Stars are fun origami projects to make for celebrating Independence Day, but you don't need to wait until July 4th to make an origami star. Folded paper stars also make fun decorations for birthday parties, picnics, family reunions, and any type of gathering with a whimsical celestial theme. During the Christmas months, you could use stars as tree ornaments or as package decorations.
The origami star featured in this tutorial is a very basic modular design adapted to be easy enough for elementary school children to fold. Like the origami kusudama flower, it joins the units together with glue. If this is the first time you've taught origami to a child, however, it's a good idea to review the tips in our Easy Origami for Kids article before you begin.
Lightweight, thin paper works best for this origami project. Larger squares result in more dramatic looking stars, so consider the final result you'd like before choosing your paper size.
The star in this tutorial was made with six inch square origami paper with a yellow damask pattern. You could use metallic paper for shiny stars or use glitter glue to add a touch of sparkle to the finished stars if you wish.
1. Create a Triangle
Begin with your paper in front of you with the white side facing up. Fold your paper in half from one diagonal to the other to form a triangle as shown in the photo to the left. This helps to make sure that your finished star looks the same from both the front and the back--making it suitable for hanging in a window as a party decoration. If you don't care what the back of the star looks like, you can cut the paper in half to make two triangles.
2. Make Accordion Folds
Accordion fold the paper starting at the widest end of the triangle. Make alternating mountain folds and valley folds about 1/4 inch. Crease firmly and try to make sure the folds are as even as possible. When finished, your paper should look like the photo to the left.
3. Create the Individual Points of Your Origami Star
Pinch the paper in half, then use a bit of glue or double sided tape to keep the ends together. When you're finished, your project should look like the photo to the left. Repeat to make a total of five identical units.
4. Assemble Your Origami Star
Use double sided tape or glue to join the units together to form an origami star. Add a bit of string at the top for hanging.
5. Making More Paper Origami Stars
If you are working with older children or want to try something more complicated, there are lots of other origami stars to make. The traditional five pointed origami star is pretty as an embellishment for a greeting card. Jars filled with puff origami stars folded from long strips of paper make pretty table decorations at a party. A lucky star with four points folded from one sheet of paper is cute for intermediate level folders to make.
If you go to your local library, the noted origami artist Florence Temko has a star bowl design featured in many different origami books. Even if your library doesn't carry origami books, they can often request titles for you through the inter-library loan system.
6. A Project Alternative
Making origami stars is fun for little paper folders, but this same basic technique works well for making origami flowers too. Simply make the individual units in the flower color of your choice and fold six or seven units to adhere together to give the final design a different shape. Add a button or other embellishment to make a flower center if desired.