This is the first year that my boyfriend and I are living by ourselves, sans flatmates, in our house and I’m getting really excited about Christmas. We’ve decided to get a real tree, a little one with roots so we can keep it on our roof terrace and it can become part of the family. But decorating has proved a bit tricky. My boyfriend comes empty handed, but I have inherited my family’s entire collection of Christmas tree decorations. Three huge boxes of mismatched, emotionally charged objects – among others there is a stuffed paper bear I made in kindergarten, a few remaining beautiful pre-war baubles that belonged to my grandma, some Scandinavian paper garlands and even a few Christmas Smurfs. Classy.
So we have decided to start afresh, making our own decorations (better keeping everything else in the boxes for now…) and we’re going to make paper stars. They feel very nostalgic and also look very stylish, which is a lovely combination – plus if our cat Rambo decides to attack the tree, there won’t be any casualties. Here are some rather lovely ones that are not too difficult to make, as long as you arm yourself with some patience.
- different colour papers (not too thick nor too thin)
- some card
- scissors or scalpel
- a pencil
- a ruler
Each star is made of eight squares. You can go as big as you want, but I’d suggest you learn on a bigger size first – anything below 5 cm (per side) gets a bit fiddly to put together. As a reference, with 15 cm squares you make a 23 cm diameter star, with 10 cm squares a 15 cm star, and with 5 cm squares you make a 11.5 cm star.
1. Fashion yourself a template with the card and cut the eight pieces of paper (or be lazy and buy already cut origami paper, you can get it in Muji).
2. Fold a square in half, diagonally joining two opposite corners. Fold and refold a few times to create a nice sharp crease.
3. Now unfold and place the open square in front of you (if using one-sided coloured paper, place the coloured side downwards), with the crease pointing upwards and fold the right and left corners in towards the middle line until you get a kite shape.
4. Turn the paper around and repeat on the shorter sides – now you have a perfect diamond shape.
5. Next, fold the top part down onto the lower part and towards the right, so that the folded edges are aligned.
6. Unfold and repeat on the opposite side (see right hand picture above).
7. Turn the paper over – now the top part should have a cross made by fold lines.
8. Fold both of these new creases backwards and invert the fold on the shorter side of your paper, making the small upper diamond flip up. This part takes practise and a few deep breathes!
9. Then fold the two bigger halves together in a downwards motion so that your paper looks like a standing up bird (without legs!) made by two triangles. Still with me? The bigger of these triangles should have flaps folding inwards (see above, right).
10. Now you have created one point of your star. Begin again and make another 7 little legless birds, so you have 8 in total.
11. To assemble the star, slot the small point of one bird inside the inner flaps of the larger point of the next bird.
12. It’s easier to form two halves of a star first, opening up the flap on both the last big points of each half, assembling them together.
13. Don’t tighten the pieces too much at the beginning as it’s easier to put the two halves together if they are a little loose.
14. To tighten the star, grab two opposite tips close to the centre and carefully use a shuffling technique to tighten. Don’t pull the in the opposite direction, the star will come apart and you may very well shed a tear.
15. Et voila’! Your paper star is ready. Use needle and thread to make a loop on each star to hang them on the tree.
Photography: Dee Ramadan
Styling: Margherita Poggiali