Folded Paper Star Tutorial – a free tutorial by The Whimsical Marbler
Jessica Goulty from The Whimsical Marbler makes beautiful original marbled paper for creatives who love use handmade, bold and eclectic papers in their craft. In this fun and simple tutorial Jess shows you how to make lovely folded paper stars. These little paper stars make beautiful hanging decorations suitable for any occasion but are particularly lovely at Christmas time. Over to you Jess…
Hi everyone. I’ve created this free paper star tutorial for you, as I think it’s a great to use up leftover wrapping paper, as well as any other pretty papers you might have collected. There are some gorgeous commercially printed decorative papers, as well as hand printed ones (you could even print your own!) and Chiyogami… the list goes on! I love using my marbled papers with metallic paints for these, as it gives a bit of an extra festive feel to the display. Let’s start!
What you need:
- 80-140gsm decorative paper*
- long thin stick (eg a bamboo kebab stick or at a push you can use the pencil)
- double-sided tape or small glue dots
- high-tack glue (such as Aleene’s Tacky Glue or if you are neat and know how to use one a hot glue gun works too. PVA, or other glues can be used but it takes longer for them to set and you have to hold them in place for a while. )
*We want to use paper that is 80-140gsm in weight. Gsm stands for grams per square metre and tells you what the weight of a square metre sheet would be in grams. We can think of it as paper thickness. 80gsm is standard printer paper weight and below that paper is a bit too flimsy. Above 140gsm paper becomes harder to fold nicely and your creases won’t be as sharp. Most commercially printed papers are in the 80-100gsm range – most websites will provide the gsm in the details of their listings.
How to make your paper star
Firstly we need to start with two identical squares of our paper. It doesn’t matter how big or small your squares are – I have folded stars from squares as small as 4cm.
The squares I am using are 11.8cm. I find around 10-12cm squares give plenty of impact without using up too much paper or becoming difficult to work with.
1. We want to fold our square in half, pattern side in and crease along the folded edge. Open out and fold in half in the other direction, again keeping the pattern side inside.
2. Open out and lay your square flat, pattern side down. Next we want to fold our square diagonally keeping the pattern side out. Crease on the fold. Open out and repeat diagonal fold in the other direction again keeping the pattern side out. Open out your square again and lay it flat pattern side down. The diagonal folds are marked with the black dotted lines and the centre folds are marked with the red dotted lines.
3. Take your ruler and measure from one corner along the edge to the fold in the centre of one side. Note down what this measurement is (mine is 5.9cm). Of course if you have a nice simple square size to work with you will already know what this measurement will be – half of the side of the square.
4. We need to measure from the top of one corner down one of the diagonal folds and make a mark with the pencil at your measurement. So I have made a mark at 5.9cm down from the corner. Do this on each corner.
5. Now we need to join up the marks. You want to hold the ruler at a 90 degree angle to the diagonal crease line. Using the ruler we want to draw a line that goes from the mark we have just made on the diagonal fold across to the centre folds on either side.
6. Repeat for each of the other marks and you will end up with a square which is turned 90 degrees inside your paper.
7. Now we need to take our scissors and snip down the centre fold to where the corner of our pencil square is.
8. Do this on each side so we have four cuts, one on each side down to the corner of the pencil square. Our cuts have created 8 new corners. I have labeled them A, B, C, D, E, F, G and H for ease of explanation.
9. Next we need to start folding our points of the star. Keeping the paper printed side down, take corner A and fold it over to point 1, so that the short edge of your triangle lines up with your pencil line (doesn’t need to be exact). Make sure you crease the folded edge properly and that you have formed a nice point. Repeat with corner B.
10. Repeat for all edges, C and D to point 2, E and F to point 3, G and H to point 4. You will end up with our basic 4 point star shape.
11. Now we want to make our star a bit more 3d. Open up your newly folded flaps a bit as this helps with the sticking stage.
12. In order to make our lovely 3d star, we will be overlapping the flaps as we stick them. We won’t overlap them all the way, about 2/3 of the way will do. We will stick the top most point together first.
13. Take your double sided tape and cut a small strip slightly shorter than the length of the new points. Stick it on top of the right hand flap towards the inner edge. If you are using glue dots, or any other adhesive then we want to put a small amount on the right hand flap, just spread it over an area 2/3 of the flap to make sure there’s plenty of area tacky.
14. Peel the backing off the tape if using and stick the left flap over the right. Now we need to take your kebab stick (or other narrow pointed implement) and insert it into the point and use it as a support when you press down the flap to make sure it is stuck down firmly. If you are not using an instant stick adhesive this is where you will have to wait until it sets enough to be able to leave it and not have it become unstuck.
15. Now repeat steps 13-14 with all the other points so that we end up with a lovely 3d star.
16. Repeat steps 1-14 with your other square of paper so we have two identical 3d stars.
17. Flip one star over and lay the other one on top with the flat sides together. Rotate it 90 degrees so we have an 8 pointed star.
18. If you look closely you will see that the stars are not totally flat on the back. This is why Aleene’s tacky glue or a hot glue gun works well as they are slight gap fillers as well as drying (or setting) fast. We want to put eight dots of adhesive where the two stars are touching. Enough to fill any gap there might be, but not so much that it gets squeezed out everywhere. If you choose to use PVA for this bit then try and avoid the very wet ones or leave a bit out to dry out and become tackier.
19. Place the other star on top and press down gently to make sure the areas with glue on are in contact with the unglued star. Hold in place until the glue has set.
20. You now have a 3d star! If you would like to make your star into a hanging decoration, then just pierce one of the points at the tip with a needle, and thread some thin thread through (I use sewing machine thread). Tie a knot at one end and pull the thread so that the knot is up against the tip of the point and tie a loop in the other end. Now you can hang your star! They look particularly lovely grouped together in different sizes and at different heights. So lovely in fact, that you might never take them down! Mine hang in my window all year round.