Family Fun with German Paper Stars

There are a lot of arts and crafts that I have learned from my mom. Many of those crafts she learned from her mom...and that is part of why I love arts and crafts so much, it is almost like a little piece of family history that can be shared.  One such family craft heirloom in my family is the German paper stars.  I love making these little stars in all sorts of colors and sizes, it puts me in the holiday mood right away.  This year I was home for Thanksgiving and after the the dessert plates had been whisked away I started in on a family tutorial on how to turn a group of plain paper strips into a beautiful little star.

How to make a paper star:

Getting Started:
The success of your paper star experiences can be greatly increases by the paper you use.  When starting out you want a medium weights paper that will be forgiving of multiple folds and tugging.  Computer printer paper works quite well.  Once you get use to the process you can try out all sorts of paper.

The other hint is to use a paper cutter or rotatory cutter to cut your strips. If you have even strips it will make the whole process much easier.

Longer strips that are thinner with will be much easier to make into 3D stars.  But the width of your strips is another fun thing to change and play with to vary the size of your stars.

Step 1: Setting up your star
-Take four strips of paper and fold them in half.
-Place two strips and lay them horizontally with the folds on opposite sides ( I have the top strip so the fold is to your left hand side and the bottom strip has the fold on the right hand)
-Take the 3rd strip and place it vertically with the fold towards the edge of the table.  Slide the bottom horizontal strip into strip 3, then take both parts of strip 3 and feed it in between the arms of the top horizontal strip.
-With strip 4 place it vertically next to strip 3 with the fold towards the middle of the table.  Create a weave like you did with strip 3 this time going on the outside of the top horizontal strip and in the middle of the bottom strip.  (diagram 1)

diagram 1

-Pull the ends so that all the folds come together to form a square. (diagram 2)
This is what your strips should look like once you have them woven together.

* In my diagram the ends of each strip are colored a different color to help following along easier. *

Once you pull the strips tight they should look like this.  I always start my star with the strips fanning around the square on the left hand side.

diagram 2
*Note you can do this either way if you are a lefty or a righty you might find one way can play around with how it works for it but it is important that you stay consistent through out each star or it won't turn out the way you want it it. *

Diagram 3
- Next starting with the top strip (here shown in green) fold the top   layer of the strip down over the center square. (diagram 3)

- Rotate the piece 90 degrees.  I always rotate clockwise, but you can go counter clockwise as long as you stay consisted through out the whole piece.

- Fold down the top layer of the next strip down over the center square.
   (diagram 4)

- Continue by rotating the piece and folding down the strips in this fashion.
diagram 4
diagram 5

- Lock the piece into place by
sliding the strip into the middle slit                                                      before pulling it tight and into place.
  (diagram 5)

- After it is in place there should be two strips on each side on your center square.  (diagram 6)

diagram 6

Step 2: Forming the points

diagram 7
- Taking a strip from the top right hand side fold it to the back until it lines up next to the strip off the right hand side of the main square.  This fold should produce a small triangle with the remainder of the strip out behind it. (diagram 7)

diagram 10

-  Fold the strip down so it lines up along the side of the main square.  This should make a second triangle right next to the first. (diagram 8)

-Then slip the end of the strip under the strip directly under it and pull it tight.  The strip should be coming out in the middle of the square. (diagram 10)

(or as the girl I babysit for would makes on big triangle with a line in the middle...either way it should look like the diagram on the left)
diagram 11

-Fold the triangle in half to form one
 smaller right angle triangle (diagram 9)

* Helpful note:  When trying to feed your strips through it helps to either fold the tips into a point or snip the ends to form a point.  It makes it a lot easier to get them through. *

diagram 12
- Flip piece over and repeat this process to form the points for the other half of the square.
(diagram 12)

-When you have finished all of your strips should be swirling out from the inside center of the main square. (diagram 13)

-You can trim off all the strips here and end your project here as a 2D star, or you can go on to the next step to add that 3D flair.

diagram 13

Step 3: Making it 3D

        -Starting with the horizontal strip on the right hand side of the      square hold the strip at the end with your thumb and pointer finger.  Starting with your fingers pointing up (diagram 14) while holding the strip while you turn your wrist till your fingers are pointing down toward your project (diagram 15).  This will form the proper loop for the 3D loop.
diagram 14
diagram 15

-Take the point from this loop and feed it into the middle crease behind the strip  pointing vertically up toward the middle of the table (diagram 16). The strip will emerge out of the triangles forming the point.  Gently pull the strip and the fold will tighten until it form the 3D point.

diagram 16

* Helpful Hints:
 -I sometimes use tweezers to pull my strips through when they are a little tricky.
-Use your thumb to push the strip into the crease to help avoid the paper from folding.

-Once you have formed all your points trim the rest of your strip off.  And then you have made a German paper star.  Once you do it a few time the process gets much easier.  You will get the feel for how to guide the paper strips the easiest for you.  Just remember always always pick one direction to go in and continue that way through out your project.  The is the most important tip I can give you to have success.  Enjoy!!!

Angela Joy and Kimbie hard at work in their matching outfits
My 6 year old niece & her kitty

She was able to do all but the 3D part all by herself
Annie with her star
My "star" pupil.  Once she got going Angela Joy
was a star making machine!

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