How to make a spinning snowflake in 10 minutes

Build a winter propeller!

Warn­ing! Only un­der adult su­per­vi­sion


  • 2 pen­cils with erasers;
  • sta­tionery knife;
  • flat piece of plas­tic;
  • push­pin.

Step-by-step in­struc­tions

Use a sta­tionery knife to carve some notch­es in a pen­cil. Cut a snowflake out of flat plas­tic and bore a hole in the cen­ter. Put the snowflake on a push­pin and in­sert it into the pen­cil’s eras­er, leav­ing enough room so that the snowflake can ro­tate. Now, grasp the notched pen­cil firm­ly in your hand and rub a sec­ond pen­cil on the notch­es. The snowflake starts to spin!

Sci­en­tif­ic de­scrip­tion

When you rub the sec­ond pen­cil against the notch­es in the first, this cre­ates vi­bra­tions. At first, the pro­pel­ler dan­gles on the axle, but then, due to fric­tion­al force, it clings to it and be­gins to spin, and the vi­bra­tions spin it more and more. If the snowflake does not start to ro­tate, try re­duc­ing its di­am­e­ter and check the shape of the cen­tral hole: it should be cir­cu­lar.

Ex­cit­ing ex­per­i­ments await you in your MEL Sci­ence sub­scrip­tion!