My absolute favorite winter craft to do with kids is making snowflakes because they satisfy the needs of the kids (to be easy) and the needs of me (to enable endless creative happiness). We used to make them out of tissue paper, which works okay, but there is a good amount of prep for those and the paper can tear easily in the hands of a kid. One day, as though a sign from the weather craft gods, a friend gave me some old coffee filters that she couldn’t use because they didn’t fit in her new coffee maker. (I am often the recipient of things people can’t use, but don’t want to throw out, which is sort of lucky for me as I have an endless supply of crafty goods.) The coffee filters didn’t fit in my coffee maker either, but lo and behold they make the perfect snowflake medium. Thin enough to cut, strong enough not to tear and already in a perfect circle shape, so no pre-cutting necessary.
Over Christmas we had a snowflake-cutting contest with Jim’s side of the family. It was a pleasant affair, totally non-competitive, which is a foreign concept to my side of the family. Anyway, the snowflakes shown above are from the contest. I think they reveal telling things about the people who made them. Pia’s is the one on the far left in the middle row. It is simple, with straight line cuts. Another family member, who clearly never took a meteorology class unfolded the pre-folded snowflakes so she could make hers into a four-sided snowflake. My father-in-law, an art education professor, mind you, made the one in the bottom right corner. When questioned about his, um, total lack of snowflake-cutting-skill he replied that “he was trying to do something”. It is unclear what that was.
In the event that you, too, have a coffee maker that has outgrown your supply of coffee filters, here are instructions on how to fold the perfect coffee filter snowflake.
- Take one round coffee filter
- Fold it in half
- Fold in half again, crease, then unfold
- Using the crease as your pivot point, fold in one-third of the semi-circle
- Again using the crease as your pivot point, fold in a third from the other side of the semi-circle
- Fold the resulting cone shape in half
- Cut one of the ‘corners’ off the cone (these will be your snowflake points, you can cut the corner straight, zig-zag, curvy, whatever)
- Begin to cut away as much of the cone as you like, being sure to leave a bit of filter intact on each side of the cone
- Unfold and smile!!