Straw stars

I posted these on instagram the other day and folks lost their everloving minds.

I’ve tracked down the stuff you need to make them, and linked it all up here under the Straw Stars tab.

You should know a couple of things before you fall too much in love with them.  And I’m going to be quite firm about this.  First, Shipping Is Expensive.  Most of this stuff seems to be shipped from Germany, and that’s expensive and slow (this is my polite way of saying if you send me a note or leave a comment saying ‘shipping is expensive’ I’m going to first roll my eyes and then say ‘yes, yes it is’).  Second The Books Are In German.  This is a German craft (or at least that’s where I learned about it…it seems to also be done in Denmark and Sweden and maybe Poland and very likely other places too), that’s where all the supplies I found come from, and that’s the language the books are written in.  You’re mostly interested in the pictures, but you should totally know ahead of time that the text is in German (this is also my polite way of saying if you send me a note saying ‘the book is in German’ I’m going to first sigh then roll my eyes and then say ‘yes, yes it is’).  And finally, I’m totally not teaching you how to do these.  I’ll show some pictures of how I make mine.  But this is my hobby, and explaining things is my job, I’m absolutely positively not making my hobby feel like my job.  Now, with all that out of the way…

The stars are made of straw which you split into pieces (2 or 3 or 4 or 6 of them depending on what size you want, mine are all split into 6), arrange on a little form, and tie off with thread.

That’s the thing I use to split mine, you just shove the end of the straw over that asterisk looking bit and it splits them in pieces.

Then you arrange the pieces in an orderly way on the form.  You make different patterns by using different numbers of pieces and by placing them in different positions and in different orders on the form (this is the bit the book will show you how to do…and I will not show you how to do, because I’m mean and lazy and heartless and want this to stay a hobby and not a job…but I’ll tell you what to google at the end if you want to find videos of it).

Once they’re in position, you put the top part of the form over them to hold everything still while you tie it all off.

I use crochet cotton to tie it off (you need something thin, strong, and not at all stretchy…think thread, not yarn). It gets much more tidy and orderly as you tie it off.

Now you trim it.  Trimming takes an age, it will absolutely wreck your scissors, and it sends little bits of straw flying everywhere.

It also makes the whole thing take shape…so you have to do it anyway.

You can vacuum when you’re done.

And get your scissors sharpened.

When you’re all done, trim and tie the ends of your string and use it to hang your ornament (on the tree…in the window…whatever makes you happy).

If you want to do it yourself, this is what I could find on amazon from sellers that will ship to the US (that’s totally an affiliate link…I spent a day of winter break taking photos and tracking down links and writing the post, I’m absolutely using affiliate links in it).  You’ll need the straw and the form for sure. And if you can track down a splitter, you’ll save your thumbnail (you can do it by hand, but I don’t really like splinters under my fingernails, so I don’t do it that way).

If I wanted to start doing this, I’d order the kit that comes with the giant form, a splitter, a book, and a little bit of straw.  If you just know you’re going to adore doing this and want to make zillions and zillions, you can get the giant bundle of straw and the smaller forms.  And yes, yes the shipping is expensive. I know because I order the straw every year…it’s cheaper than a plane ticket.

If you’re comfortable using amazon.de, you may be able to get them to send a lot of this to you for way way less (they won’t generally ship the straw to the US, but they will ship the tools).  You may well be able to find things on etsy too (I know for sure the finished stars are available on there) or elsewhere online.

If you want to go on a google adventure, try looking for “strohsterne” (that’s straw stars) or “strohhalme” (that’s the straw).  A company that makes the forms is KnorrPrandell and the name for them is “legeform” (I’m pretty sure that literally means laying form, as in the form you lay the pieces on), and the splitter is “strohspalter” (that’s straw splitter).  So searching for “legeform für strohsterne” will find you lots of goodies (and also plenty of videos of people making them if you want to watch someone who is not me show you how to do it).

And you’ve got plenty of time to make a whole tree full for next year if you’re feeling ambitious!