Paper Snowflakes


I learned to make paper cut snowflakes at Morse Elementary School, in Mrs. Johnson’s third grade class, back in the sixties.  She taught us how to fold a piece of paper to get true six-fold symmetry, just like real snowflakes have. The snowflakes I cut out then were not as small or an intricate as the ones I make now–they were quite large, better suited for decorating a classroom than a Christmas tree.  The important thing I learned was how to fold a piece of paper so as to have six-fold symmetry. Miniaturization came later.

Several decades later, I decided to spend my family practice rotation in the upper peninsula of Michigan, in the Keweenaw, studying and living with Dr. Baron and his family.  My rotation happened to be in December, and the constant flurries of the Copper Country inspired me to take up snowflake cutting again.  I cut many medium sized snowflakes which we used to decorate the office. 

A few years later, when I was out on my own, I decided I wanted a real Christmas tree, like those I’d experienced in my youth and in the UP.  I was still in training at the time, and couldn't afford a lot of ornaments.  So I got hand-me-downs from family, bought a few strings of lights, and made my own–including miniature paper snowflakes.

I have remained fascinated by snowflakes in the years since, both real ones and paper ones.  I have been cutting out small snowflakes, ironing them, and hanging them on my Christmas tree for several decades now.  I use thin, inexpensive paper (typing paper was the best; cheap stationery works well, too), cut it into three-inch squares, and then fold them and use small, sharp scissors to cut my designs.

In the gallery are scans of a few of the snowflakes I cut out this year 2011, and a few older ones that needed ironing and ended up mixed in. Each year I throw out a few torn and ragged snowflakes, and cut out several new ones for the tree, and a few more as gifts.  I hung approximately 750 of these on my Christmas tree in 2010.

In this section I have included instructions for folding, cutting pressing, hanging and storing small paper snowflakes.  There are also photos in the gallery. 

Enjoy, and have fun!

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