Today I’m going to talk about something fun and super-easy that I’ve been doing for years – home shoe repair!

No, not really. Today I’m talking about lucky stars.

Ummm ... No.

The stars I’m talking about are made from strips of paper. This is one of the easiest things you can make, it is practically idiot-proof. Japanese schoolgirls make hundreds of these things to fill pretty glass containers to give as gifts to friends and family. Sometimes wishes or prayers are written on the strip before it is folded, hiding the message from prying eyes.

The number of stars given is supposed to correspond to the giver’s feelings;

  • 30 stars = Thinking of you.
  • 99 stars = Thinking of you always.
  • 100 stars = A blessing from the heart.
  • 520 stars = I love you.
  • 1314 stars = I’ll love you forever.

I think it’s a nice sentiment; to show someone how much you care by giving them a gift they know you spent a good deal of time on, specifically for them.

Technically this isn’t origami, it’s strip folding. All you need are strips of paper and the instructions, which are available all over the Internet. You can find some with excellent diagrams here and here. Basically you tie a knot in the end of the strip, wrap the long end tightly around the knot and tuck the loose end in. Just pinch the sides in and you’ve got a star!

Here are some of my half-inch stars, folded from various papers.

It’s a good idea, if you are making a lot of them at once, to alternate which hand you use to pinch in the side. The pressure needed can make your fingertips sore if you overdo it.

Supposedly the ideal ratio is 1:13, but I have found that it depends on the stiffness and thickness of the paper. Newsprint or wrapping paper, like some of the stars in the jar above, are thin papers so the strips have to be a bit longer. Vellum, while thin, is stiffer than newsprint or wrapping paper so you can get away with using shorter strips. If you are making smaller stars, like quarter inch ones, a longer strip of a thin paper works better than a shorter strip of thicker paper.

You can buy lucky stars paper strips online; they come in a rainbow of colors, some glow in the dark or have licensed characters on them like Hello Kitty or SpongeBob, but you will pay. The fancier the paper, like glitter or holographic papers, cost quite a bit.

Some Hello Kitty stars I folded for GhostSister, she bought the paper and I did the folding.

Alternately, if you are a cheapskate like me and you have a good ruler and a razor blade, you can just cut you own strips. Strips cut from catalog pages work nicely for practice, can be pretty in their own right, and they are free.

A cup of folded but unpinched stars. I usually fold up a bunch and then pinch them later.

The stars in the cup above are made mostly of thin scrapbooking paper I bought at the dollar store, the white ones on the very top are vellum that I scribbled on with a silver Sharpie before I cut it up. I like the effect of being able to see the silver streaks of lower layers through the translucent paper.

A folded and pinched star made of comic strip newsprint and an unpinched star of dollar store scrapbooking paper. The star gets slightly smaller when pinched.

At first you will probably ruin quite a few stars, it takes a little practice to get the pinching part down pat, but once you get the hang of making these you can do them almost on autopilot; I’ll do them while I watch TV sometimes, just to keep my hands occupied. (I’m fidgety.)

Some of my tiny quarter inch stars.

I don’t have a lot of “pretty” smaller quarter inch stars, most of the ones I’ve made are made of notepad paper. I just cut along the ruled lines, it’s really easy.

A handful of tiny stars, mostly notepaper and magazine. You can see one is made from a Fossil ad 🙂

Just for fun, here's a tiny alien surrounded by notepaper stars.