This past week I needed a simple activity to distract me from being desperately unhappy about being on a diet of gelatinous material. For some reason I can’t fathom now, I allowed some villains to remove seven of my teeth. I think I must have been tricked. I get rather put out when I am denied enjoyment of tasty foodstuffs. Combined with all the other discomforts resulting from teeth thievery this made me a big Grumpasaurus Rex. To alleviate this situation I turned to my store of instant gratification projects.
I find paper folding rather relaxing and it doesn’t get much easier than these cute little stars. It is a pleasant sort of mindless activity. It’s the type of thing that girls enjoy making in class when they are supposed to be taking notes. All you need is some paper, a pair of scissors, and time to kill. The scissors can even be optional if you are good at folding and tearing paper.
So what do you do with all these tiny stars? I like to put them into all my packages like 3D confetti. Some people make gobs of them and put them in pretty vases and jars. I’ve also seen people coat them with a clear sealer (like Mod Podge) and use them for earrings and other jewelry. I think it would be neat to string them up like a beaded garland. Or you can throw them at the cat and/or significant other.
I know there are lots of other tutorials out there for these things, but making a tutorial and taking lots of pictures was part of the strategic distraction from my dental woes.
Tiny Paper Stars
Origami Mini Stars
- Some sort of paper: copy paper, magazines, etc
Notes: Avoid thick or stiff paper. Paper that is about the thickness of regular copy paper is ideal. Old magazines with the slick, sort of thin paper works great. I particularly like seed catalogs and coupon clippers because they are colorful too. If you want to be fancy, some people sell paper specifically for these stars. It’s already cut into strips and has pretty patterns and colors. Search for “origami” or “lucky” star paper.
- Cut the paper into long narrow strips. A paper cutter is very handy for the part if you have one. The strips should be somewhere between 1/4″ to 1/2″ wide and 10 or so inches long. It doesn’t have to be very exact. If you are using a magazine or regular size sheets of paper, just make them the length of the long side of the paper. I made these about 1/2″ wide but I really prefer them 3/8″ to 1 cm or just a bit smaller. You can experiment with different widths to see what size you prefer. Just a tip, wide strips work better if they are longer too. Conversely for skinnier strips it doesn’t need to be as long.
- Take one of the strips and basically make a knot at one end. To start out make a loop a couple of inches from one end (1). Whichever side you want to show should be on the outside of the loop and the short end should cross underneath the long end. Take the short end and tuck it back through the loop (2). Holding this end, carefully start to pull the other end to make the knot snug without crinkling it. Start to flatten the knot and continue to pull the knot snug (3). The goal is eliminate the gaps at the corners and form a tidy little pentagon. Once the knot is tight, completely flatten it and trim the short end close to the edge of the pentagon.
- Fold the long tail across the little pentagon (5). It should line up neatly along one edge (6). Flip the whole thing over and repeat (7). Continue flipping and folding until you get to the end of the paper (8).
- Fold the little flap over and carefully tuck it in under the two layers that cross over it. Ta-da! You now have a cute little origami pentagon.
- Lightly holding the little pentagon in one hand along the edges(9), with the other hand use your fingernail to push in the middle of one side (10). (Pretend I have a tripod for my camera and I can use both hands for 10) Repeat for the remaining four sides and magically your pentagon has transformed into a puffy little star. If you want the points to be crisper, carefully pinch the tips (*). Some people use pliers or tweezers for that part.
- Repeat ad nauseum with more paper until you have gazillions of tiny stars. They are much better in large quantities. Just a warning, they aren’t hard to make, but can be time consuming if you make a lot. However, it’s a nice activity while you are watching tv or something else mindless.
If the stars are crumpling when you try to push in the side, your paper is too thin and you should use longer strips so there are more layers.
If the sides are too stiff to push in, your paper is too thick. Try making the strips shorter and if that doesn’t work, find a thinner paper.
And lastly, remember these are for fun and don’t have to be perfect to be cute.
That’s all for now folks. Maybe I can get around to covering my adventures in canning soon.