How to Weave a Paper Star: A Step by Step Illustrated guide
To weave a star you need 4 long narrow strands, about 2cm wide and 30cm long, of either paper, ribbon or a natural fibre like pandanus, flax or palm leaf. There are 3 phases to weaving a star, the first is to make the square body in the centre of the star. Phase 2 is weaving the first 4 points and phase 3 is flipping the star over to complete the last 4 points.
When I decided to become a full time weaving artist 13 years ago, I was determined to learn and practice as many Samoan weaving techniques as possible using any materials I could find around my house.
Using scrap paper from our kids’ craft box, I worked out this 8 pointed star weave through lots of trial and error.
Star weaving is a great project for beginners and this is the most used technique to make stars for the One Billion Stars project.
Even though we already have a helpful star weaving tutorial from the One Million Stars to End Violence project, we wanted to create this step-by-step guide with pictures.
For these instructions, I’m using pages from a recipe catalogue. You can also use A4 sheets of printed paper that you don’t need anymore.
Star weaving is a fun and relaxing Pacific Island weaving craft that you can enjoy on your own to unwind from a busy day. You can weave with others and exercise that creative, problem solving part of our beautiful brains.
Happy Star weaving!
Preparing your paper strips to weave a star
You will need:
- 1 x A4 sheet of paper or a sheet from a magazine, carefully removed
- 1 x sharp craft scissors
- Optional: If you’re using plain paper, you can use coloured pens to colour or draw patterns on your completed star. You can also decorate your finished woven star with stickers and designs.
Step 1: Fold your piece of paper in half, length wise and then half again. You should have 4 equal lengths.
Step 2: Cut along the folds so that you have 4 lengths. Set aside 2 of these lengths. This will be used later to make your second star.
Step 3: Fold each of your 2 lengths into half again and cut. You should now have 4 lengths. Fold each length into thirds so you have a strand with 3 layers of paper.
When complete, this paper star will measure 7cm x 7cm.
If you want to use tear ribbon, simply cut 4 x 45cm lengths of ribbon. A star woven using florist ribbon (33mm x 45cm) is about 12cm x 12cm.
Instructions on how to weave a star, step by step
Phase 1: Make the Body of the Star
Step 1: Fold each of your folded 4 strands in half and crease in the middle.
Step 2: Keep 2 folded of these strands on the table in front of you.
Step 3: Hold a folded loop in each hand with the ends near your pinkie finger and slide the right loop (2nd strand) over the left loop (1st strand).
Pull the right strand down about 5cm or the length of your thumb
Step 4: Take a 3rd folded strand and wrap around the bottom part of the 2nd strand.
Step 5: Take the last folded strand and wrap around the 3rd strand. Pass the 2 ends of the 4th strand through the loop of the first strand.
Gently pull each of the 4 folded strands so that you make a square shape in the centre.
Ensure that all strands are tucked into each pocket and none are loose. If there is a loose strand, simply weave it back into the pocket where its other strand is.
Step 6: Flip the square over onto the table in front of you. You should have a strand coming out of the top left side of your square. If you don’t, then flip it over so that you are on this side.
Step 7: Place the square in front of you like a cross shape of lower t shape. Starting with the strands at the top, take the top strand (you’ll find 2) and fold the 1 strand down and crease into place.
Step 8: Going in an anti-clock wise direction, take the top strand on the left and fold it over the ribbon you just folded down. Fold it over to the right and crease.
Step 9: Take the top strand on the bottom right and fold up over the strand before and crease into place.
Step 10: Take the last strand on the top right and pass over the 3rd strand before and tuck under the pocket on the top right.
Pull all the way through and then crease flat.
Now it’s time to fold your first 4 points, using the shorter strands.
Phase 2: Make the First Four Points of Your Star
Step 1: Taking the top right strand, fold backwards or under to make a right-angled triangle and crease into place.
Step 2: Take that same strand that you wove under and to the right, and fold it forward and down to make a bigger triangle, leaving a tiny gap in the middle.
Step 3: Fold the right half of the triangle over the left to make a right angle triangle shape again. The tiny gap in the middle allows you to make a nice sharp point.
Step 4: Gently pass the end ribbon from the point into the pocket directly underneath. Carefully cut away the end with some sharp scissors.
Time to make that second & third point:
Step 1: Spin your star around and repeat steps 1 – 4 on every second strand:
Ie. Fold the strand fold backwards or under to make a right angled triangle and crease into place.
