diy project: sarah’s snowflake panels + light

[a big thanks to sarah at cursive for sharing this fun diy project with us while amy takes a much needed day-off]

over the holidays i made lots of paper snowflakes to decorate our place for a holiday party. after the new year i couldn’t bear to throw away my delicate little friends so i decided to make a snowflake panel (+ pendant light!) out of them. my idea was definitely inspired by tord boontje‘s until dawn curtain. for the snowflakes i raided our recycling bin that was overflowing with junk mail and bills (ick). a little scissor angst perhaps? sure. i turned my credit card bills into something beautiful. paper snowflakes are often deemed “holiday decor”, but i feel the overall pattern of them together on the panel divorces them from that look. and hey, i live in a freezing climate where it’s not going to be warm anytime soon. my philosophy is to embrace it and enjoy its beauty while i can. – sarah

*click here for a sneak peek into sarah’s home

CLICK HERE for the full how-to after the jump!

materials needed for snowflake panels:

paper (preferably from your recycle bin)
good quality scissors
elmers glue
white masking tape
measuring tape

my two tips for making great snowflakes are to use good quality shears (i actually use kitchen shears. they are sharp and very strong) and try to eliminate a lot of paper. this is what makes them look more interesting. shoot for 40% paper 60% negative space. (or even more!)

1) make an assortment of large, medium and small snowflakes. snowflake tutorial here:

2) measure your window or determine how large you’d like your panel to be.

3) for the top row line up a straight row of large snowflakes to your desired width. glue the overlapping edges together. this will be the part of the panel that carries the weight so use sturdier/thicker snowflakes. i reinforced the top edge by running a line of white masking tape on the front and back.

4) for the rest of the panel i find it’s best to use a varied/random pattern. to determine where you should put the glue, first lay down your snowflake and look at the parts that will overlap with the other piece. eyeball these spots and dab tiny dots of glue onto the back of the snowflake. press together.

5) use the small and medium sized snowflakes to fill in the gaps between the larger ones.

6) when you’re done you can tie it with string to your curtain rod or simply tack it up with the masking tape.

snowflake pendant

materials needed:

snow flake panel (about 2 feet long by 2.5 feet wide)
compact fluorescent light bulb (DO NOT use an incandescent. CFL’s use less energy and they’re not as hot)
pendant light socket
1 sheet of plastic vellum (11″ x 14″)
thick gauge wire
wire snips
clear tape
white masking tape

1) cut a 2ft piece of wire and bend into a circle. crimp the ends together with the pliers. the circle should be 1 ft in diameter. trim off excess. cut two pieces of wire 1.5 ft in length. fasten into an x shape and twist the edges of the x around the circle.

2) make a cylinder out of the vellum. tape together with clear tape. this will act as a light diffuser.

3) attach pendant light socket cord to cross section of the x shape of the wire by knotting with twine.

4) attach cylinder to the wire with clear tabs of tape.

5) attach the top of your snowflake panel to the edges of your circle with tabs of white masking tape. hang it, plug it in and you’re done. voila!

  1. Brilliant! Great way to recycle, plus it looks great. I’ve been wanting to take down the awful miniblinds in my kitchen and this might be the perfect thing to replace them with.

  2. How pretty. I would have a difficult time throwing those lovelies away too!

  3. Heather says:

    Beautiful! It definitely takes on it’s own look removed from the holidays. Why not embrace the cold.

  4. Ophelia says:

    These are so gorgeous! I love the variety in the design, and the window panel concept. What a great way to embrace the cold and make it look like a winter wonderland when we’re now at that stage where all the real snow is smooshed and dirty!

  5. laura trevey says:

    Oh! These snowflakes are so fitting right now with all the snow outside here in Virginia! They are lovely ~~

  6. meg says:

    lovely! do you think the same project could be done with white fabric, for a sturdier curtain? if so, what fabric would you recommend?

  7. Jen O says:

    Meg: fabric would fray, but pellon, that white stiff papery stuff used to make fabric crisp, could work fine. Just be sure to buy a medium weight, and NOT a fusible (iron on) variety. This product can be easily found at fabric stores.

  8. saer says:

    Wow – thanks so much for this. I love cut outs and am a big fan of boontje’s curtain but never thought it was humanly possible for me to do it.

    I recently saw Saelee Oh’s work at the JL Gallery in NY –

    Her cut outs are superb..

  9. Julie says:

    gorgeous! i love when people do creative things with scraps.

  10. Great idea! I can see getting a little addicted and covering all my windows with these panels. Thanks for the tutorial!

  11. sarah says:

    great idea meg. i think tyvek would work too. ;)

  12. Ringla says:

    So simply and so gorgeous!!!

  13. Marija says:

    This is a wonderful idea. I love the light decoration. I did something similar with vellum cutouts (mostly flowers) dangling from simple round light fixtures. It looked amazing and so cosy at the same time.

  14. Eva says:

    a DIY Tord Boontje! Very nice idea!

  15. Alison says:

    Love that – Also, can you tell me where you got that wonderful deer head rack/key holder?!!

  16. sarah says:

    hi alison. my dear friend susan
    got it for me at a shop called RR#1 here in chicago. i don’t believe they have an online shop, but you can contact the owner for more info.

  17. susie says:

    This is great upcycling. I just love it, and am going to tell my crafty friends about it.

  18. Tisha says:

    Alison, I have the same key hook. I bought mine from ModCloth and I know they have it off and on quite frequently.

  19. Wonderful reminder of how holiday paper can be repurposed and its lifetime extended. I remember as a girl going to snowflake parties with a polish neighbor who could create the most incredibly ornate decorations. We would always save ours for the next year – definitely too pretty to throw out!

  20. Aansy says:

    awesome its good to use recyclables for decoration.
    if we use the blank paper with some color it will enhance the beauty of its design.

  21. mary says:

    delicate & lovely — thanks for sharing!

  22. laras says:

    they’re hanging on my window right now- i made them as soon as i saw it on d*s. it was unbelieveably easy yet changes my room atmosphere A LOT! Thanks d*s!! <3 <3

  23. sarah says:

    re: laras. wonderful! i’d love to see a link to pictures. so thrilled you did it. ;)

  24. Boinkie says:

    beautiful. I linked to it and copied one photo to illustrate the link.
    If you object I’ll remove the photo.

  25. “Simplesmente Liiindo!!!

  26. I saw on the Free People blog this DIY project and I thought it was great, so I had to do it! Thanks for the inspiration. Here’s my finished product at my blog:

  27. b says:

    i love this idea it’s so magical but would love to do it in something more durable… possibly tyvek?

  28. Rebecca says:

    I have a bunch of snowflakes that I made for our Christmas
    tree but didn’t want to throw away. I may have to try this, too


Design*Sponge reserves the right to restrict comments that do not contribute constructively to the conversation at hand, contain profanity, personal attacks, hate speech or seek to promote a personal or unrelated business. Our goal is to create a safe space where everyone (commenters, subjects of posts and moderators) feels comfortable to speak. Please treat others the way you would like to be treated and be willing to take responsibility for the impact your words may have on others. Disagreement, differences of opinion and heated discussion are welcome, but comments that do not seek to have a mature and constructive dialogue will not be published. We moderate all comments with great care and do not delete any lightly. Please note that our team (writers, moderators and guests) deserve the same right to speak and respond as you do, and your comments may be responded to or disagreed with. These guidelines help us maintain a safe space and work toward our goal of connecting with and learning from each other.