Friday, December 5, 2014

Christmas Crafts - Making Paper Snowflakes and Garlands

When my mom worked at the University of Michigan Hospital, there would be various art exhibits on display in the lobbies and different wings. One display that would come back each year was of paper snowflakes, crafted by a surgeon, Dr. Thomas Clark, now retired. These were not just any elementary school square paper snowflakes, these were cut-with-surgical-tools-with-the-tiniest-of-details snowflakes, and a wonder to behold...He would do a series, like, "The Twelve Days of Christmas" with a snowflake depicting each gift from each day...  (There is a video at the bottom of this post for one of his series.  Be sure to watch!)

And while not all of us have the patience, or surgical skills, necessary to create such amazing pieces of paper art, we can still have some fun creating our own winter lace. Here are some basic steps to get started.

Supplies:
  • Paper, lots of paper
  • Sharp scissors - smaller might be better, and for smaller, intricate details, cuticle scissors would be helpful
  • A (fairly) clear table to work on
And these are helpful, but optional:
  • Christmas music - to set the mood
  • Friends
  • Hot cocoa, tea or coffee (but not too much caffeine or those details could get shaky!)
First how to fold the paper:

There are many versions of these instructions, but I will walk through the steps here, with photos:

We need a square piece of paper.
  
After folding, we will need to lightly draw a design for our snowflake.  I chose to try some holly leaves...go figure. :)
Then, we cut! Take your time here, so your details are clear.
Carefully unfold your masterpiece to see what the design looks like.  Ta-DAH!
Repeat as often as you like to build your flurry, snowfall, blizzard, whiteout... you get the idea! Try different designs, remember no two snowflakes are alike!  Or work with the same design, they will still be very individual and beautiful!

One way to use some of your snowflakes is by making a garland with them.
Supplies for this:
  • Snowflakes
  • String, yarn or twine
  • Craft glue or hot glue (optional)
  1. Determine where and how you want to hang your garland, and then measure and cut enough yarn or string to reach.
  2. Then, depending on your snowflake designs, simply weave the string through openings in your snowflakes, or glue the snowflakes to the string, spacing them as you go.
You may need to allow a little drying time for the craft glue option... and voila! Your wintery wonderland is beginning to take shape!

Here is another garland option:  Take a simple triangle and trace it onto various papers.  Cut out the triangles, punch holes in the corners and string the pennants one by one.  You could stamp, write or glue letters on to make it a banner too! Then hang them above a doorway, on a wall, around your tree...

These are some of the papers I used for a fall garland, but am working on some Christmas papers for this season.  That is one of the great things about paper, it is fun and easy to make things for each season! 

Here is a video with some of Dr. Clark's snowflakes (Part one of two...) check it out!

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