Preserving Real Snowflakes
Each snowflake is captured one at a time! When snowfall begins, we setup and wait.
Temperatures must be freezing for snowflakes to form dendrites.
Collection is a race against time!
My art studio is kept below 32 degrees during collection, but UV rays, movement, or ambient heat can damage the snowflake before curing can begin.
I find a paint brush is the best extension of my fingers to manipulate things!
Our favorite snowflakes are chosen and transferred onto microscope slides for the preservation process to begin.
This process is all thanks to brilliant chemist Tryggvi Emilsson. He captured the first snowflake in 1979 using superglue!
The small molecules in superglue are called cyanoacrylate monomers that penetrate and interlock with the microscopic forms of anything they touch. The glue hardens when the monomers link together, or polymerize, head-to-tail into long chains called polymers. This process is triggered by any minute trace of water or water vapor.
Wilson A. Bentley’s famous 1931 book Snow Crystals, which contains 2,453 snowflake photographs taken over 47 freezing Vermont winters inspired Emilsson.
"The wonders and beauties of snow,"
Wilson Bentley wrote: "The snow crystals ... come to us not only to reveal the wondrous beauty of the minute in nature,
but to teach us that all earthly beauty is transient and must soon fade away.
But though the beauty of the snow is evanescent, like the beauties of the autumn, as of the evening sky, it fades but to come again."
Set glass slides, resin, paint brush and collection paper outside when it’s 20°F or colder to chill them. Catch flakes on black collection paper or pick them up with cold paint brush.
When you find your favorite, place the flake on one of the glass slides and drop resin on the snowflake.
QUICKLY drop another glass slide on top! Don’t press down too hard or the flake could rupture or melt from the heat of your finger.
We have provided enough supplies for THREE collection samples!
Leave the slides in a freezer for one or two weeks and don’t touch it with warm hands. The resin must completely hard before the snowflake warms up.