The Making of a Simple Christmas

A couple of days after Thanksgiving I bought a very small, fresh Christmas tree.  Within two weeks it was dry and brown, shedding needles all over the place so to the compost heap it went. What we have now are a couple small cast iron trees, that I’m decorating with mini window stars and other handmade paper decorations, bit by bit, day by day.

What’s nice about this piecemeal, handmade approach to a Christmas tree?  It gives me an opportunity to stop for a few minutes, think about something pleasant and create small pieces to add to the little iron trees. And not being a big fan of artificial trees, these little iron trees may solve the Christmas tree dilemma once and for all.

Window stars can be extremely simple or amazingly complex, but all are a lovely way to celebrate light throughout the year and are a perfect addition to any family’s Christmas tree.  The mini window stars I’m making for our trees are simple and can be made by young and old alike. Below is a step by step photo tutorial for the mini window stars.

 8 Point Mini Window Star (4″)

Note:  Small stars are difficult for tiny hands to make.  Use 3″x 3″  or 4″ x 4″ squares and make large stars when doing this craft with small children.  The large stars will look super on a large tree or on a window.

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Mini Window Star

What you will need:

  • Kite Paper
    • Kite paper is a transparent, colored waxed paper made in Germany. You can substitute tissue paper but it is not as sturdy or as vibrant as kite paper.  You can purchase kite paper online through Amazon, Waldorf education supply sources and some local art/craft stores.  Kite Paper comes in sizes from 6″x6″ squares to large sheets, 19.75″x25″.  Google “Kite Paper” for sources.
  • Scissors & ruler
  • OR xacto knife, ruler & cutting mat
  • OR a paper trimmer
  • OR you can fold and tear the paper
  • Glue…a small glue stick or PVA and a toothpick or glue injector
    • I use a small glue injector with a luer lock blunt needle.  I was introduced to these little gems by paper artist, Helen Hiebert, a couple of years ago and now, when appropriate, I introduce my students to them as well.  I buy these from Woodcraft 6 for 9.99 plus 3.00 or 4.00 for a package of needles.  The glue injectors are refillable.

Step 1:  Cut or tear your kite paper into eight 1.5″x 1.5″ squares.  Make sure you cut or tear your paper as accurately as possible.  Each square is one module.  (To tear, make a fold, reinforce the crease, open and tear along the crease.)

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Step 1

Step 2: Place one of the squares face down in front of you and turn it so that it has oblique angles, (looks like a diamond).

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Step 2

Step 3:  Fold the paper corner to corner.

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Step 3

Step 4:  Open the square.

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Step 4

 

Step 5:  Fold the 2 corners on either side of the center fold line to the center line.

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Step 5

Steps 6 & 6a: Place a tiny bit of glue on each of the flaps and gently press to adhere the flap to the module.  If you are using a glue stick, just a little “smear” of glue will do.

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Step 6

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Step 6a

 

Step 7, 7a & 7b:  From the top, fold each side toward the center to create a second set of flaps.  Place a tiny bit of glue on each of the flaps and gently press to adhere the flap to the module.

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Step 7

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Step 7a

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Step 7b

Repeat the above steps with the remaining 7 pieces until you have a total of 8 modules folded.

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8 folded modules

Step 9:  Place one module folded side up on the table in front of you with the narrow end at the top and the wide and at the bottom.  Put 3 tiny dabs of glue on the bottom right hand quadrant of the module.

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Step 9

Step 10:  folded side up, align the bottom point and the the lower left edge along the center line.

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Step 10

Step 11: Add the remaining 7 modules in the same way until all of the modules have been attached.  For the last module:  after you glue the right side to the back you will slip the right side of the last module to the front, turn the star over and glue the last edge. Voila!  You have a beautiful Mini Window Star!  If you want to hang you star on your Christmas tree affix a piece of mono-filament line, thread or very thin ribbon to the back of the star.  If you would like to hand it on a window use a small piece of double sided tape or a glue dot.

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Additional Ideas:

For a totally different look try beautiful decorative papers such as patterned origami papers, wrapping paper, or kraft paper for a rustic look.

Consider using kite paper when folding origami forms such as flowers and modular forms.

Additional Resources:

Window Stars, Making folded stars from colored paper, Thomas Berger, HearthSong, 2005.  From the simplest star to relatively complex ones. A great book for beginners.

Magical Window Stars, Frederique Gueret, Floris Books, 2012.  Beautiful, complex stars.

Playing with Paper, Helen Hiebert, Quarry Books, 2013.  A  window star is included in this book chock full of paper crafts for the entire family.

Pinterest…Just search for “Window Stars” or “Waldorf Stars”.

 

 

 

 

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About Daria Wilber

hand papermaker and paper artist
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