Thursday, November 8, 2012

Cut Paper Snowflakes - Inexpensive and Beautiful

After a hiatus of almost two weeks because I was busy, busy, busy.....I am back and here it is November the 8th already.  Christmas is only 48 days away.  EEEEEEEEEEK!  There are so many projects to do and gifts to make.  It is time to get with it Grandma!

Our grandsons attend a Waldorf school and their biggest fundraiser of the year is called The Elve's Faire which is this Saturday.  Every family is supposed to donate 12 hand made crafts to the faire.  They also have vendors who rent booths, live music and food.  I am SO excited to go and see all the beautiful things people have made.  Our daughter has 3 young sons, a writing career, an online book club on education that she hosts, she is a representative on the parent council at school and has a home to care for.  I took pity on her and told her I would make her crafts (I think I heard a large sigh of relief when I said I would do that for her)!

Waldorf schools encourage children to use their imaginations when it comes to toys and games.  They highly discourage electronics which is okay by me.  Many of the people in Silicon Valley send their children to Waldorf schools which I find highly interesting.  The children begin doing crafting in Kindergarden which is wonderful and they craft all the way through school.  They start by finger knitting.  It is amazing to see all the little ones knitting away and they easily progress to knitting with pencils and then needles.  They do woodworking and all kinds of really beautiful art.

All crafts for the faire are to be made from natural materials, nothing synthetic.  Now that puts a whole new light on the subject of craft making.  That means no acrylic felt, nothing plastic, nothing polyester and that eliminates a lot of crafting materials.  What to do, what to do.

Last year, I made these cut paper snowflakes with the boys and Holly fell in love with them, so she asked that these be one of the crafts.  That was okay by me because I have tons of book pages and music pages from another craft project that I had done.  These are a little time consuming, but oh so beautiful.  They can be made in any size depending on the size squares you start with.  Last winter we made huge white snowflakes using some 100% cotton paper that I had.  Holly loved my book page wreath that I made so much, that I decided to use book pages and music pages for this project.  Here is what you do.

First, choose the paper you want to use.  I chose these pages.
These really are not hard and you will find if you do each step as written, it will be much easier than you think.  If you simply look at it and read it, you may be confused.

You will cut out 6 or 8 squares for each snowflake.  I used a box lid that is 4 inches square for my template.  (Remember, this will give you an 8 inch snowflake because you are going to glue two sets of sections together.)  Trace around your square, whatever size you are using, and cut out 6 or 8 squares.

Fold each square corner to corner, to make a triangle.

Fold again corner to corner to make a smaller triangle.
If you are right handed, keep the fold to the left and cut through all the layers 3 times.  I started on the outside and cut toward the middle.  Using your scissors, you are going to cut about 3/4 of the way up on the first cut and then graduate down slightly on the remaining two,  leaving about 1/2 inch of space between each cut.  If you are left handed, simply reverse the process placing the fold on your right.
Open up all the squares after you have cut them.
Now, the fun part!  This is where the gluing begins.  I used a glue stick and the brand I use is from Big Lots (it is their brand) and is called Bridgeport and has a blue wrapper.  Best glue stick I have ever found and the only one I use.  It sets up immediately.  No waiting.  Hot glue can work, but you risk burning yourself and you may have lumps in the folded over sections left from the glue.  The choice is yours. 

 This is what you do first. 
Place some glue from the glue stick on the inside of the bottom cut piece and fold it over the top piece.  I put a pencil in while doing this so I don't mash the center.  Remove the pencil after a couple of seconds.  

Here is how I do the glue.
I place my thumb against the outside of the piece I am gluing so I have something to press against.  Rub the glue around a couple of times on the tip of the cut piece.  Be careful not to tear the paper (and yes, you will have glue all over your thumb like in the picture). Pull up the same cut piece from the other side,  fold the glued piece  over the bottom piece, pinch between your fingers and hold just a couple of seconds.
When you are making each piece of the "flake", you will fold one piece forward, the next piece back, the next piece forward and the final piece back.

The biggest piece will get folded last and it will look like this from the top.
It's really pretty cool how it works.  Once you get the hang of it, it will go faster, but it does take some time to cut, fold and glue all the pieces - just warning you.  Once you have 6 or 8 pieces glued, put half of the pieces together (3 or 4) making two sets.  Make sure the pieces are all going the same way.  I like my biggest piece to go to the left.  It's your choice.  Put some glue on the top of the piece and glue to a second piece, repeat with the third and fourth piece.
Now, put glue on the top of one side of a set of flakes and glue on the opposite side on the other set.  Press them together.  This takes a little dexterity to get your fingers in there and hold them until the glue sets.  Just be careful not to tear the paper.  Once you have put the two sets together, go around the snowflake and glue the pieces together at the "touch points" where all the pieces naturally touch each other.
Here is the finished product.  This is where I realized that I have a set of threes and a finished picture of 8.  Duh.  Sorry.  You do the same thing either way.
I made a hanger for the top by hot gluing a loop of white embroidery thread to the tip.  I didn't want to tear the paper by putting a hole in it or thread through the cut pieces.  I also brushed the flakes with white glue and sprinkled them with Martha Stewart fine glitter in crystal and silver.  I'm sorry it doesn't show up in the pictures, but they are beautiful "in person."

Here is my final bunch of snowflakes.
They are really lovely for hanging on the tree, in windows, on mantels, or anywhere you choose.  These would make lovely gifts for teachers, neighbors, co-workers, or anyone you would like to remember with something that doesn't cost a fortune.  One used book will make lots of snowflakes.
These would be fun for an afternoon or evening crafting project with your children or grandchildren - even in a class room or Sunday school class.  It doesn't have to be expensive to be beautiful or thoughtful.

Keep this project in mind for the upcoming holidays.  I used them in my windows after Christmas last year during that gloomy January/February part of the winter before Valentine's day.  Have fun with this one!

Everyday Donna

Things to Remember:

Memories of making things for Christmas are some of my fondest childhood memories.  Don't forget to make some memories with those you love.

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