Bright

If you’ve been here a while, you know all about this.

You know that this is a compunction that comes on me this time of year.

A compunction that I am more or less helpless to resits.

I spend a few minutes folding a bunch of these.

Then carefully carefully glueing them together (the glue dots are new this year and so far, they are a tremendous improvement over previous methods).

Rinse and repeat until the urge passes or I run out of window space.

People always always always ask, so yes, I can tell you how to do it.  Or rather, I’m not going to actually teach it to you myself (that is suspiciously like work), but I’ll point you to where you can find the info.

I’ve put it all together in one place over here on amazon. Those are totally all affiliate links.  If I’m going to pause my beloved holiday childhood activity and take pictures and then go trawling the internet for info then write it all up here, I’m absolutely going to let amazon send me a few cents for my trouble.  I’m mean and greedy like that.  If affiliate links bug you, it’s totally cool not to click them, I’ll never ever know.

At the link, you’ll find books on how to fold them in both German and English.  I tend to think the German ones are a bit more intricate, and I’d probably go with those if you like the ones I’m making.  You’re mostly going to just be looking at the pictures and doing very basic folds (if you’ve ever made one of those fortune teller things or a paper crane, you have the folding skills you’d need to make these), so the language bits aren’t super important.  But if you’re feeling nervous, there are some English ones too that are a bit simpler and will be easier to read (you know, assuming you don’t happen to read German).   If you don’t want a book, you can also google “fenstersterne falten anleitung” (which works out to “window star folding instructions” more or less, I’m not having you google anything dreadful) and you’ll find all sorts of stuff.  It will be in German, but you’ll mostly be in it for the pictures, and I have faith in you.

You’ll also find links for the special paper you need.  It’s not the sort of tissue paper you wrap presents in.  Do not try and use that, you’ll end up frustrated and disappointed.  The paper you want is much crisper than tissue paper (sort of like a cross between colored tissue paper and waxed paper and tracing paper).  Finding the right paper is the one fiddly part to this whole process.  If you don’t have the right stuff, the stars flat won’t work.  You need paper that’s stiff enough to fold, but translucent enough to let light through, because the light coming through the different layers is how this whole thing works.  Luckily you only need a couple of sheets of paper per star, so the package I linked to will let you make dozens of stars.

I trim my paper to size with a paper cutter because if you don’t get your pieces the same size and the edges nice and straight, the star will be messy.  The paper is hard enough to come by that I don’t want to waste it by trying to cut with scissors and being off a bit.  I make my folds with a bone folder because my thumbnail eventually gets sore if I don’t.  And this year I’ve started using glue dots to both hold the pieces together and hold the finished stars to the window.  It’s easier than double sided tape or glue.  I’ll see how they hold on the window over the season, but so far so good.

Now if you’ll excuse me, the window in my office faces west, and I need to see just how many of these I can fit in there.  I’ve got to do something to make up for the sun setting at 4pm.

 

Bright

The sun is setting somewhere around 4pm.  All I can say is that my office windows face west, so at least I get the light as long as possible.  That helps…and filling those west-facing windows with these helps too!

I’ve chatted about them here before, and the fascination remains as strong as ever.

If you want to make some yourself, you need the magic paper.  It’s sort of like a cross between tracing paper and cellophane (it’s not like the colored tissue paper you wrap presents in).  You can find little squares of it here and big giant sheets of it here.  I use the small squares and the stars I make are somewhere between the size of a salad plate and a dinner plate (you use several sheets per star, so they get big).  If you used the big sheets, you’d end up with something that would fill a door!

There are some books with instructions here and here.  And there are some kits that come with instructions and a little bit of paper here and here (though you’re probably going to want more paper than those include if you decide you like it).  Full disclosure, those aren’t the books I have (mine are old and in German), but they seem to be very much the same as mine.  And there are a few online guides for some of the simple stars here and here and here (and some fancy ones here if you don’t mind it being in German…you really only need the pictures anyway).

You don’t need much in the way of tools…possibly something to cut the paper to size and something to hold your pieces together (so scissors or an x-acto knife and tape or a glue stick).  But if you get as unreasonably entertained by it as I am you will want a paper cutter (I like this one because it has replaceable blades) and a bone folder (it makes more of a difference than you’d think…it takes me about a third less time to make a star with one, my creases are neater, and my thumbnail doesn’t get sore).

A few supplies, a few hours of folding (put on a tv show, it’s meditative in much the same way knitting is), and you can fill your windows up and fight off winter gloom!