I don’t really do Christmas. I don’t do presents, I don’t do a tree, I don’t do a turkey. I mostly think of it as socially sanctioned down time and enjoy the opportunity to have a bit of guilt free rest. But somehow, I still make these. Pretty much every year.
I grew up making them and they soothe the part of my brain that takes great joy in bringing order and structure to chaos. Every time I post about them, it becomes awfully clear that quite a few of you like them too. And, while I am officially not teaching anyone how to do them, I can more or less manage to show you how I make one, and you can probably figure it out for yourself from there if you’re so inclined.
You need a few tools and supplies. At a bare minimum, you need the straw and the form to hold the star as you build it, some thread to tie it off, and some tiny scissors to trim it down at the end. If you don’t enjoy getting splinters under your fingernail, you also want the splitter to take the straw and turn it into individual pieces. If you tend to be more comfortable following instructions, you can get a book or even a kit (it’s in German, but you’re in it for the pictures), but I suspect you can wing it! I’ve got this all together over on amazon if you want it all in one place (and yes, yes these absolutely totally are affiliate links, because if I’m going to take pictures and track down the supplies, I’m cool with amazon giving me some money for doing it).
As for how you do it? It’s pretty mellow. You start by splitting your straw (which is deeply deeply satisfying in some way I can’t fully explain).
Then you lay the split bits of straw on the form. Just work your way around the form, one peg at a time. The inside of the straw is matte, and the outside is shiny, so you’ll want to make sure to have the same side facing up all the way around (or at least to be intentional about it if you’re doing something else…it sucks to get to the end and realize one single piece is different from the others).
Put down as many layers as you want. You make different stars by changing how many you do and in what order and positions you put them down.
When you’ve got as many as you’d like, put the second part of the form on to hold the pieces in place. Push it down enough to hold them still, but not enough to crack the straw.
Then you start tying off the junctions between the pegs. You can do it with the help of a large, blunt needle, or you can just sort of weave the thread in and out of the straw in a way that looks deeply perplexing to anyone watching but is sort of oddly soothing once you get in the groove. As you tie each junction off, you’ll see the star start to get more tidy and orderly. You can lift the second part of the form up to check on things if you’re impatient, but be careful not to spill the pieces out because that will make you say lots of bad words…ask me how I know.
Once it’s all tied off, you trim the ends. How you trim them makes a huge difference to how the finished star looks, and it’s the other place to experiment with and try different things. It makes a bit of a mess, and you’ll want very tiny, very sharp scissors.
Once it’s all trimmed, lift it gently off the form, tie the thread you used to secure the straw into a hanging loop, and you’re done! Then you make more. Because I don’t think you can stop at one.
If you want more information, I did another post about these last year, and that might be useful. And again, I am 100% being super mean and very explicitly not teaching anyone how to do this. This is code for ‘do not send me messages demanding I make you a video of how to do this or asking exactly how to put the straw down or trim the ends for a particular star you saw me make, because I will both tell you no and be pretty cranky about it.’ I say this so directly because I got a bunch of that last year. Several folks were shockingly upset when I declined to spend hours teaching them how to do something I do as an occasional holiday activity (really…it one of the more impressive displays of an inappropriate sense of entitlement to a stranger’s time I’ve ever seen). So I’m trying to preempt that this year by being alarmingly direct. But, if you want to go on a little adventure of your own, I’m pretty sure you can pull this off!
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