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Get Crafty With Our 2021 Woods Hole Science Aquarium Snowflake Templates!

December 02, 2021

This winter, get your craft on with our adorable snowflakes! Enjoy four new designs that celebrate just a few of our past and present aquarium residents: angelfish, seal, thorny skate, and wolffish.

 Collage of French angelfish, Atlantic wolffish, harbor seal, and thorny skate snowflakes, medium blue on a dark blue background. “Paper Snowflake Templates.” NOAA Fisheries logo.

Get your paper and scissors out because it’s time for some winter craft fun! Enjoy these downloadable and printable snowflake templates. They celebrate a few of our region’s marine animals and Woods Hole Science Aquarium residents. Decorate your walls, windows, ceiling, holiday tree, and even your holiday cakes with these four designs:

Brownie tort decorated with seal snowflake with Christmas decorations.
  • French angelfish
  • Harbor seal
  • Thorny skate
  • Wolffish

All you need to do is print the template, grab your scissors, and get folding and cutting. Want to create your own? We’ve got you! We’ve provided a blank template for you to create your own marine life snowflake!

If you’re on Facebook or Twitter, be sure to post a photo of your snowflake, tag us and use the hashtag #WHSASnowflakes. You can find us @NOAAFisheriesNEMA on Facebook or @NOAAFish_NEFSC on Twitter. We can’t wait to see your snowflakes!


Print on 8.5 x 11 inch paper.

  • Cut the square template from the rest of the printed page.
  • Fold your square in half along the black lines to form a triangle. Fold each triangle in half another two times, always ending with the gray design area on top, facing up, and visible.
  • Cut away gray areas from the triangle, leaving white areas uncut.
  • The thorny skate and wolffish templates contain gray lines. Simply cut along the gray lines without cutting anything away. These cuts will be folded up to give your finished snowflake a 3D effect.
  • Gently unfold the cut template to reveal your aquarium animal snowflake. For the thorny skate, fold up the eye and spine cuts to give it a 3D effect. For the wolffish, fold up the pectoral fin cut and a few of the dorsal fin cuts to give it a 3D effect.
  • Hang in a window or on the wall, from the ceiling, on your holiday tree, or place your template over holiday baked goods, like a cake, and dust with powdered sugar or cocoa powder.


Warning: Snowflake cutting requires the use of scissors. Please carefully supervise children cutting out these templates.

Hark! The Herald Angelfish Sings

 French angelfish snowflake, blue on transparent background.

Adult French angelfish are generally dark gray to black with white around their mouths and accents of bright yellow on their pectoral fins, around their eyes, and along the edges of their body scales. Juveniles look much different—mostly black with thin yellow vertical stripes. They’re typically found in the Western Atlantic from Florida and the Bahamas to Brazil, including the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean, but they have been found in our region as far north as New York. They’re a popular and hardy aquarium fish. We’ve had our French angelfish for nearly 10 years and it likes to eat nori, shrimp, krill, special calcium cakes, and broccoli. Yes, we said broccoli. It also really likes the special vitamin-packed gel we make. To see how the gel is made, check out our aquarium video

Fun fact: 

  • They form monogamous breeding pairs and are quite territorial when it comes to their home areas. 

Download the French angelfish snowflake template (PDF, 1 page)

All We Want for Christmas is a Harbor Seal

Harbor seal snowflake, blue on transparent background.

Harbor seals are one of the most common marine mammals in our region. They’re found in temperate coastal habitats along the northern coasts of North America, Europe, and Asia. In the United States they can be found on both the East and West coasts. In the Northwest Atlantic, they can be found from the Canadian Arctic to the mid-Atlantic region of the United States. They have short, dog-like snouts and can weigh up to 285 pounds and measure up to 6 feet long. While their fur color varies, they have two basic patterns: light tan, silver, or blue-gray with dark speckling or spots, and a dark background with light rings. They mainly eat fish, shellfish, and crustaceans. When they’re not in the water traveling or foraging, you can find them resting on rocks and beaches. They haul out for different reasons, including regulating their body temperature, molting, interacting with other seals, giving birth, nursing their pups, and avoiding predators. Our aquarium can offer a home to seals that are unable to live in the wild. It’s been a few years since we’ve had harbor seals in residence, and we miss their boisterous energy at the aquarium. Maybe Santa will help us give unreleasable seals a forever home again.  

  • They can sleep underwater and come up for air once every 30 minutes.
  • They, like all marine mammals, are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act
  • Watching seals in their natural habitat can be an exciting experience. Be sure to follow these wildlife viewing guidelines to keep you, your family and friends, and seals safe.
  • The Greater Atlantic Marine Mammal Stranding Network is composed of state and federal wildlife and fisheries agencies, veterinary clinics, non-profit agencies, and academic institutions. If you find an injured, entangled, or dead seal or other marine mammal, contact NOAA Fisheries’ 24-hour Stranding Hotline at (866) 755-6622 immediately so that one of our trained responders can assess the animal.

Download the harbor seal snowflake template (PDF, 1 page)

Oh Come All Ye Thorny Skates

Thorny skate snowflake, blue on transparent background.

Thorny skates have a rounded diamond shape with a stout tail shorter than their body. They’re brown/grayish on top and white underneath and can grow up to 41 inches (tip of the snout to the end of the tail), depending on the region they live in. What really makes them easy to identify are the thorn-like bumps called denticles, along their spines, pectoral fin edges, and tails. They can be found in the eastern and western Atlantic Ocean. In the western Atlantic, they can be found from Greenland and Canada to South Carolina. They typically eat crustaceans and bony fish. We have three thorny skates, two females and one male, on exhibit courtesy of our Cooperative Research Branch’s fall 2019 Gulf of Maine bottom longline survey. Currently, their wing span is about 18 inches across. They grow pretty slowly which means we’ll have them for another year or two as long as they don’t go through a growth spurt! 


Fun fact: 

Download the thorny skate snowflake template (PDF, 1 page)

Have Yourself a Merry Little Wolffish

Atlantic wolffish snowflake, blue on transparent background.

Atlantic wolffish have a tapered body shape with a large rounded head and a slender tail. They’re bluish-gray and have a series of dark vertical patches running along the length of their body. They have multiple rows of teeth, some of which project prominently from their mouth and look like fangs. They can be found on both sides of the North Atlantic Ocean. In the Northwest Atlantic, they can be found from the Canadian province of Labrador to the Great South Channel and Georges Bank, but rarely south of Cape Cod. They’re bottom-dwellers, often living in complex, rocky habitats. They mostly eat bottom-dwelling invertebrates like scallops, hermit crabs, Jonah crabs, and sea urchins. We have one female wolffish courtesy of our Cooperative Research Branch’s Fall 2019 Gulf of Maine Bottom Longline Survey. So far she’s laid two clutches of eggs. The eggs are about the size of a number 2 pencil eraser. We’re hoping to collect a male so we might have some wolffish babies to exhibit. 

Fun facts: 

  • Wolffish lose all of their teeth each year and regenerate them during the winter. 
  • They secrete antifreeze proteins into their blood to help prevent them from freezing in the cold, deep waters during the winter.

Download the wolffish snowflake template (PDF, 1 page)

Create Your Own Snowflake

Do you have a favorite marine animal or plant you’d like to turn into a snowflake? Download our blank template to make your own snowflake masterpiece!

Download blank snowflake template large (PDF, 1 page)

Download blank snowflake template small (PDF, 1 page)


For more information, please contact Heather Soulen

Last updated by Northeast Fisheries Science Center on March 22, 2023