Combining Art, 2-D Design & Printing
You remember making snowflakes with folded paper as a kid, right? Imagine the same experience, but without the disappointment of ending up with tiny bits of paper because you cut too much. This week I partnered with Kathleen Lorenzo, one of our fabulous elementary art teachers and her second grade students to create digital snowflakes using the free Make-A-Flake website. Initially we wondered if the kids would have the patience and mouse skills needed to guide the digital scissors along to cut the virtual folded paper. Not only did they take right to it, but they had a great time creating unique designs, which we then were able to print our with our Silhouette Cameo electronic cutting and drawing machine. The website is very forgiving because, unlike the real paper snowflakes, you can “undo” a cut and “preview your flake” at which time you can save it or cut some more. Here’s how:
1. Design your snowflake using the Make-A-Flake website:
- Explain to the students that the scissors have a circle in the middle which turns green when you are in a place that you can cut, and red when you cannot cut.
- Every cut should begin on an edge, move inward then return to the edge to complete the cut.
- As you cut, a light blue line with blinking stars will begin to form, showing you your cut line. Once you return your cut line back to an edge the paper will fall and show a hole where you’ve cut.
2. Save your snowflake
- Options to Email or save to your computer as JPG or EPS file
- To save the JPG version, right click on the snowflake image and choose “Save image as” to save as a JPG file.
3. Print your snowflake (optional):
- Options for printing: You have a JPG file that can be saved, which means it can be printed on a regular printer or used to on a paper cutter or laser printer.
- We first used the cutting feature on the Silhouette Cameo was also used on some student examples, but proved to be too time consuming to replicate for an entire grade level of kids. They do come out beautifully, though! We opted to “draw” the snowflakes using Silhouette Sketch Pens.
- The students then practiced their tracing skills by using watercolor brushes to outline then paint in their flakes and added glitter, which make the kids very happy!
- Whether you are cutting out or drawing with the Silhouette Sketch Pens, you first need to create a tracing to convert the JPG image to a cut file. Click HERE for a tutorial video by Ken’s Kreations for instructions on this.
Classroom Applications for Elementary Grades:
- Incorporate into science weather unit or study of states of matter
- Integrate into math lesson on symmetry. Consider using this Sid the Science Kid interactive as well as the student-created snowflakes.
- Use student-created snowflakes as inspiration for writing
- Art teachers could teach students about “Snowflake Bentley”, and share his beautiful photographs of snowflakes. Visit the Snowflake Bentley website for more information
Classroom Applications for Middle and High School:
- Snowflake physics lesson from PBS Learning Media focuses on how the molecular structure of ice and how the conditions flakes form in impacts the snowflake’s shape. This lesson includes interactive media resources, which would make for a great webquest.
- Snowflake physics lesson from TedED that I modified which focuses on friction of snow and how that impacts skiing and avalances
- The hidden mysteries
- Explore symmetry and the science of snowflakes, including the chemistry behind what makes every snowflakes unique. Share this fantastic “It’s OK to be Smart” video titled The Science of Snowflakes video from PBS Learning Media