Handmade German Star Ornaments
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
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
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.
- First take four strips of paper and fold all four pieces in half
- 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.
- 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.
- Put all four tails inside the four correponding folded edges
- Pull all pieces together until they are snug.
Another Handmade Ornament Pattern
- Handmade Christmas Ornament
These origami wheels can also make lovely Christmas Ornaments
Step Two - The Second Basket Weave
- 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
- Fold the top piece of bottom right tail UP
- Fold the top piece of the right side tail over the first folded tail so it is now a tail on the left.
Fold the top piece on the upper left side down over the last folded piece
Fold the bottom right tail toward the left. Take this tail and slide it under the first to complete the basketweave.
Thoughts On Christmas
- Advent Readings
Advent Readings are short daily devotions to help us prepare our hearts as we make our Christmas preparations. Check out this page to find links to more than 5 sets of daily Advent Readings.
- Yes, Virginia, There is a Christ Child
Inspired by the Christmas Story, "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus," Lynne Modranski shares her thoughts about Christ and how they compare with this old story.
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!
- 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!
- 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
- 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).
- 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.
- Now rotate your star (either way) and repeat these last four directions until you have four points.
- 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!
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
- Holding your star in your left hand, grab the BOTTOM RIGHT tail with your right hand.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
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)
More Ornament Patterns
- Handmade Snowflake Ornament
These snowflake ornaments can be make from fabric or paper. My favorites are made from 12" x 12" scrapbook paper. Kids from age 8 and up would have a great time making these cute Christmas Ornaments.
- Handmade Christmas Ornament
Paper folding is fun! Origami Wheels are much easier to fold than German Stars. This traditional origami project can easily be transformed into a two sided Christmas ornament. A couple of small beads or gems can really spice it up!
I love the diamond dust glitter!
This is my favorite kind of glitter for the stars. It really makes them shimmer.