Tiny Nonsense

Gleaming

This is a digital download (a PDF), not a physical object.
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This e-book is available to patrons in the Utter Nonsense and Rampant Nonsense tiers on patreon. Members of those tiers will be able to download the book as part of their membership at any point between November 30, 2022 and January 31, 2023. It may be for sale elsewhere later, but it will be exclusive to patrons until then!

Every year, right about when the time changes and the sun starts setting well before dinnertime, I am overcome with the urge to make these. I fold them by the dozen and absolutely fill my windows. I can’t explain it. I can’t justify it. I have absolutely no idea how something made from nothing more than a few sheets of paper and a couple of stickers can be so utterly enchanting. But somehow they are.

They satisfy my brain in much the same way as knitting. You use simple materials (yarn, or paper), and a tiny handful of fundamental techniques (knit & purl stitches, or straight & diagonal folds), and repeat the same actions over and over (stitch after stitch after stitch, or fold after fold after fold). And somehow you end up with something that feels like so much more than the sum of its parts.

They’ve been a touchstone of my year for longer than I can remember (the family lore is that they were one of the holiday crafts the nuns at my German kindergarten taught me to make). They make even the darkest winter days seem just a bit brighter and more bearable. And, while I certainly don’t have the commanding presence of an elderly German nun, I absolutely love the idea of sharing them with all of you.

I hope they bring you a little light when the world feels dark!

General information

This 116-page e-book shows you everything you need to know to make your own intricate paper stars! It includes a discussion of my favorite materials (and some alternatives if you want to experiment), tips on folding, assembling, and hanging your stars, and fold-by-fold instructions to make 8 different stars.

Skills & scope

I know they look daunting, but if you can fold a piece of paper in half, you can make these!

No really, if you’ve ever made a paper airplane or one of those fortune teller toys you probably played with as a kid, you can absolutely do this. All you ever have to do is fold a piece of paper either straight (like how a card folds before it goes in an envelope) or on a diagonal (like how you can fold a square to make it into a triangle).

Like any new skill, it may feel a tiny bit awkward the first time through, but I’m confident you’ll have the hang of it in no time!

Tools & supplies

One of the best things about the stars is that they need very little in the way of materials! You really just need the right kind of paper, something to fasten the paper together, and a way to hang the finished stars.

Paper

The paper you use for these really matters. It needs to be translucent (so light can shine through it and show off all the layers). It needs to be lightweight (so you can fold it several times without it becoming too thick to work with). And it needs to hold a crisp fold (so your star will have sharp edges and maintain its shape).

I’ve tried a lot of papers, and one stands out as the absolute best choice. The only tricky part is you almost certainly will have to order it online. But if you’re going to make more than a few stars, I think it’s worth the trouble! It’s called kite paper (you sometimes see it called Waldorf star paper too). It’s translucent, lightweight, and folds beautifully. All of the finished stars in this book are made with three or four sheets of eight inch kite paper and are between eight and eleven inches across (it’s fine to use a different size of paper, I just used the eight inch size so I could have big pieces for the instructional photos to make everything easy to see).

This is the exact paper I used for the stars in the book, but you can also just search for ‘kite paper’ or ‘waldorf star paper’ if you don’t want to use amazon. If that’s out of stock (you folks have bought a lot of paper!), I’ve also used this and this and this in the past. I talk about a few alternatives in the book, but alas, none of them work as well as kite paper.

Fasteners

Each star is made up of several pieces of paper held together in the middle. Because the paper is translucent, you want to be sure that whatever you use to hold the pieces together is also translucent (otherwise you might see it when you hold the star up to the light).

I hold all of my stars together with round, clear stickers. They’re easy to use, nearly invisible and they hold up well over time. All the finished stars in this book are held together with two round, clear stickers (one on the front, one on the back), each two inches in diameter.

These are the exact stickers I used, but you can just search for ’round clear sticker’ if you don’t want to use amazon.

Hangers

These want to be hung in a sunny window to really shine. I hang mine with adhesive dots (just put one in the very center of the star).

I’ve used these removable ones (great if you want to keep your stars from year to year, but don’t hold quite as firmly as the permanent ones, and you might need more than one for the biggest stars) and these permanent ones (great if you want that star to stay where you put it forever, but you absolutely will destroy your star taking it down, and you’ll have to clean the adhesive off the window), but you can search for either ‘removable adhesive dots’ or ‘permanent adhesive dots’ if you don’t want to use amazon.

I’ve included amazon affiliate  links to the exact stuff I use. I fully acknowledge that amazon is evil! But they’re also convenient, especially for things that you probably can’t find locally, and I want to make it easy for you to find what you’re looking for. And if I’m going to send them a sale, I’m ok with them paying me a few cents in return. If you prefer to search for your supplies somewhere else, that’s totally cool, and I included suggestions for what to search for as well.

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