Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Paper Snowflake Week: Pictures in Your Snowflakes

Welcome to day 2 of snowflake week. Here is a link to yesterday's post, My Snowflake Secrets in case you missed it.

Now on to today's post,  picture snowflakes!

I am not exactly sure where I got the idea to put pictures in my snowflakes, but I am quite certain it was not an original idea of mine. I remember trying to do this as early as freshman year, so I think it is likely that someone on my dorm room floor sparked the idea. Whatever or whoever it was that gave me the idea, however, I have now developed 2 methods.

The first method is perhaps the most obvious and the first one I tried. Normally, I actually put very little thought into how the snowflake will look when I unfold it. I keep in mind my principles and then just cut pretty randomly. When I make pictures, I think about how what I am cutting will look when reflected across a central line. I generally only make shapes that are symmetrical. For example, the first snowflake I remember making with pictures was a snowman. I cut half a snowman out so that it was reflected across the fold and made six whole snowmen. In the picture at the right, I made a winter forest snowflake and cut out a tree that would be reflected across the center.

Something I really like about my forest snowflake is that the tree aspect of it is not really obvious and the subtlety adds another dimension; it could be just a snowflake, but it could also be a snowflake with trees in it.

My next method is in some ways a little less artistic in my opinion, but it allows for much more literal pictures. The first snowflake I ever did this way was a nativity scene. I have replicated the same scene many times since at the request of various friends; it makes a great gift when framed.  I begin by cutting out a snowflake, but I leave a large amount of paper in the center of the snowflake.

Next, I unfold the snowflake and iron it.

After folding the snowflake in half once again, I generally sketch out my design. I will sketch out all the things I want to be symmetrical (in the nativity snowflake that means the manger, stable, and star). I then cut out along my lines with an X-acto knife before opening the snowflake again to draw in the parts of the picture (in the nativity, Mary and Joseph).

I have done some other pictures besides the nativity, like the winter scene to the right. A good way to get ideas for designs it to look at stencils. If you are uncomfortable just free-hand drawing, using a stencil would be a good idea. Alternately, you could find a drawing of a stencil-type picture and print it directly on your paper. Just make sure you print it directly in the center of your paper and that it is small enough to allow for other snowflake designs around it. I would probably draw in the shape of what will become the central piece on both sides of the paper before folding your snowflake to allow you to know how far your can cut the outer design. (As a disclaimer, I have not tried this printing method, so I might have not foreseen some potential problems. If you try it, I hope you will let me know how it goes.

So there your have it, pictures in your snowflakes!

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