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Handmade German Star Ornaments

Updated on November 16, 2015
Lynne-Modranski profile image

Lynne loves to do crafts with her children and grandchildren. (almost as much as she loves them and loves Jesus!)

A finished star
A finished star | Source

Origami at its finest!

German Stars (also known as Moravian Stars) are beautiful handmade Christmas Ornaments. They can be a little tricky; however, with just a bit of practice, you'll find they come together rather quickly. It's hard to believe that a mere four strips of paper can become the three dimensional ornament pictured on the left.

I learned to make these delightful ornaments about 15 years ago. I taught my daughters and for several years we made them for Christmas gifts for friends, family and our churches (my husband is a pastor, so we had several churches at one time and moved every three or four years). They made for a nice family gift.

Now, scroll down to find out exactly how to make a German Star

(And if you keep scrolling to the bottom you'll find a link to a photo gallery of step by step photo)

The Star Paper

German Moravian Star Strip Weaving Papers, 100 Pack, 5 Colors, Shimmer Holiday (3/4)
German Moravian Star Strip Weaving Papers, 100 Pack, 5 Colors, Shimmer Holiday (3/4)

This is the kind of paper you'll need. There are many different colors on Amazon (browns, purples, red, white and more). Search for Moravian Star paper to find more.

 

Supply List - Here's what you'll need to get started

  • Strips of paper 3/4" x 24" (these strips all have to be EXACTLY the same width - you may also use 17" x 1/2") will work best with 24#, 28# or 32# paper
  • Parrafin wax (and either a double boiler or small fondue pot to melt it)
  • Glitter (All will work, but my favorite is irridescent powder)
  • Thin Metal Christmas Bulb Hangers or Needle and Gold Thread
  • Scissors

Step One
Step One | Source
Finished First Side of  Basket Weave
Finished First Side of Basket Weave | Source

Step One - Create the First BasketWeave

When you make your first few German Stars, it's best to use 2 strips of 2 different colors. However, once you're more experienced, you can use any colors you like!

Believe it or not after you get the hang of these ornaments, this step will be the one that is most difficult to remember. All the rest you repeat 8 times, but this one, you only do once to get it all started.

  1. First take four strips of paper and fold all four pieces in half
  2. Taking COLOR 1: Lay the 2 pieces on a hard surface about 3 inches apart with the folded ends facing in opposite directions. Place the top folded edge on the left side and the bottom folded edge on the right.
  3. Taking COLOR 2: Lay these 2 pieces perpendicular to color one with the folded ends facing opposite directions. The folded end on the left piece should be on top. The folded edge on the right piece should be down.
  4. Put all four tails inside the four correponding folded edges
  5. Pull all pieces together until they are snug.

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Finishing the Basket Weave for the second side.
Finishing the Basket Weave for the second side. | Source

Step Two - The Second Basket Weave

  1. Right now each side of your square should have one set of "tails" hanging out. (Pictured above on the right)

    The tails closest to you should be on the RIGHT Bottom portion of the square. (If not, turn the square over)

    Using the order listed below, Take the top piece of each set of tails and fold it up or over the last tail.

    When you finish this step, you should have a basket weave on both sides with 8 "tails," two on each side of your square


  2. Fold the top piece of bottom right tail UP






  3. Fold the top piece of the right side tail over the first folded tail so it is now a tail on the left.



  4. Fold the top piece on the upper left side down over the last folded piece



  5. Fold the bottom right tail toward the left. Take this tail and slide it under the first to complete the basketweave.


Creating the FLAT Star Points

Once you get this step, you'll have it!

You do it 8 times for every star you make.

Those first two steps (above) are the hardest to remember because you only do them once each

But this step and the next, while they are a little trickier to accomplish, repeat many times. So, just keep trying!

You can do it!

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  1. Fold the TOP RIGHT tail UNDER itself and parallel to the tail to it's right. This will form a triangle on the top of the star. But you aren't done yet!






