Modern Quilled Snowflake Ornament Tutorial

Just like Britney Spears, oops, I did it again... took on an addictive paper craft project right before Christmas. I seem to do this every year for some reason, feeding into the frenzy of the holidays. Because making just one quilled snowflake ornament was not enough, I went on to create a mini-blizzard to use as present toppers. A little gift on a gift.

five quilled snowflake ornaments made with brightly colored metallic edge quilling strips

It's late in the decorating season to be posting a tree ornament tutorial, so I'm going to suggest you make quilled snowflakes as a winter project instead. Hang them in your windows to taunt Mother Nature, "My flakes are bigger and flashier than yours!" Quilling with such brightly colored strips is bound to bring cheer on dark days.

five modern quilled snowflake ornaments on table 

You can make several ornaments from just one package of single color strips (or more, if you practice/perfect your technique using printer paper strips first). 


U.S. online supplier Quilling Supply stocks a selection of JJ metallic edge strips. Quilled Creations also has its own very nice assortment of metallic edge quilling strips.

Two hand folded paper boxes topped with modern quilled snowflake ornaments

I made the golden snowflake with gold-edge ivory strips called Touch of Gold from Lake City Craft Co. The company has been sold and still lists A Touch of strips on its website, however, I haven't had a chance to use them to know if they are the same quality as the Lake City strips. 


For the purists in the crowd, I also made a white snowflake because, honestly, nothing stands out as beautifully on a green tree.

quilled white snowflake ornament on wood surface

The hot pink loopy ornament (first and second images above) is very similar to the Ice Crystal Ornament I designed for Helen Hiebert's Twelve Months of Paper Calendar in which you will find step-by-step directions for making it. The beauty of the Ice Crystal is that no quilling tool is required. But this pink version differs in that it has a domed tight coil for the center for which I used my Japanese slotted tool that has a very fine slot (turquoise tool, far right in the photo below; more info about it here: choosing a slotted tool).

Make these five modern paper snowflakes. They're alike, but different!

Five quilled paper snowflake ornaments, some made with brightly colored metallics


A very nice thing about quilling is that it doesn't require many supplies... you can get by with just paper strips, glue, scissors, tweezers, ruler, and a ball head pin - seriously! For these designs I used quilling tool handles as dowels for forming the coils (shown below), but you can substitute a pen, pencil, bamboo stick, etc. to serve as shaping tools. 

Tools and materials for making quilled snowflake ornaments


My gluing method is simple... I pour a little puddle of clear gel adhesive into a tin or plastic lid and use the tip of a paper piercing tool (the silver one shown below) to apply glue to the end of each coil and to adhere components together. A pin will work too, as will a fine tip glue bottle. Long handled tweezers come in handy when assembling quilling. (Supplies that I recommend can be found in my Amazon shop.) 

Quilling tools, paper piercing tool, and two ball head pins

Making ring coils:

Rather than traditional, lacy quilling, I went for a contemporary look by using ring coils to make the snowflakes. Note that the five examples differ from one another because their ring and tight coil layouts vary. The ice crystal, on the other hand, is made with a quilling method called alternate side looping.

Wrapping a quilling strip on the handle of a quilling needle tool

For each ring coil, wrap a strip five times around a tool handle, slide the coil off the tool, pinch it once to create a teardrop or at opposite points for a marquise (eye) shape, and glue and trim the end.  

Shaping a quilled teardrop ring coil

Making tight coils: Roll a strip on a quilling tool all the way to the end. Apply glue to the end while the coil is still on the tool, hold it a moment for the glue to set, then slip it off. To dome (is that a verb? it is now!) a tight coil, press against one flat side with the ball head of a pin as shown below and apply a small amount of glue inside the dome with a pin or paper piercing tool to preserve the shape.

Applying glue inside a quilled tight coil with a ball head pin

The small domed tight coils used as accents were made with 2.5 inch strips; the smallest ones, just 2 inches or even 1 3/8 inches. For the bright blue snowflake, the domed tight coils were pinched into ovals.

All of the snowflakes have a domed tight coil center except for the ice blue one that has a ring coil center. The large domes were made with 9 to 11-inch strips and were shaped with the rounded end of a tool handle or a fingertip before applying glue inside the curve.

four modern metallic edge quilled snowflakes

Assembly tips:

I often work on the polyurethaned table you see in these photos and use just enough glue so that the coils stick together, but not to its surface. Working on an acrylic sheet or waxed paper is fine too. If you're a neatnik like me when assembling coils, hide a glued end by butting it up against another coil, and use the tip of a paper piercing tool to round out the slotted tool crimp that is left behind in the center of a domed tight coil.

quilled snowflake ornaments made with gold, white, and brightly colored metallic strips

The snowflakes measure 2-2.5 inches in diameter, and the designs are simple enough that I eyeballed the coils when assembling rather than use a grid. However, Cecelia Louie of Paper Zen has kindly made a quilling snowflakes grid available that helps in achieving perfect symmetry. She also recently shared a video of the making of a traditional quilled snowflake.

When the glue has set, turn over the completed snowflake and use a pin to dab tiny dots of glue on each join as reinforcement. 

flat nose jewelry pliers, jump ring and modern quilled snowflake

Lastly, add a thin metallic hanging cord, looping it through the tip of an arm. Another idea is to attach a metal jump ring before adding the loop... that way the recipient can thread a chain through the jump ring and wear the snowflake as a necklace instead.

modern quilled snowflake with attached necklace chain

No fixative is required since ornaments generally receive very little handling. If you choose to wear one as a pendant, treat it as you would any fine jewelry... last thing on, first thing off, and store it in a safe, dry place.

Wrapped packages with quilled paper star toppers

I hope you'll spend many happy hours quilling snowflakes!

By the way, I'll be teaching how to make modern snowflakes
at the Brandywine River Museum of Art
 in southeastern Pennsylvania on November 13, 2019.

Ann Martin
Ann Martin

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