When we first saw Paula Arndt’s Danish Star ornaments, we knew we had to learn more! Using the Scandinavian-inspired designs from her Spoonflower shop, Paula is showing us how we can recreate her go-to holiday décor. Whether you add them to your Christmas tree, attach them to presents or pass them out to family and friends, you’ll quickly see why these paper stars are so addicting to make!
Paula: Whether you have a time-honored tradition of taking the family out for a joyful afternoon of cutting just the right tree, finding the perfect Charlie Brown tree in a grocery store tree lot or foregoing the mess and upkeep of falling needles and daily watering for a reusable faux tree (as I have), a handmade ornament can transform your tree and bring an appreciation for slowing things down during the busy holiday season.
I frequented holiday craft shows in Seattle when I still resided there and fell in love with the handmade paper ornaments I’d see. I would notice people gravitating towards them, buying them up in mere minutes. This got me thinking: I should add paper ornaments to my own offerings when I participated in holiday craft fairs as a seller. I would use my own patterns as additional marketing.
Every holiday craft fair I was a vendor in, my Danish paper stars would sell out the first day. Every night, despite being tired from standing in my booth all day, talking with customers and “hawking my wares”, I’d spend hours that night making more stars for the next day’s event.
I noticed simpler patterns and colors show best on the stars. I have experimented using glitters, jewels, rhinestones and add-ons but they never sold as well as the plain paper ones with no embellishments! The only thing I prefer to use now on mine is two-colored kitchen twine.
But don’t limit yourself! If your stars are fancier, try using a thin silk ribbon. If they are more rustic, use a rough twine or even thin leather cord.
I used to print my stars at home on thick card stock but that gets so expensive so I sought out an alternative. Spoonflower’s Smooth wallpaper is perfect for the job (just the right thickness) and starts at just $5 a swatch!
Danish Star Materials
Step 1: Cut out the wallpaper.
Once I receive the swatch the swatch of wallpaper, I need to cut it into two equal squares. For this tutorial I will be working with two 4″ paper squares.
Step 2: Fold the paper in half.
On each square, fold the unprinted sides together at the corners and press the fold flat. Do this in both directions on each square so when the square lays open, you see two diagonal folds going corner to corner.
Step 3: Fold the paper in half again.
For the second fold, fold the straight edges to match each other, pattern side together. Again, do this to all four sides on both squares.
When the squares lay flat, you see fold lines going straight across on each side, plus the corner-to-corner folds.
Step 4: Cut the star points.
To make points that fold, you need to cut the square edges a bit. Using craft scissors, cut almost halfway in from the outside edge towards the center from the center lines only, not the corners! Each square will have four cuts.
Step 5: Make the star points.
To make the star points, lay the squares on their backs (printed side down) and carefully fold from the cut, towards the fold line, keeping the point in each corner.
Do this on all four corners for each square.
Step 6: Glue the star points together.
To make the points hold their shape and to give the stars that 3D look, you need to glue the folded point sides together. I use Fabri-Tac because it has an almost-instant bond.
I have never used Fabric-Tac when sewing, even though it’s a fabric glue! But having made my own handmade pop-up greeting cards for over 33 years, I needed a glue that was extremely strong with an instant bond that would not soak through paper or discolor it. I find the glue at my local JoAnn Fabrics but you can also find it online.
To glue the points together, place glue on one side of each star point and fold in half so the two printed sides are touching. Squeeze tightly with your fingers to hold in place until the glue stars to dry.
Pro tip: Use a good, strong glue!
Step 7: Attach the star hanger.
Now you get to glue the hanger on! I use decorative cotton baker’s twine found in many fabric or craft shops. For my red gingham stars, I find the red and white twirly twine looks perfect. I cut an 11”-13” length of twine per star (you only need one piece of ribbon or twine per star). If your stars are smaller, cut a smaller length, etc., but make sure the ribbon or twine is at least longer than one point on the star!
Put a small dab of glue in each corner at the base of one point and lay the ends of the ribbon or twine in the glue and gently tamp the twine into the glue.
Step 8: Glue the stars together.
Add a dab of glue to each corner at the base of every point and put the other half of the star on top, with its points juxtaposed between the points of the other star half.
Hold it together gently for maybe 20-30 seconds–hold longer if you use a different glue that bonds slower.
Step 9: Hang the star!
After the glue bonds the sides, lay aside to dry over night so the sides are adhered permanently. Then hang on your tree, attach as an embellishment to a wrapped present or attach to a door knob.
If you want to make bunting or garland, glue ribbon or twine on two sides of each star, stringing each star along until you have reached your desired length.
I usually end up giving the stars to visiting friends and family, straight off my tree. If you come for tea and admire the ornaments, I encourage you to take the one you love and use it at home on your own tree. I usually end up with just twinkling lights on my tree by Christmas day but that’s OK because it makes me happy to know people admired my handmade craft so much, they saw no problem in denuding my tree! hahaha
About the Guest Blogger
Designing professionally for over 33 years, Paula Arndt has worked as a new product designer for a greeting card/gift product company most of her design career. Before designing cards, Paula ran her own hand painted furniture and mural business. Today, Paula enjoys surface pattern design as the world goes digital and her love of cottage inspired designs found in her Spoonflower shop reflect her rural country upbringing in Wisconsin.