I suggest using acrylic beads for this project - they're inexpensive, weigh less than glass or wooden beads, and come in tons of pretty colours! For these projects I used 4 mm clear bicone beads and a ton of 6 mm round and bicone beads. This is a great way to use up all those seed beads you bought when you started making jewellery, then realized you really didn't need!
The 3.5 inch snowflakes I bought come in 18 gauge wire, which is really difficult to cut or turn a loop in, so to finish your ends you could either use Crazy Glue (did not work well and my fingers, beading board, table, and everything else was covered in it) or you could use crimping beads at the end of each arm. I found this worked the best.
I found if I used 4 mm beads in the centre of the snowflake, the beads laid very nicely in the centre.
For one arm of the snowflake, put a loop at the top so you can hang it. This will mean leaving out a bead or two so you can make the loop. This is not easy and you will regret making the loop about half way through the process. But it is worth it to have a nice loop from which to hang your ornament. (I thought it would be fun to put bells at the end of each arm of the snowflake - it wasn't fun. It was painful. But I do like the jingling, so I'll call it a success!) I bought some very thin silver cord from Michael's and used that through the loops to hang it!
I've since made more of these and we made these in craft group this week. There are more ideas for beading patterns than you can imagine for these snowflakes. You can use more expensive beads, crystals and so on, but I think the acrylic are very nice and light!