These 3-D paper snowflake stars look amazing and elegant with fairy lights or without, and they’re incredibly easy to make!
As you know if you’ve read our adventures, Handan has been a global nomad since she left her native Turkey as a young civil engineer in her late 20s. The first of what would become 8 countries she lived in as a Turkish expat was Romania.
Barish was only an infant when the family left Istanbul for a new beginning in Bucharest. It was her first time living in a country that celebrated Christmas, and though she and her family didn’t celebrate it at the time, she did take note of all the seasonal decor that sprung up around town and in her coworkers’ homes during the holidays.
Here in America, seasonal decor is dumped upon our shores each year by massive cargo ships packed to the seams with countless tons of China’s Finest Plastic. We gobble up these carbon-copied treasures, display them for a month or two, and then most will end up in a landfill somewhere or perhaps a recycling plant where the whole cycle will begin again.
(Kudos to you, madam! The fact that you are here, reading this blog, means that you are not one of the brainless gobblers. You are an enlightened and luminous being, and I commend you on your good taste and impeccable judgment!)
But in many other countries, aggressive consumerism hasn’t zombified the population, and seasonal decor is usually hand-made. Money is often scarce, and the DIY route is always the cheaper way to do things.
Handan saw one such DIY Christmas craft hanging in a coworker’s apartment – several large 3-dimensional paper snowflake stars – and she’s carried the memory of them with her ever since.
This year, she wanted to bring that memory to life.
There was just one problem…
“Hey babes, do we still have those paper bags you used for Barish’s lunch?” She was talking about some brown paper lunch bags I had bought years ago – back when I packed a lunch for Barish. I hadn’t used them in ages.
“Uhhhh, yes? Maybe?” I opened the pantry and started rifling through. I knew they used to be in there at some point in the past 6 years. How far could they have gotten?
But search as I may, I couldn’t turn up a single brown bag.
I reported my failure to Handan, and she walked over to the drawer next the fridge, opened it and pulled out a stack of brown paper bags.
“What the…? Why would you ask me if we still had them if you knew exactly where they were??” The woman was infuriating!
“I didn’t know. But when you couldn’t find them in the pantry, I remembered that I put them in a drawer.” She said.
I asked what she wanted them for, and that’s when she told me the plan to make paper snowflake stars.
“Okay, but wouldn’t white ones look better?” I said.
She agreed. “Okay, can you go to the store and get me some white ones?”
“I don’t remember ever seeing white ones, but yeah, I’ll try.” I said.
She looked down at the brown bag in her hand. She opened it.
“Ohhh.” She said.
“Can you get bags that don’t have a flat bottom?” She said.
“Waddaya mean without a flat bottom?” What on earth was this loon yapping about? “My babes, I’ve only ever seen flat-bottomed bags.”
This then launched a comparative discussion about paper bags in America versus the rest of the world. Apparently most everywhere else, small paper bags don’t have flat bottoms, but rather the two sides of the bag are joined at the bottom like a crease.
Anyway, once I assured her that I had a snowball’s chance in Hell finding white paper bags without flat bottoms in any brick-and-mortar store within a 100 mile radius, we took to Amazon to see what we could find.
And lemme tell you, Amazon wasn’t much better!
But Handan is nothing if not persistent. And stubborn.
Eventually she found what she was looking for – a crease-bottomed needle in a flat-bottomed haystack.
I never doubted her for a moment! 😆
We ordered two packs, gathered the rest of the supplies, and we were on our way.
Now, as she often does, my babes has altered and improved upon the paper snowflake stars she saw hanging all those years ago in that small apartment in Bucharest. She figured out a way to weave fairy lights into them to make them truly magical.
But enough of my gum-flapping – let’s get on with it!
- Paper gusseted glassine bags (if the bags linked are unavailable, you can also try these: bag option 2 or bag option 3
- Glue stick
- Star punch and/or snowflake punch
- Battery-operated fairy lights (optional)
- Hole punch (if using fairy lights)
Easy 3-D Paper Snowflake Stars
Handan told me that in Turkey, street vendors use bags like these for peanuts and chestnuts.
So…bags for nuts.
Okay ladies, grab your nut bags and let’s get crafting! Better yet, grab the nutbag you’re married to, and make him do it!
But wait! This nut bag isn’t ready for prime time crafting – just look at the top! We can’t make anything with that jaggedy, uneven top!
First things first, madam: you’ll need to trim your nut bag.
Madam, mind out of the gutter, please. We’ve work to do.
Okay, for each star, we used 10 or 11 bags. If you’ll be adding fairy lights, you’ll want to go for 11 bags. You may even want to get a little saucy and go for an even dozen.
Who’s to stop you? The nutbag watching football in the other room?
I don’t think so, madam!
Next, fold the bag in half the long way, but only give it a crease at the very top. You’re not trying to fold the bag – you’re merely finding the middle of the bag.
If your eyes are as bad as mine, you won’t be able to see the fold you just made. Help yourself out by putting a little pencil mark on the crease. Your faltering eyes will thank you.
