How to make a snowflake

Its that time of year. I looked out the window and it is beginning to snow.  Ever since I was very young I loved to make snowflakes.  When I was in grade school Sister Rose Ellen (the most creative nun ever and the school principal) taught me how to fold a snowflake to make it have a much better shape. Here is what a real snowflake looks like under a microscope

Come explore snowflakes from outside and in during this hands-on workshop.

No two are alike, but they all can be equally divided into 6ths.  In order to make a snowflake you need to fold the paper so that you can create those 6 equal parts, Here is how:

First fold a piece of paper diagonally

snowflake step 1

next cut off the excess

snowflake step 2

Now fold this in half (the fold goes in the center of the longest side)

snowflake step 3

Now the hard part, you will not be lining up edges, fold 1/3 to the center, I do this by eye but you could measure

snowflake step 4

next take the 1/3 on the left and fold it over the 1/3 on the right

snowflake step 5

Now you can either just start cutting or you can mark a pattern first.  I drew a tree and snowman on this one

snowflake step 6

whatever is on the folded edges represents 1/2 of what you will see when it is unfolded.  Next cut along the lines

snowflake step 7

you can cut into the lower part to add more design

snowflake step 8

now open it up

snowflake step 9snowflake step 10snowflake step 11

here is one done with out a drawn design, just some cutting

snowflake 12snowflake 13

they look better if you iron them

snowflake 14

and a nice background helps

snowflake 16snowflake 15

I just used computer printer paper, but I could get a lot more delicate cuts if the paper was thinner, tissue paper is great.

I have put together a PDF file of instructions and patterns available at my Etsy store

Wouldn’t this be a great thing to make on a much larger scale and use as the center of a quilt, similar to a traditional Hawaiian quilt.

I think I need to get some really big paper!

Happy cutting and folding


34 thoughts on “How to make a snowflake

  1. Sara says:

    Oh great, now another thing to make!! Now I have to go find some nifty paper to use and start cutting……..

  2. I have been planning to try this concept on a large scale for a bed quilt, even have the batiks in my stash, just never got up the nerve to work on it. It may be my challenge for next winter. Somehow really big snowflakes seem more appropriate to this snowy northern location than all the tropical fauna in a tradtional Hawaiian quilt.

  3. kathie says:

    after you trace them you put them in a manila folder and send them to me!
    I think these would make amazing quilting designs
    wow! the quilt I am working on now will be hand quilted and oh the empty space would look great with snowflakes quilted in them!

  4. Jocelyn says:

    Wow that is amazing!! Thanks for showing how to make the snowflake.

  5. Thanks, my big paladium window is going to get decorated! I agree about them making great quilting designs, now where can I get a large roll of freezer paper.

  6. Joana says:

    I buy end rolls of newsprint at the newspaper when we move–it’s clean, no ink. That would be wider than freezer paper and perhaps thinner, but it isn’t really white. Also–when we lived in Alaska, there was a music festival in our community for people from the Islands—not just off the coast where we lived or down the Aleutians, but from the Pacific islands. There would be a couple of feet of snow on the ground and folks walking around with Hawaiian shirts showing under their parkas. Anyway, the cold north/warm islands thing makes sense, doesn’t it? One other also–one year we didn’t have access to our Christmas things (long story), so my husband bought a strand of clear lights at the dollar store, we had a $10 tree, and the kids made ornaments out of white paper. I wrapped a piece of white batting around the base and it was the most beautiful tree we ever had. 🙂 (Longwinded–sorry)

    • timquilts says:

      I love that story!…home made ornaments are always so special, and the memories of making them …priceless! I might look for the newsprint…still works for a template even if it is not white

  7. jojo says:

    Oh brother Tim. I am obviously incapable of making a snowflake. I only got to the hard part of the step and can’t get my paper to match your picture. lol Back to hand quilting for me.

  8. Ann Hancock says:

    I read a book about Hawaiian (sp?) Quilts this summer, called The Aloha Quilt by Jennifer Chiaverini.(She has written a series of books on quilts and quilters) There was a lot of interesting background on Hawaiian Quilts, which I have always admired. I will have to try to make a snowflake now!

    • timquilts says:

      I will have to look for the book……my understanding of Hawaiian quilts is that there is a lot of meaning in the designs. I have a friend who lived in Hawaii for several years and is married to a native Hawaiian, and she tell me that those quilts are quilt important there….The thing that makes me reluctant to make one is all that applique

      • Ann Hancock says:

        The book talks a lot about all that. It was so interesting! Each pattern is unique, and has a lot of meaning for the designer. And a gift of one of those quilts or the pattern for one, is very significant. I can understand your hesitation about the applique. But you could read the book for a warm-up, haha!

  9. […] see this post for instructions on folding […]

  10. Kathy says:

    do you know what the pattern of the Hawaiian quilt is that you have pictured here? If you know can you let me know.

  11. I just ran across your snowflake tonight. I was thinking instead of trying to make a giant snowflake to use for a quilt, why not just make several smaller ones for the quilt. You must be revisiting this idea since you posted the directions for the snowflake. Thank you for that, I’m going to try this and play with it… thinking wool center piece. Seems like it would be easier than making all these animals I have worked on and stitching them onto a circle. LOL!

    • timquilts says:

      I think there a bunch of different ways to use a snowflake or snowflakes in a quilt…..I just need to find the time to try them all…LOL…..hope you have fun with yours! sounds great

  12. kidosmomD says:

    Does this fold work for the reindeer one also?

  13. […] It is getting cold and there is snow in the forecast for tomorrow.    I decided it is time to make some snowflakes.    Back in 2012 I did a post with a tutorial.   You can read that here […]

  14. Angela Retchko says:

    You have an amazing talent, not with just the designing, folding, and cutting of these snowflakes, but also with the creative mind that conjures up these unique ideas. Of course the quilts are astounding! I envy your creativity!

  15. Peggy says:

    I would like to try this. Can you recommend a particular type/style of scissors? Is smaller better? Are they called something special?

  16. eileensideways says:

    thank you for sharing your creativity.


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