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At the time of writing/publishing (23 Dec. 2006) we don't have much time left to decorate for X-mas. This simple paper star could be your rescue.

The star is named after its inventor, Friedrich Wilhelm August Fröbel (1782-1852). It was conceived as one of many activities for children in Kindergarten (nursery school), another invention of his.

This star is perhaps the most famous of his handicraft constructions, and the net has numerous descriptions of how to fold it, but I think this site would not be complete without one.

According to the wikipedia, it is also known as Advent star, Danish star, German star, Nordic star, Pennsylvanian star, Polish star, Swedish star, and Christmas star in English.

[Note: Most steps are illustrated by more than one picture. The idea was that alternative views would help the viewer understand what's going on. Unfortunately, since 2006, this site has become greedy, and has clamped down on the free viewing of these alternative views. Now you have to pay to see them. Not exactly what I had in mind. They have also "edited" the title of this Instructable, as if I would not know what to call my own instructables. The title should be "Fröbelstern", nothing more, nothing less.]
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Step 1: Cut paper strips

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You need four paper strips, at least 30 times longer than wide.

It really helps if their width does not wary too much along their length, so if you can get hold a roll of ticker-tape or some other type of pre-cut paper strips, go for it. An office cutting machine is a good option if you have to make your own.

Step 2: Fold

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Double the strips by folding them in the middle.

Step 3: Trim the tips

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This is optional, but it helps you pass the strips through the half-finished star.

(If you plan to fill a X-mas tree, this step should be possible to throw out once you get the hang of things.)
nrbarron3 years ago
I remember making these as a young girl for our Christmas tree. My mother must have learned how to make them when we were stationed in Korea in 1964-1965. We dipped them in parafin an sprinkled them with glitter. I am so glad to be able to find this. I am now an 8th grade math teacher and thought these would make a fun project for Christmas and use Geometry concepts as well.
shampa4 years ago
thank u very much for adding this instructable. I made some stars and hung it on ceiling, it looks beautiful.I must admit, it is hard but it is okay.
IamTheMomo4 years ago
Has anyone made any using the type of ribbon that we put on gift packages? There's all the pre-cut strips you could want, except for the length!
11ericg4 years ago
We have a Print Shop and if known how to make these my hole life. its easy for me because I get thousands of strips a month just from our cutter.
marks10095 years ago
Thanks for adding this Instructable! We had some of these stars as ornaments when I was a kid. Tradition has it that you dip them in melted parafin, then dust with glitter. They last a long time this way. Imagine them made from high quality rag paper, coated with clear parafin to preserve.

I have made them from all sizes of paper ribbon, all colors, and they're beautiful! Go here: to find long paper strips in various widths/colors. Now I want BIG ones, so I'm trying paper adding machine tape (3" wide), and will spray with fixative or varnish to preserve. The stars end up 4 times as wide as the strip of paper, so my 3" paper tape will yield 12" wide stars...SO HAPPY!!!!
This looks hard- well only a little...
i dont get it, help!!!!!!!!!
Joey7026 years ago
Great job! I tried making one of my own, but... I don't think I'll ever try it again. I don't have the patience.
shiftnfun6 years ago
I like this very much and very easy. I like.
6cheeks7 years ago
Image shows my smallest star to date, objects placed side-by-side on flatbed scanner and covered with black cloth. This image replaces former comment that contained link that is no longer valid.
I used to work in one of the old mainframe computer rooms where everything was super clean and no mess was allowed. It was hard to decorate for christmas because of that. So I spent about a month making over 200 of these stars and attaching string. One night after everyone else had gone home, I taped the stars to the ceiling so they hung at about 6 ft. and up. When people came in in the morning they were greeted with a sea of nice clean stars. Everyone was ecstatic. That year they voted christmas a success.
I love that story! I'm going to surprise my co-workers in the same way next time... bet a mix of coloured paper would work too.
kirnex7 years ago
Gorgeous!! Thanks for sharing. Hard to believe that someone could imagine 5-year olds making these! Maybe we just expect too little of ourselves these days, though? :-S
franklamb18 years ago
I don't think I would decorate for xmas with this beautiful star, but I would be proud to use it to decorate for CHRISTMAS. Please don't take CHRIST out of Christmas.
Some of us don't actually celebrate "CHRIST-MAS", but rather choose "X-mas", and allow the holiday to signify whatever value we place on "X". Christians don't have some sort of celebratory patent on the date or season, after all.

Why do religious zealots always think that values and morality have to occur within the confines of religion--especially of the institutionalized variety? Religion and morality can (and often do) exist mutually exclusive of each other.

And if that ain't enough for ya--consider the First Ammendment as an argument against your "polite request". For some of us, being corrected on our choices of expression can be just as insulting as dropping "Christ" from Christmas is for others.
I agree with this guy
Please do some research before you start criticizing someone:
pooboy seberu7 years ago
so the X in xmas means christ?
yes, and thank you very much seberu. read that awhile ago and i'm tired of ignorant people going around and saying "dont take the christ out of christmas, when its really there anyways. (just in a different language :P)
yes but gosh means the same as god and if you say," hey do you know about Jesus X?" ud sound like a nutter
brainiac7 years ago
i dont understand step 13 could some one post a video on how to do it?
creampuff7 years ago
very nice..... im one for oragami but ive never seen this. worked out quite nicely for me.
this would be good for throwing at people
6cheeks7 years ago
(removed by author or community request)
all_thumbs (author)  6cheeks7 years ago
Eh, how did you avoid inhaling it before you managed to take a picture of it?
6cheeks8 years ago
Super project, super directions. Easier to push the paper strip ends through slots if you stiffen them first. Apply a tab of Scotch tape for a length of three times the width of the strip, then trim each end to a long taper. Want to try some miniature stars? Make consistent narrow strips by running sheet of paper through office shredder.
zahnarzt8 years ago
great instructable! as a novice student of origami i really appreciate the great photos and directions. a note on the german though, without a proper umlaut font, just substituting "oe" for the "ö" is almost universally acceptable :)
begnign8 years ago
Hi, You can also use gift ribbon (you know, the plastic kind that you can curl and that comes up to a inch broad) to make this star -- easier than cutting all the paper strips! PS: They feed the kids GRUENE BIRNEN UND SPECK... what did you think?!
PetervG8 years ago
Very clear explaining pictures. I cant help but mention the "Fr&#246belstern"
all_thumbs (author)  PetervG8 years ago
Yeah, that is somewhat embarrassing and confusing. I tried to use o with omlaut "straight" first, but then it tended to disappear completely. So I strained my HTML knowledge slightly beyond it borders and tried with the HTML code for the same letter. Confusing enough, the result isn't much better.

Now I have tried to check out the result using Firefox, Opera and Lynx. They all seem to agree to display o with omlaut correctly once you arrive at this page. The title is, however, not displayed correctly when it is listed in a search result. So when I search for "star" for instance, I get the "Fr*&$%&belstern" thing.

It also seems to be impossible to search for Fröbelstern, which is a pity, so maybe it's time to contact the administrators of
modio8 years ago
I wonder if todays American preschoolers could pull this off.... Great Instructables, one of the best I've ever read!
i wonder what they feed those german childeren in the 1830's to have them making this.
crestind8 years ago
That's awesome. No more ghetto 2D stars for me. With IE7, that's Fröbelstern. Which I assume means star.
mrmath8 years ago
Wow! Those things are gorgeous! I bet it takes a few to get it right. But with a sweet instructable like this, it should be easy! You did a great job on the step by step on an otherwise difficult to follow process.