Animal Mándala Snowflakes
Brooklyn and Pennsylvania based artist. Painter, sculptor, animator and community artist.
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Several sheets
Standard Printer Paper
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Scissors
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A Pencil
Papercutting is a fun way to explore design and symmetry. I love animating my designs with animals.
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Today I’ll demonstrate how to create six-pointed snowflakes with animal shapes hidden inside.
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Fold a sheet of paper into a square. (Carefully line up one end with an adjacent edge and crease.)
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Cut off the extra.
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Fold it in half, then make a partial crease to mark the center, and then open it back up.
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Fold it into triangular thirds. It’s tricky, so if you don’t get it right at first, just adjust it.
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Cut the excess off from corner to corner so all of it has all of the layers of paper.
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On your scrap of paper, sketch animals as seen from the front or above (so they’re symmetrical.)
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Fold the animal in half on the line of symmetry and cut them out. These are your stencils.
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Before we begin, take note of where the center point, the outer edge, and the folded edges are.
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You can cut from one folded edge to the other only at the center point and the outer edge.
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Otherwise, each cut must begin and end on the same folded edge.
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A cut from one folded edge to another will divide it in half, creating an inner and outer piece.
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Now that we know the general rules, let’s begin. Trace the templates you made onto the folded edges.
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Once you’re confident, you can freehand draw animals at this stage rather than pre-make templates.
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Cut out the animals. If you can do it in a single cut, the cutouts can be part of your final piece.
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Now cut varied shapes around the animals. Leave 1/4” to 1/2” thickness of paper between each cut.
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The final cut across the outer edge can go all the way across and will create the outer shape.
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Carefully unfold the piece, pressing the seams flat as you go.
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Put it in a large book for an hour or more to fully flatten the seams.
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Take it out and place it on a dark background to set it off!
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Here are a few other examples, this one with dragonflies and butterflies.
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You can cut non-symmetrical animal shapes from a folded edge and get two connected animals.
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Good luck with your Animal Mándala Snowflakes! Be patient and make many, it takes practice!
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