Moravian stars, also known as German stars or Swedish stars, are favorite old-fashioned Christmas ornaments many remember from their grandparents' trees or from their own childhood. They can be made at home using folded paper or fabric, or craft wire and beads if you want a different look. In stores, Moravian stars can be found in stained glass, wood and punched tin, but those materials are difficult to work with unless you have tools and machining equipment to hand.
The easiest and most traditional way to make Moravian star ornaments is to fold them from paper--the heavier the easier. You can make either flat or three-dimensional pointed stars this way. They are often dipped in wax or paraffin when done. The method uses long strips of paper, folded into a basket weave at the center then interlaced and folded over and over again, creating the points and body of the star. You can stop at one side to create a flat star for placing on packages or other surfaces, or you can continue folding all the way around for a three-dimensional star to hang as an ornament. Instructions can be found in the Resources section.
A three-dimensional Moravian star is easiest done with a multi-pointed star shaped frame to craft your wire around. The cheapest and most readily available frames are the plain pressed cardboard or paper mache Moravian star ornaments found at craft stores or superstores. White plastic versions also can be found in craft sections for a slightly higher cost. You will want several lengths of thin craft wire, to make different sides of the star. Thread seed beads onto the wire first, crooking the ends of the wire so they don't fall off. You can add several larger beads as well, if you wish. Shape the wire around the frame, pressing it into the corners, and rearrange the beads to your liking. Hook the ends of wire lengths together to keep the whole thing stable. If a flat beaded star is what you want to make, a paper template printed out will work fine. Again, thread seed beads on before shaping the wire, bend the wire into the pattern, and twist the wire ends together. Another technique is to cut several wire lengths, twist them into a pinwheel-type pattern with the ends pointing out, and thread beads onto the various arms. Rubber earring backs can be used on the tips to keep the beads in place.
Beyond the Basics
Moravian paper stars can also be made of fabric, if your fingers are nimble enough. You may want to use a stiff fabric or have it starched for better workability. The addition of dipping the stars in wax and dusting them with glitter is a time-honored one. You also can try adding a melted crayon to the wax. This will give it a light pastel color, resulting in pink stars from a red crayon or pale blue stars from a dark blue crayon. You can also get creative with the paper you use. Try combining strips of different colors, using patterned scrap booking papers, metallic papers or heavy foil papers. You can glue together stars to make crosses or baskets, or you can string many small stars in a garland. Some crafters create motifs for the center of the stars, such as adding ribbons, beads, small charms or silk flowers. For the beaded stars, try using glittery silver or gold wire and colored crystal beads and attaching teardrop pendants from the points of the star. A more difficult beading technique, giving a very modern look, is to add only a few beads on your wire star, knotting them into points and corners.