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DIY Crafts: How To Make a Star Jar

Updated on December 31, 2013
For all you art farts our there.
For all you art farts our there.
A Million Little Pieces of folded paper happiness!
A Million Little Pieces of folded paper happiness!


Here's what you'll need to complete this DIY:

- a glass container. Could be a bottle, like mine (IBC is good because their bottles don't have a label), or a mason jar, or any old glass container.

- 1cm x 13cm strips of colorful paper. If you're cutting your own paper, cardstock is preferable. Or, you could purchase paper specifically for folding lucky stars! A link is provided below. Normal printer paper will work alright, but if you're using it, you should cut the strips a little longer, because the paper is thinner. It'll all make sense when you start folding! Get a few different colors so your star jar is super exciting and cute.

If you want, you can vary the width of the strips. This will result in different sized stars.

You're going to need some patience for this DIY - it takes a while to fill up an entire jar! You'll need to make a couple hundred stars. But once you get the folding down, you can do it while you're watching tv or sitting in class. That's where I did most of my folding! Keep the jar with you and drop them in as you go. Make sure the width of your paper doesn't exceed the width of the jar opening, or else they won't fit inside!

Folding a Star

It's simple once you get the hang of it. Basically, you tie one end of a paper strip in a knot. Don't crumple it - just flatten it down once it's pulled tight! It makes a pentagon shape.

One end should be long, and one end should be really short, as in less than a centimeter. Take the short end and fold it over. It'll go right into place, because geometry. Then, take the long end and keep folding it over the sides of the pentagon shape - until there's only a tiny bit left!

When your long end has become too short to fold it over another time, take the end and tuck it into a fold so it's not exposed.

Once you've done that, you should have a little paper pentagon. Take your thumb and pointer finger, and pinch the corners of the star. This will make the front and back puff out, amping your origami from the second to the third dimension! Pinch all of the sides, and you'll have a tiny, puffy star.

Catch a falling star and.... Who else is thinking of The Princess Diaries?!
Catch a falling star and.... Who else is thinking of The Princess Diaries?!
It looks like this should have some abstract meaning, but I promise it doesn't.
It looks like this should have some abstract meaning, but I promise it doesn't.

Background and Meanings

While you're folding, I thought I'd give you a little background on these paper stars.

The stars seem to originate in Chinese culture, and can either be a gift of love or luck. Different numbers have different meanings, but according to this list they're all mushy gushy representations of love!

An old friend of mine, Diana, introduced me to the lucky paper stars. I was in a photography class in high school, and our assignment for the week was to capture something in motion. I asked Diana to be my model, and I stayed over at her house for the night just to shoot photos. Turns out, we were having so much fun that we forgot about the photoshoot until my mom was five minutes away from her house. As we frantically searched through her house for ideas, we came upon a jar of stars.

We decided she should get a big handful and blow them straight at the camera. The goal was to capture the stars and their trails as they moved across the picture plane. We got the photo just in time! My photography teacher loved it.

Afterwards, I asked Diana about the stars. She told me that in Korea, they say that if you fold 1000 stars then you get to make a wish. She taught me how to fold, and we spent ages making these little guys.

We'd fold them in class, fold them at home, whenever we could find time. We filled up jars and jars! The bottle in this photo was my first full jar of stars that I'd folded on my own. Since then, I've given star jars as gifts, and taught others how to make them.

Upon some digging, I've found the photo of Diana blowing stars, as well as another from the same shoot. Here they are, for old time's sake!

Almost done!

Now that we've gone through a little bit of my life history, you should have a few stars!

Sometimes you have a few stars that don't work out. They're a pain, but you have to know when to give up. I usually fail during the pinching process. If you can't do it, throw it out and try a new strip!

Your fingers will hurt, your fight will weaken... But soldier on! It's totally worth it in the end.

Experiment with different colors and textures of paper! It can get really cute. You can cut up colored printer paper and card stock like I did, or find a bunch of different paper styles on Amazon, like these:

I tried so hard, and got so faaaar
I tried so hard, and got so faaaar

Go make something beautiful.


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    • a beautiful mess profile image

      Alex Rose 3 years ago from Virginia

      Yeah, really is as simple as tying a strip of paper in a knot! If you've got that down, and some patience, it's really a fun and unique craft. Glad you like it!!

    • WiccanSage profile image

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 3 years ago

      This is a great idea. I love all those little stars, how festive and cute they are. At first I thought it was going to be some crazy-complex and tiny oragami thing-- but it looks pretty simple and straightforward. I have about a dozen glass bottles from organic milk purchases sitting in the closet saving them for the right class. This sounds like something fun and festive.

    • a beautiful mess profile image

      Alex Rose 3 years ago from Virginia

      I love that idea - such a sweet way to develop a tradition :) Thanks for visiting!!

    • purl3agony profile image

      Donna Herron 3 years ago from USA

      What a charming idea! I love you step by step tutorial for making the stars. Definitely pinning it! I think this would be a fun gift or token to give to a child - maybe give them a star for their jar for every night that they brush their teeth before bed, or for every tooth they lose. So many ideas!! Thanks for sharing :)