One of the things I love most about the winter holidays and Christmas in particular, is being able to spend night and day crafting handmade gifts for my friends, work partners and family. I’ve been doing it for years, trying to come up with cute little things that would tell all these people how important they are for me. After all, making a gift with your own hands, regardless of how big or tiny it may be, gives it something special. In this world where we all struggle to find time to relax and rest, knowing that someone took 10 - 30 minutes out of their day to create something for you, is truly the best gift. And yes, it is the thought that matters.
With that in mind, I created this new series of tutorials. It shows that making your own Christmas ornaments is not rocket science. Plus, you can either keep them for yourself and decorate your tree and home, or give them away as gifts. If the later is the case, I like to add a handwritten note and wrap it all beautifully to make the experience even more precious.
My go-to crafting technique is called quilling, and it involves working with paper strips to create various shapes. I find paper an amazing material to work with. Its colors, textures and maleability ensures every creation is truly unique. And we all know that every snowflake is unique.
The first quilling snowflake tutorial of this Christmas series, is now available on YouTube. However the video instructions are currently in Romanian, but don’t worry, I’m working on making an English version too. In the meanwhile, you can use the step-by-step tutorial below to make your own quilling snowflake decoration. Please note this is just the first of the series. Two more designs are in the pipeline.
1. What you will need to make one paper quilling snowflake
- 30 strips of 140g/mp offset paper (3 mm width by 30 cm length)
- Tacky paper glue
- Quilling rolling pin
2. Making the snowflake elements
To make things easier, I’ll be taking you step by step through each creation stage, element by element. In total there are 4 different elements, which are marked as layers in the pic below, to help you better understand what’s going on.
Also, please note that in quilling, certain shapes have specific terms. In the video tutorial, you will see how to make each of these.
A. Central element (layer 1) - 6 paper strips make 6 paper tears.
To make the center of this quilling snowflake you are going to need 6 paper strips and glue. Roll each strip in a loose roll and then give it the shape of a tear. This element is a bit tricky, so please check the video below to see exactly how I made it.
When the glue is dried, it’s time to assemble them to create the paper flower. Put a bit of glue at the narrow end of each tear. Join each of them, one by one, adding glue to the narrow end. Make sure you don’t add glue to a tear’s entire length, you are going to need that space to add the second layer.
B. Second element, corners (layer 2) - 12 paper strips make 12 individual eyes.
To make the second layer of this Christmas snowflake ornament you are going to need 12 paper strips. Roll each paper strip into a shape called “eye”. Basically you roll a loose circle, . With two fingers you will keep the center tight, while pinching with two fingers on each side of your circle, to create a pointy shape.
There are two ways of assembling the eyes to create the corners.
Var a. Take two of these eyes and glue them together, at one end. Now is the time to adjust each one. To create a larger corner, you need to adjust each eye and make the exterior ends a bit curvy. Watch the video to see exactly how to do that.
Out of the 12 individual eyes, you are going to obtain 6 V shaped forms. Each V form will be glued between each petal of the central element.
Var b. Take each of the individual eyes and glue two of them between each petal of the central element. This is a bit tricky and might make a mess of everything. But if you don’t feel patient enough for variant a, you can always choose this option.
To create the corners, you need to glue the V’s together. To do that, apply a bit of glue to the tips of each opposing V element. Press the tips together with your fingers.
While the glue is still “wet” you can readjust your shapes to make sure they look symmetric. Don’t worry if you didn’t get it right the first time. Practice, practice, practice and you’ll get to better results. In fact, by the time you’ll make your third quilled snowflake, you will already get better at it.
C. Third element, rays (layer 3) - 6 paper strips make 6 individual eyes
Using the same process as noted at step B, create 6 new eyes. You can make these shapes tighter. Since they will have only one point of support and will be used individually, you need to be sure that they have a sturdy base.
Once the glue is dried, you will take each eye and glue it between each corner.
D. Fourth element, discs (layer 4) - 6 paper strips make 6 individual discs
These shapes are the easiest to make. Roll each paper strip into a tight coil/disc.
By now, your snowflake is almost ready. Adding the discs is optional, but I find that it looks quite nice with it. So glue each paper disc to the tip of every corner. If the shapes forming your corner aren’t equal in size (one tip longer than the other), you don’t have to start all over. Just patiently use your fingers to readjust the shape so the corner has an equal tip.
Once you’re satisfied with your work, let it dry and rest for a couple of minutes. It all depends on how fast your glue dries, I suggest you use a tacky lampshade, one that will not dry immediately. This is what allows you to readjust your shapes.
If you want to customize your DIY paper snowflake even more, you can add glitter, spray paint it or glue beads, rhinestones or even crystals.