  2. Using the SAME tail, fold it down ON TOP of itself creating a double triangle. The tail will be parallel to the strip on the BOTTOM of the star. It's best to have a very small gap between this fold and the last










  3. Using the SAME tail again, fold it in half ON TOP of itself to form a right triangle. (This is where that small gap comes in handy).






  4. Last, pick up the square and gently fold back your triangle (DON'T CREASE IT BACK, JUST GET IT OUT OF THE WAY FOR A MOMENT). Slide the tail you've bee 1ce8e n working with UNDER the top basket weave of the opposite color. You may need to fold the very end of your tail into a bit of a point in order to get it through smoothly.



  5. Now rotate your star (either way) and repeat these last four directions until you have four points.






  6. After you have four points on this side, turn your star over and repeat the process on the other side. And now you're 1/2 way done!

The First Side of the Flat Star Points
The First Side of the Flat Star Points | Source
Two Flat Star Points sides completed
Two Flat Star Points sides completed | Source

Step Four - Giving it that Three Dimensional look

This is one of the toughest steps, but it's the one that really counts.

Like the last step, you'll repeat this one eight times.

The trick to each one is to make sure the TOP of your tail when you start the step is still on the top when you complete the step. You might want to mark the tops of the four tails on each side (the tail on the right of each set will need to be marked) until you get the hang of this step. If you twist the tail upside down, you'll get a mangled star point.

These directions are for a right handed person, you may have to change all the references to "right" to be "left" and vice versa if it's difficult for you as a left handed person

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  1. Holding your star in your left hand, grab the BOTTOM RIGHT tail with your right hand.








  2. Gently pull back the SIDE RIGHT tail (you don't want to fold it, you just want to get it out of the way), then gently bring the BOTTOM RIGHT tail under itself. DO NOT FOLD IT OR CREASE IT. Make it look like a little funnel.





  3. Making sure the TOP of the tail is still on TOP, slide that BOTTOM RIGHT tail UNDER the tail that you've been holding back. Be sure there is no twist in your bottom right tail. It should look something like a shirt collar.




  4. Finally, continue to push that BOTTOM RIGHT tail under the SIDE RIGHT tail until it comes out the LEFT SIDE star point. You may allow the right side tail to fall back over your 3D point.







  5. Turn the star clockwise so the tail covering your 3D point is now the BOTTOM RIGHT tail. And you will repeat the previous four steps until you have four Three dimensional points on the first side of your star.




  6. When you create the fourth 3-D point, you won't have a tail on the right to hold out of the way. The tail from your last star point goes UNDER your first star point.








  7. Finally, just flip the star over and do exactly the same thing on the other side

Do you make ornaments for your tree or for gifts?

See results

The Final Step

You're almost done!

Finally, cut off all of the tails from your ornament.

Then poke an ornament hanger or a needle and pretty thread through one of the flat points

Dip the star in heated paraffin wax (be sure not to allow children to do this unsupervised. Paraffin can be very dangerous because it will stick to your skin and cause burns)

Sprinkle the star with glitter while the paraffin is still wet.

Hang over or lay on a paper towel or waxed paper to dry (paraffin will leak out, so be sure to protect your work area)

Snowflake Ornaments are fun to make
Snowflake Ornaments are fun to make | Source

I love the diamond dust glitter!

Diamond Dust Glitter 16oz
Diamond Dust Glitter 16oz

This is my favorite kind of glitter for the stars. It really makes them shimmer.

 

The Finished Star

This is what your star will look like when it's finished.
This is what your star will look like when it's finished. | Source

Tell me about your favorite handmade ornament - OR just leave a note!

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    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      My two Sisters and I used to make these stars when we were kids. We would walk from house to house on our little court and sell them to our neighbors who always loved them. Years later, my Dad had them in his Christmas tree, oh what fond memories. . . .I want to make them again and teach my Grandchildren.

    • profile image

      applejacking 4 years ago

      Beautiful. Serious, I will try to follow your tutorial this day. It's cool for my Christmas tree in my house.

