Lynne loves to do crafts with her children and grandchildren. (almost as much as she loves them and loves Jesus!)
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 above.
I learned to make these delightful ornaments in the mid-'90's. I taught my daughters, and for several years we made them as 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.
Below, you'll find instructions and supplies to make these beautiful ornaments.
(And if you keep scrolling to the bottom you'll find a link to a photo gallery of step by step photo)
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
The Star Paper
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.
The Finished First Basket Weave
Another Origami Ornament
The Second Basket Weave
Step Two - The Second Basket Weave
- Right now each side of your square should have one set of "tails" hanging out. (Pictured above)
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.
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!
Create the Flat Star Points
- 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!
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.
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 original 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
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)
The Finished Star
One more fun ornament to make
Tell me about your favorite handmade ornament - OR just leave a note!
Bret on November 09, 2018:
wow...super creative...can you do a post on christmas ornaments?
anonymous on April 06, 2013:
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.
applejacking on December 23, 2012:
Beautiful. Serious, I will try to follow your tutorial this day. It's cool for my Christmas tree in my house.
Lynne Modranski (author) from Ohio on November 05, 2012:
@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.
anonymous on November 05, 2012:
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?
anonymous on November 01, 2012:
Something that doesn't take work
Marc from Edinburgh on July 17, 2012:
These look great!
Delia on April 01, 2012:
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.
anonymous on January 14, 2012:
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 on December 14, 2011:
Thanks for the info on how to make these beautiful ornaments!
Lee Hansen from Vermont on November 28, 2011:
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!
Nicole Pellegrini from New Jersey on October 16, 2011:
Very awesome lens! Loved all the step-by-step photos. I will be saving this one for future reference!
lc_online on October 15, 2011:
These are SO pretty! I want to try to make some for the holidays.
WayfarersGuide on June 18, 2011:
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.
Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on April 11, 2011:
This is my first time to hear of the German start. Very clear insturctions.
Helene-Malmsio on March 01, 2011:
oooooooh... I just have to try this out! ... more complicated than my usual woven Danish Hearts!
JeremiahStanghini on February 18, 2011:
I'd never heard of a German star before!With Love and Gratitude,Jeremiah
WhitePineLane on January 21, 2011:
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.
Cynthia Sylvestermouse from United States on January 06, 2011:
Wow! What a really beautiful star! Congratulations on being listed on the 2010 Giant Squid Showcase!
anonymous on January 01, 2011:
What lovely ornaments these make! Congrats on being placed on the 2010 Giant Squid Showcase list!
KimGiancaterino on December 31, 2010:
Beautiful ornaments ... congratulations on being chosen for the 2010 Giant Squid Showcase. Happy new year!
greenerme on December 31, 2010:
Congrats on making it on the Giant Squid Showcase! Happy New Year!
Spook LM on December 30, 2010:
Fascinating. Especially as I have two left thumbs. Congratulations and all the best for 2011.
Indigo Janson from UK on December 28, 2010:
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.
anonymous on December 28, 2010:
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!
anonymous on December 28, 2010:
Congratulations for being included in The 2010 Giant Squid Showcase by the SquidTeam! How cool is that! Happy New Year, Squidhugs from Kathy
Mona from Iowa on December 28, 2010:
Really really lovely. I'm adding this as a featured lens to my Handmade Christmas Lensography. :)