Next, take that same strand that you wove under and to the right, and fold it forward and down to make a bigger triangle, leaving a tiny gap in the middle.
Then, fold the right half of the triangle over the left to make a right angle triangle shape again.
Secure this point by passing the end of the strand into the pocket directly underneath and carefully cut away the end with some sharp scissors.
Count 2 strands over and weave your 3rd point – remember, it should be on the right hand side of the square.
Complete you last point. You have 4 points on this side of your star.
Phase 3: Make the Last 4 Points of Your Star
Once you’ve completed the first 4 points, simply flip your star over and repeat steps 1-4.
It doesn’t matter which strand you work with, just pick one and turn all remaining strands into points.
Go ahead and try another star. Remember, it will take between 3 – 5 stars to really get the star weave memorised.
People also ask:
Is star weaving suitable for beginners?
Star weaving is suitable for ages 8 years and up, however, we’ve had some 6 year old’s take to star weaving like it was second nature.
We call this a medium weaving technique and is great for those who have some weaving, crochet or knitting experience.
It takes some time to get used to holding the materials, and remembering which direction to fold your strands, but once you’ve woven a few stars, it gets easier, we promise.
For children under 8 years old, we recommend having an adult weave with them so that they can work together.
Usually, the adult will lead and make the square body, which is the first part of the star.
You can engage the young child by asking them to pick which 2 colour strands to use first and then to pick the subsequent strands.
You can also make the folds first and then get them to press down to crease as you go along.
What other materials can I use to weave a star?
You can weave stars using a variety of materials and many of them can be found around your home or office, like used paper catalogues or newspaper.
Many of our star weavers like to use tear or florist ribbon because they come in lots of different colours.
We love to weave stars from recycled paper because it’s a great way to re-use materials and not contribute to waste.
Sure, it takes a bit longer to cut and prepare your materials but it’s very rewarding making something beautiful from waste material.
Some of star weavers in the Cook Islands, Samoa and Aotearoa New Zealand have woven stars using dried pandanus leaves from the pandanus tree, coconut palm leaves or harakeke (flax) from the flax plant.
Whatever material you choose to weave your star with, you need 4 even strands, at least 2cm wide and 30cm long for your first star.
We have received woven stars from communities around the world in all different sizes, the smallest being the size of an Australian 5 cent coin and the largest being 30cm wide.
The general rule is, the large the star, the wider and longer the ribbon will be.
For the 5 cent coin star, the each strand was 5mm wide and 10cm long.
How long will it take to weave a star?
For your first star, it can take anywhere between 5 and 10 minutes.
When you’re learning something new, it can take up to 5 times longer than if you were doing something that you were confident at doing.
Remember, the whole point of weaving these stars is for it to be a mindful and peace filled activity.
It might not feel that way at first while you’re trying to remember all the steps, but with this guide, we hope you can pick this technique up super fast, memorise it for life and share it with others.
How many times should I weave a star to memorise it?
We recommend weaving 5 – 10 stars to really get the hang of it.
Many new star weavers will make several star bodies (Phase 1) because this is the most complex part of the star.
Making a bundle of star square bodies is also great to help children under 10 get started on star weaving.
The points are pretty straight forward so it’s a great way to engage children in the project with little difficulty.
Star weaving makes a great lunch time activity in the workplace or staff room. Many of our star weavers marvel at how quickly an hour can go by, after weaving a few stars.
Once you get started, it’s easy to keep weaving for hours!
Where does the woven star come from?
The 8 pointed woven star comes from many Indigenous and Pacific Island cultures, including Samoa, the Torres Strait Islands and Aotearoa New Zealand and is often made with natural fibres and leaves.
A variation of this woven star is also found in Denmark, Germany and Hungary and is used to decorate homes and Christmas trees.
What does the 8 pointed star represent?
The 8 pointed star, also known as an octagram, has been adopted by several cultures around the world, each giving the star its own special meanings.
These cultures include Buddhism, Hinduism, Gnostics, Judeo-Christian, Egyptian, Babylonian, Wiccans and Native Americans.
Thestar’s origins form part of early astronomy, where the 8 lines signify the four corners of space (south, north, east and west) and time (two euinoxes and two solstices).
For the One Billion Stars project, the 8 pointed star is a symbol of light, courage, hope and solidarity to end all forms of violence, including violence against women, bullying and racism.