/ by Beth Ables
/ photography by Jessica Barley
Paper snowflakes, they seem universal: the folding, cutting and unfurling of these childhood masterpieces, littering the floor with papery bits, the final product soon to be Scotch-taped to a window. But, the art of paper snowflakes has grown up and moved on, today finding a festive place in winter decor.
The history of folding and cutting paper to resemble snowflakes in all of their infinite variations finds its roots in Kirigami, the ancient Japanese art of paper cutting. First used in Japanese temples as offerings to the gods, Kirigami focuses on balance and symmetry. Not to be confused with Origami (the Japanese art of paper folding), Kirigami allows for paper to be both cut and glued or taped together.
Mixed up in childhood nostalgia and the resurgence of handmade craft, finding time to create a papery winter wonderland makes for an afternoon well spent, and the festive results pay homage to a season filled gathering and celebrating. You’ll make memories that you can proudly display throughout the winter season.
As paper is the key player here, think about texture and color when making your choices. Translucent vellum and rich card stock are both good choices, and a monochromatic scheme of silvers and whites works most anywhere.
Use this step-by-step tutorial to fold, cut, and arrange a stunning display.
Step 1: Fold the paper square in half along a diagonal, making a triangle. Then, fold that triangle in half once more.
Step 2: Starting on the side of the folded triangle with only two paper folds, and going towards the completely folded end, cut three parallel lines, stopping just before the fold.
Step 3: Open up your paper all the way, revealing a concentric diamond pattern.
Step 4: Starting in the center, join the two corners of the smallest diamond to form a tube and tape. So the tape does not show, choose a satin variety (not glossy) to keep everything uniform. Tip: Scotch Super-hold tape works well for thicker paper like vellum or card stock.
Step 5: Flip the paper over, find the next diamond, join and tape those corners together. Flip the paper and repeat until all corners are affixed.
Step 6: Repeat these steps five more times, making a total of six points for your snowflake. Tip: you can do 8 or 10 as well, but be sure to stick to even numbers.
Step 7: Take three completed points and staple the ends together. Repeat with the other three. Join the two clusters together and staple again. Make any adjustments needed with small bits of tape. Don’t worry if it’s not perfect. Remember, no snowflake is alike.