triangle into thirds, and then trim the bottom flat.

Step Four: Get Creative

Now, you can cut bits and shapes out of the paper. This is when you actually form the snowflake. This is the most fun part for little ones, so consider having lots of folded papers ready for cutting.

Step Five: Unfold

Once you have cut all the pieces you want, unfold it and press flat. You now see the beauty created.

Step Six: Hang Your Snowflake

Snowflakes can be taped up in windows, strung and hung from the ceiling, or laid out on tables.

Three-Dimensional Snowflake

Are you up for learning how to make paper snowflakes that are a little more complicated than the ones you made in grade school? These beautiful snowflakes will add style to your next winter party and amaze your guests with their intricacies. This is just one example of many types of three-dimensional snowflakes that look complex but are easy to learn.

Step One: Choose Your Paper

You will need six square pieces of paper for one snowflake. Again, white is the classic snowflake color. However, you can choose many different varieties of color; we do recommend you avoid yellow snow.

Step Two: Fold

For each square of paper, fold diagonally to make a triangle, and then turn and fold diagonally again.

Step Three: Cut

Starting at the newly creased fold, cut three equally distant strips into your triangles. Move towards the side with the first fold, but not all the way through. Try to make your cuts even, and use care if your paper is very thick.

Step Four: Unfold

Unfold your six triangles until they are a square again. You should now see a square that if turned on its end looks like a diamond with several more diamonds nested inside of it.

Step Five: Roll the Center

With the point of one diamond facing you, roll the two innermost flaps towards each other, overlapping their points to form a tube. You should see triangles on either side. Next, tape the ends together.

Step Six: Turn and Repeat

Turn the paper over. Roll the next closest two flaps toward each other, overlap at the points, and tape together. Repeat twice more, turning, rolling, and taping until all flaps are joined, forming four distinct tubes with two on each side.

Step Seven: Repeat For All Pieces

Repeat steps two through six for all six squares.

Step Eight: Join Three Pieces

Take three of your snowflake pieces and join them at the base, stapling or gluing them together at their ends. Repeat the same for the other three.

Step Nine: Join the Two

Take the two halves of your snowflake made up of three individual pieces each and join them to each other using stables or glue.

Step Ten: Secure

Attach the snowflakes with staples, glue, or tape where their arms meet. This will prevent them from falling apart.

Step Eleven: Decorate

These snowflakes can be used as centerpieces, hung on walls, windows, or dangled from the ceiling, or hung on mantelpieces and in doorways.

The Mathematical Snowflake

Learning how to make paper snowflakes can be combined with math lessons to teach fractions in a fun and dynamic way. Younger children can appreciate counting how many valleys are in their coffee filter and how that relates to the number of arms their snowflake has. Older children may use a protractor to examine angles within the snowflake. All will marvel at the mathematical symmetry and how, with a properly folded piece of paper, it is nearly impossible to get an asymmetrical snowflake. Consider using a paper coffee filter, a pencil, and some scissors for this one.

Step One: ​Fold

Coffee filters are great for mathematical snowflakes because they are very thin. Fold them in half from the point again and again until you have a folded the piece of paper about two centimeters across the top. Next, count the folds.

Step Two: ​Cut

Have the child cut out as much of one edge of the snowflake as they want. Stop and ask how many arms the snowflake will have. Can we predict how many according to the folds we made or the cuts?

Step Three: ​Unfold

Unfold the snowflake and observe its symmetry. Count the arms. How do the number of arms relate to the number of folds you made? How do they relate to the number of cuts?

Step Four: ​Angles and Fraction

If your student is old enough, using a protractor can help them determine angles between the arms of the snowflakes. How can they change the angles of snowflakes by adjusting how many folds they make in the paper? The removal of snowflake arms can demonstrate fractions. If the snowflake had six symmetrical rams and now has five, what fraction of the arms has it lost?

Step Five: ​Simple Math

​If a snowflake loses an arm, ask the child to subtract the lost arm from the total arms the snowflake began with. Can they infer how many snowflake arms there are in total if we rip one off and place it on the table when five remain intact? Divide the ten snowflake arms the snowflake started with by the two arms that have come off. What percentage of the snowflake's arms have fallen off?

Snowflake Templates

Different kinds of snow flakes template in blue background

​Image Source: Pixabay

Another option for making snowflakes is to use a template. Freeform snowflakes allow the make to express creativity and create paper snowflakes that are as unique as real snowflakes. However, snowflake templates are also available online and at craft shops that give you thousands of delicate patterns for your creations. If you are creating snowflakes for an upscale party or a wedding, we recommend investing in a snowflake pattern book and an Exacto knife. Learning how to make snowflakes that are intricate and detailed is a fun challenge.

You can find snowflake patterns that span a wide variety of themes. The perfect snowflakes can accent any party theme, and choosing a template is an easy way to guarantee your journey for how to make paper snowflakes that turn out as you intend.

Some snowflake templates you can download for free include:

  • ​Spiderwebs
  • ​Winged and feathered
  • ​Baroque style
  • ​Liquid Looking
  • ​Spiked
  • ​Sparkly
  • ​Seahorse
  • ​Fire
  • ​Video game theme
  • ​Teddy Bears
  • ​Paper dolls
  • ​Lace
  • ​Heart
  • ​Dragons
  • ​Christmas Tree
  • ​Fish
  • ​Starlight
  • ​Suns
  • ​Ringed
  • ​Pointy


Learning how to make paper snowflakes is a wonderful activity for dark wintertime evenings. Paper snowflakes make perfect decorations for a winter-themed event. Homes become more festive during the winter holiday times when paper snowflakes decorate the walls and windows. Mathematics become interesting and fun when combined with fascinating and magical craft. Why not choose one of the how-to guides above to learn how to make paper snowflakes yourself?

​Featured Image Source: Unsplash

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