Next, pick a spot about 1/3 of the way down the bag. It doesn’t have to be exact, and you’re free to make these marks in different spots for each paper snowflake star you make. I made my marks between 1/4 – 1/2 way down the bag. It will affect the shape of your star points as you’ll see.
Okay, so you’ve picked your spot and you’ve got your ruler straight across your nut bag. Kudos to you, madam. You must have been a superstar in Kindergarten crafting!
Put a small pencil mark on either edge of the bag.
Draw a line between your top mark and the two side marks. See? I told you that top mark would come in handy!
Look at those hands. Chubby. Chewed. Dirty. Arthritic.
Please try to contain your envy, madam. It’s just good genes and fastidious hygiene.
If your nut bag looks something like the one below, you get full marks for following directions!
Okay, it’s time to trim your nut bag again!
Don’t worry, madam – soon I won’t be able to call it a nut bag anymore, because it will have taken on a new form and purpose!
Oh, by the way, Handan also told me they serve hot dogs in bags like these.
I can start calling it a weiner pocket if that would make you feel more comfortable?
Now that you have your first star point, you can use it a template for all the rest. Simply lay it on a new bag, hold the two bags firmly together and cut along the edges of your trimmed bag. You may be tempted to try cutting more than one bag at a time. You may of course try whatever you like, but lemme tell you from experience, these glassine bags are slippery little buggers, and trying to cut too many at once will result in a big mess and a handful of wasted weiner pockets.
Trust me, ladies—snip ’em one at a time!
Keep trimming until you’ve got 10 or 11 just like this.
Now here’s the part that makes the magic.
I would have liked to make some snowflake stars with both snowflake punches and star punches, but our star punch didn’t arrive until long after I finished this project.
So all I had to work with were these 3 snowflake punches.
Pink snowflake punches.
I grabbed the biggest pink punch, pressed firmly and mourned the death of manhood as the first snowflake fell from my nut bag.
But hey, this isn’t about me and my big pink punch, it’s about you and yours! So grab it and start punching!
For snowflake stars without lights, feel free to add as many snowflake/star punch holes as your little heart desires. The more holes you punch, the more lacy, delicate and gossamer your snowflake star will be.
But if you are planning on adding fairy lights, you’ll want to keep the punching activity very light near the pointy end of your weiner pocket, as that is where you’ll be weaving the fairy lights.
As you see in the pictures below, I used my big pink punch near the bottom, the middle punch in the middle, and the small punch near the top.
The bag below shows about the most holes you’ll want for a lighted star.
Keep going until you’ve punched all of your nut bags and weiner pockets.
Good job, madam!
Next you can gather up all the punched-out stars and snowflakes and throw them up in the air. It’s your very own ticker-tape parade! Huzzah!
Excellent! Now call the nubag watching football on the sofa to come clean up the mess you just made.
Okay, it’s time to build your star from your punched-out nut bags. Grab your glue stick and twist.
Don’t be shy with the glue, and don’t worry about the purple. I can assure you it will all eventually turn clear.
Make an inverted “T” on your bag.
Grab another bag and lay it on top of the first.
Press your fingers along the glue lines.
And repeat! It’s so simple, even a Kindergartener could do it! In fact, I’m pretty sure that the entire Kindergarten curriculum consists of crafts like this, just with more elbow macaroni and glitter.
It’s starting to take shape! (Don’t open too much at this point – the glue is not dry!)
Here are 3 that I made. The left one and the center one got lights, the one on the right did not. I let the glue dry for about an hour before continuing.
It’s a perfect time to boil some hot dogs or roast some chestnuts. Better yet, tell old nutbag in the other room to make you some food!
Okay, madam, you can stop here and go directly to finalizing your snowflake star, or we can add some fairy lights to make that star look like it fell from heaven.
Are you with me?
Good! Let’s do it!
Using a standard hole punch, punch through all the layers on the midline near the top, as shown below.
You’ll soon be stringing fairy lights through these holes.
Draw another inverted “T” with your glue stick.
And then carefully open your paper snowflake star and bring the two ends together.
Since my big ugly ham-hands had trouble fitting all the way in those narrow wiener pockets, I enlisted Handan’s help for this step. She helped open the center while old sausage fingers pulled on the outer part.
Once you get the two ends opened all the way around, press on the glue line to complete your star shape.
Now let’s move on to the fairly lights!
Uncoil and straighten your lights.
Find the end and feed the length of the fairy string through one of the holes.
Pull it through until the wire changes from copper to coated and then tuck the control unit into one of the pockets.
Next, shape the wire so it dips into the pocket and then comes back out.
Pinch the wire against the paper snowflake just under the next hole (this keeps the wire you just pushed into the pocket from moving around or coming out).
Then carefully thread the wire through the hole and again pull it all the way through.
Once again, you’ll bend the wire so it dips into the pocket and comes back out.
Keep repeating this process until you work your way around the paper snowflake star.
It’s easier if you pre-bend the wire and then insert it into the pocket.
If you have leftover lights after you complete the circle, just carry on around again, but don’t dip the wire into the pocket – just weave it straight through the hole and on into the next one.
See? That wasn’t too hard, was it?
Okay, so maybe you don’t want to bother with those fairy lights. