WPS Garden of Lights Craft: Snowflake Ornament

Snowflakes are marvelous, but a little confusing. How can chunks of ice falling from the sky be so intricate and graceful? Are all snowflakes truly unique? There are endless amounts of them, so surely a few have been identical.

Well, a few things have to happen to create a snowflake. The first is that the temperature outside must be at or below freezing temperatures, which is 32˚ Fahrenheit or a simpler 0˚ Celsius. In the cold upper reaches of the atmosphere, the molecules of water in the air slow down2, allowing them to form a crystal structure: ice! These intricate ice crystals form into hexagons around tiny specks of dust3.

PC: Aaron Burden aaronburden, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Snowflake shapes and sizes do vary widely. They range from 1 millimeter to 1 centimeter wide1, and have many different structures. That’s because they’re affected by many circumstances in the atmosphere like temperature3, humidity2, and more! Still, even if two snowflakes happened to look exactly the same and have the same measurements, the way that their molecules are connected would still differ2. I guess snowflakes really are one of a kind!

If you’d like to learn more about snowflakes, be sure to visit WPS Garden of Lights here at the Garden! Our light display, Snowflake Arch, features 10,000 lights and magnifies the natural beauty of snowflakes. If you’re lucky, you might even join us on a snowy day!

Craft Instructions

Now you get to make your very own snowflake! For this craft, you’ll need a piece of paper, scissors, and optional string for hanging your ornament. If you want to get creative, feel free to add elements like glitter glue, markers, or more!

1. Start with a square piece of paper.

2. Fold it in half diagonally, from corner to corner.

2. Fold it in half again.

3. Fold the triangle into thirds, bringing each exterior corner inward.

4. Cut the top off to create a triangle.

5. Next, cut the very tip of the triangle off.

6. Cut your desired snowflake pattern into the sides of the triangle.

7. Unfold to reveal your beautiful snowflake!

8. Unfold to reveal your beautiful snowflake!


“Getting up Close with Snowflakes.” CBC Kids, Canada Media Fund, 25 Oct. 2022, www.cbc.ca/kids/articles/getting-up-close-with-snowflakes.

“The Science of Snowflakes.” Be Smart, Public Broadcasting Service, 31 Mar. 2016, www.pbs.org/video/its-okay-be-smart-snowflakes/.

“What Are Snowflakes?” Center for Science Education, University Corporation For Atmospheric Research, scied.ucar.edu/kids/snowstorms-blizzards/snowflakes-activity. Accessed 19 Nov. 2023.

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