    • Lynne-Modranski profile image
      Author

      Lynne Modranski 4 years ago from Ohio

      @anonymous: If they look exactly like this, then wider, longer strips would give you the same thing. I cut the strips in half to make earrings. You can make the strips as wide as you want, just make them proportionally longer.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I am looking for the fatter, thicker version of these and can't seem to find them - do you know if they are called something else?

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Something that doesn't take work

    • MarcoG profile image

      Marc 5 years ago from Edinburgh

      These look great!

    • delia-delia profile image

      Delia 5 years ago

      Boy does this bring back memories from Germany...I will have to start making them again, they would be nice added on a Christmas gift package.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Back in the early 1950s, I made these as a project for Brownie Scouts, in MI. When my mother passed in 1994, I found several of them in her Christmas decorations. I decided to recreate these memories. My Christmas tree is now totally decorated with white lights and the 150 stars that I made. It makes a beautiful presentation. I LOVE MY TREE.FYI I purchased a ream of the 14 x 17 paper from a printer; had him cut in 1/2" widths, and then pad into tablets of 50 sheets each. This way, all stripes were consistent, and made for much easier folding.

    • flicker lm profile image

      flicker lm 5 years ago

      Thanks for the info on how to make these beautiful ornaments!

    • Lee Hansen profile image

      Lee Hansen 5 years ago from Vermont

      German stars are a wonderful Moravian tradition. Visit Christkindlmarkt in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania for a taste of old world Christmas in America's Christmas City ... and the home of Moravian College. Love this lens and have added it to my Bethlehem PA lenses as well as Christkindlmarkt and Christmas Paper Crafts. Happy Holiday!

    • sockii profile image

      Nicole Pellegrini 5 years ago from New Jersey

      Very awesome lens! Loved all the step-by-step photos. I will be saving this one for future reference!

    • profile image

      lc_online 5 years ago

      These are SO pretty! I want to try to make some for the holidays.

    • WayfarersGuide profile image

      WayfarersGuide 6 years ago

      I was really excited to see this lens and added it as a featured lens on my "Moravian Stars" lens. Please check it out at http://www.squidoo.com/moravian-stars and give it a thumbs up, if you like it. I did a google Keyworld search and it looks like "paper stars" is a very strong key word for this topic - you may want to add that to your tags, if you haven't already done so.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      This is my first time to hear of the German start. Very clear insturctions.

    • profile image

      Helene-Malmsio 6 years ago

      oooooooh... I just have to try this out! ... more complicated than my usual woven Danish Hearts!

    • JeremiahStanghini profile image

      JeremiahStanghini 6 years ago

      I'd never heard of a German star before!With Love and Gratitude,Jeremiah

    • profile image

      WhitePineLane 6 years ago

      These are so beautiful. We bought some at the Minnesota Discovery Center in northern MN last summer that are made of birchbark, and it was a thrill to have them on our tree this year.

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 6 years ago from United States

      Wow! What a really beautiful star! Congratulations on being listed on the 2010 Giant Squid Showcase!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      What lovely ornaments these make! Congrats on being placed on the 2010 Giant Squid Showcase list!

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 6 years ago

      Beautiful ornaments ... congratulations on being chosen for the 2010 Giant Squid Showcase. Happy new year!

    • greenerme profile image

      greenerme 6 years ago

      Congrats on making it on the Giant Squid Showcase! Happy New Year!

    • Spook LM profile image

      Spook LM 6 years ago

      Fascinating. Especially as I have two left thumbs. Congratulations and all the best for 2011.

    • indigoj profile image

      Indigo Janson 6 years ago from UK

      What a great Christmas craft guide! I think these stars give such a festive feel, I can't wait to try making some, and know a crafty youngster who will enjoy this project too.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I've always loved the German Stars and now I'll know how to make them! Congratulations for being on the Best of List for the 2010 Giant Squid Showcase!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Congratulations for being included in The 2010 Giant Squid Showcase by the SquidTeam! How cool is that! Happy New Year, Squidhugs from Kathy

    • WildFacesGallery profile image

      Mona 6 years ago from Iowa

      Really really lovely. I'm adding this as a featured lens to my Handmade Christmas Lensography. :)