December 12, 2011

Make Falling Snowflakes (and have your coffee too)

Okay, so I went a bit crazy with the holiday decorations this year.  The tree, the lights, the ornaments, the stockings hung by the chimney with care...oh, I just love how festive it feels!  And because we started everything on Thanksgiving weekend, we get to enjoy it for at least a full month! 

Some may say I'm overcompensating for not letting the kids make gingerbread houses because of well, the candy, the sticky, the houses that will take up my only remaining clear tabletop space and will induce a fountain of tears when it comes time to throw them away (or when the ant colony moves in, whichever comes first).

SO, I was searching for an art project that I could modify for all three kids (ages 2 through 7), and that didn't involve edibles (fantastic for class projects!), and found inspiration from various coffee filter snowflake projects.

I picked up coffee filters at Target for a dollar, and since we already had the acrylics and glitter out from the dough ornaments, we just kept on crafting.  They're beautiful, kid-made, and the best part: the way their eyes light up when we open them up!  Truly amazing and unique shapes!

Round (bucket) coffee filters
Paints (I used acrylics, but watercolors or even tempera paints with water would work nicely)
Bowl of water
Glitter* (Martha Stewart glitter is awesome!)
Contact paper*
Hole puncher*
String, ribbon, or fishing line for hanging*

1. Fold the coffee filter in half three times, and cut shapes into the straight sides and rounded edge, making sure to keep part of the original fold intact on each side so the snowflake stays together.  My almost five-year-old could do this, but I needed to cut for my two-year-old.

2. Dip your brush in water, then paint and start saturating the coffee filter.  You want the paint to seep through all the layers, so you'll need lots and lots of paint and water (such fun!).

3. An adult should open it up (it's a bit delicate at this point) and lay it flat so you can apply glitter and dry on a rack.  If you're not doing glitter or if you want to apply glitter later, you may leave them to dry still folded.

4. While your snowflakes are drying, find something round to trace around that is slightly bigger than the diameter of your snowflake (I found some salad plates that left about a 1 inch edge around my snowflake).  Use your plate or other object to trace a circle on the paper side of the contact paper.

(Warning: lots of contact paper details ahead!  It's really pretty simple once you use these little tricks, so don't let all the text scare you!)

5. Fold the contact paper in half and cut out the circles through the two layers so that you have two identical circles.  This could prove tricky because of the curly, slippery paper (it has been stored in a roll all this time after all).  I found it helped to lay it flat on the table holding it down and flattening with my left hand, and cutting segment by segment off the table with my right.  Continue rotating the contact paper and cutting until the folded part is cut off.

6. Once the snowflakes are dry, peel the backing off one of the circles, lay it on your table, and lay your snowflake on top gently, centering the center of the snowflake to the center of the circle as much as possible.  Flatten and smooth the snowflake starting at the center, and radiating out.  (If you haven't applied the glitter but still want to, sprinkle some onto your snowflake before the next step).

7.  Peel the paper off the second circle, and float it over the first to align, and then bring two sides up gently.  Lower the bend onto your snowflake, then drop the sides down.  As you did with the snowflake, flatten and smooth the contact paper, starting at the center, and radiating out.

8. Trim excess contact paper off the edges.
9. To hang, punch a hole toward the top (rotate the snowflake until you decide where you'd like the top to be), and string your ribbon or line through.  You can string several together, or leave them on their own.

10.  They would look beautiful on a window too.  Just make one of the circles bigger than the first, so that there is a sticky perimeter, and stick directly onto your window.

Who says it never snows in San Francisco?  :)


  1. What a smart idea! I'll have to try this next year.

  2. Those are gorgeous, Sarah! Thanks for another great idea. :)

  3. We did this craft as a playdate activity! It was so much fun and they turned out great! Thanks for this post! Couldn't help but notice the penguins marching on your runner. Where did you get those?