Directions to Make a Moravian Star

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The multiple-point Moravian star, popularized in Germany in the mid-1850s, is a symbol of Advent and Christmas for the Moravian Church. However, the paper craft Moravian star, also known as a Froebel star, was invented by kindergarten founder Friedrich Froebel as a tool to teach math concepts to children. It looks like a gift-wrap bow; it can be flat on one side or three-dimensional (3-D) on both sides. While folding the Moravian star can seem complicated for beginners, there are ways to make it easier and keep all those paper strips straight.


Use Different Colors

Using four strips of paper in different colors is much easier than using a single color when first learning to fold Moravian stars. Remember which color is at the top and follow the instructions from there (find instructions in the Resources section). The paper strips should be at least 20 times longer than they are wide; so, a 1-inch wide strip would be about at least 20 inches long. You may have to tape two strips of 8 1/2 by 11 inch paper together to get the required length, but don't worry–the tape won't show when you're finished. This size strip will make a Moravian star about 4 inches wide. Heavier paper will be easier to manage.


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Paper Airplane Folds

Folding the Moravian star can get a little tricky. There are a lot of angles and triangles involved, and it helps to remember how you used to fold paper airplanes. When you begin making the first triangle fold, after the basket-weave base is completed, channel your inner child. Your second triangle fold will look like the beginning of a paper airplane. The third triangle fold is like the next step in a paper airplane, the one where you fold the mirror-image triangles together and end up with a right triangle. These folds are done eight times (once for each half of the four strips), so you'll get lots of practice.


Bend the Colored Strips

When it comes time to make the 3-D center, it helps to fold over the colored strips on one side. Remember which color was at the top of the star and put it there again. Fold that strip toward you from the center. Move the strip on the right out of the way to do this. Turn the star counterclockwise so the strip on the right is on the top, and fold it down. Do the same for the other two strips, and your top color will be back on top again. Bending the colored strips will help you keep track of which four of the eight halves you are working with and will make the next triangle folds a bit easier.


After Some Practice

When you've made a few Moravian stars with the colored strips, try making single-colored stars, or stars made from the same patterned paper. Having made the practice stars, it should be easier for you to keep track of which strip of paper is the top of your star. Bending the strips when making the 3-D center of your Moravian star will be especially helpful now that all the strips look the same. Embellish your stars with glitter glue or beads. String them together to make a garland or set them on the branches of your Christmas tree.


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