How to Make Nostalgic Waxed Moravian Stars
If you long for a simple, old fashioned Christmas like the ones from long ago, this is a wonderfully nostalgic craft to learn. These traditional Moravian stars are made from strips of paper woven and folded, and then dipped in wax. Optionally, a sprinkling of glitter adds a little bit of magic. The paper I am using today is an absolute bargain, and one of my secret weapons for primitive crafting: painter's masking paper. This paper comes in olive green and kraft brown, and you can buy an entire roll for $5 at Home Depot or on Amazon. You can use other papers, of course. You may find very thick papers to be difficult to work with, and similarly, papers with a lot of texture or 'tooth' tend to not cooperate as well as a paper that is smooth and slippery.
The paraffin wax I am using is also nothing fancy- a box of Gulf Wax can be procured from the grocery store's canning section for about $6. The glitter I use today is from my own shop- Silver German Glass Glitter, which will tarnish over time, adding a beautiful, shimmering patina to your stars.
Admittedly, learning to fold the stars is an endeavor. Even as a seasoned crafter, it took me working through about 4 stars to actually comprehend the order of events. Sticking to it is key, and with repetition you will learn it. Utilize the video below, and pause it as needed. I think this is a great project to do with friends and family, so that the process can be 'figured' together. I also think this is a wonderful craft for older kids- tweens and teens. Once they learn the folding technique, they will make dozens.
The step-by-step and assembly video are below. As an affiliate I may earn commission from qualifying purchases, at no cost to you. Your clicks support my work, thank you!
- Painter's Masking Paper
- Paraffin Wax
- Silver German Glass Glitter
- Button Thread
- Small Pot for Melting Wax
- Wax Paper
- Scissors or Rotary Cutter
- Long Ruler or Straight Edge
- Hole Punch
To make a star that is about 3 1/2 inches across, you will need four strips of paper each measuring 3/4 inch wide and 20 inches long. There are several ways to go about this. If you have a rotary cutter and cutting mat, you can use a straight edge to quickly cut long strips. For this demonstration, I have simply measured and marked the paper, and drew pencil lines to cut. Alternatively, you can make a template by cutting a strip of cardboard to the correct length and width, and using that as guide for cutting strips.
Part 1: Weaving the Center
To set the foundation for the star, we need to weave these four strips together to form the square center. Stack your four strips, and then fold them in half. Crease. On the non-folded end, cut the ends of the strips into points. This does not have to be done perfectly. The reason for cutting the point is so that the ends are easier to feed through later when we are folding.
Separate the four strips, and, keeping them folded in half, arrange them in this order: Lay the first strip vertically with the folded side down, and the pointed side facing North. Lay the second strip horizontally with the pointed side facing East, and slide the folded end over the first strip. Lay the third strip pointed South, and slide the folded end over the second strip. Slide the folded end of the last strip over the third strip, and then feed the pointed end through the first strip. What this does is creates a square in which all four strips are woven together. If done right, you can pull on all the strips, and they will form a tight square at the center.
Locking the center: Fold down the top layer of the top left strip. Rotate clockwise 1/4 turn. Again, fold down the top layer of the top left strip. Rotate clockwise 1/4 turn. Repeat: fold down the top layer of the top left strip. Rotate one last time. Fold down the top layer of the top left strip, and this time, take the pointed end, and feed it through the lower left square at the center of the star. Pull the strip through. This will lock the square at the center, and when you flip the piece over, the center will look the same on the front and the back.
Part 2: Folding the Outer Points
The Moravian star has 8 outer points. We will always be working on the top-right corner, and rotating a quarter turn each time. After folding four points, we'll flip over the star to fold the other four.
To fold an outer point, first fold the top right strip under and to the right, so that the tail is fully horizontal.
Then, take the same tail, and fold it down, so that it is fully vertical, and makes a wide triangle with a line down the center.
To finish the point, fold the wide triangle over itself so that the tail is aligned with the vertical strips.
Pick up the star, bend the triangle back a little in order to feed the tail through the top-right square of the star's center. Pull it all the way through, and this will lock the outer point in place.
Rotate the star 1/4 turn clockwise and repeat. Do this until you have created four points. Note that on the last point, you will find a horizontal strip covering the top-right square. If you peek behind it, you will see that the square is still there to feed the tail through.
Once you have completed the four points, turn the star over, and repeat to create four more points for a total of 8 outer points.
Part 3: Creating the Crown
The Moravian star has four crown points on each side. It is a little tricky to to visualize this motion at first, but do it slowly and you'll find your way.
First, you will see a horizontal strip pointing off to the right. Bend this left, folding it out of the way.
Then take the strip pointing south and bend it north creasing it.
Take this same strip bend it toward you, and to the right.
Keeping your thumb on top, bend this piece all the way around to the left, and feed it under the top-left square of the star's center. When you do this, you will see the point of the strip poking out the left outer star point, pull it gently, and the crown point will begin to form. You can use your left thumb to guide this as it moves to create a nice sharp, tight point.
Rotate the star 1/4 turn clockwise, and you are ready to repeat: Fold the horizontal strip out of the way, bend the vertical strip toward you and to the right, keeping your thumb on top, bend it to the left, and feed the tail under the top-left square.
Continue two more times so that this side of the star has 4 completed crown points.
Flip over the star, and repeat to make 4 points on that side.
Use a hole punch to make a small hole either on one of the outer points, or at the bottom of the 'V' between two outer points. Add a loop of button thread, which we will use for the waxing, and can also serve as an ornament hanger.
Part 4: Waxing the Star
You should get a little pot for your wax from the thrift store- something you won't be eating out of, and set it up over another pot filled with water to make a double boiler. Do not heat wax directly on the stovetop. Bring the water up to a gentle simmer, and add some wax blocks to the little top pot. Wear gloves. Melt enough wax so that it is deep enough to receive at least half of a star.
Once fully melted, hold a star by it's thread loop, and dunk it into the wax. Lift it out and re-submerge it until all of the paper has been coated. Hold the star above the wax pot, and allow the excess to drain off.
Transfer the star to a sheet of wax paper, and while still wet, sprinkle with glass glitter. Flip it over to sprinkle both sides. The wax will set up quickly.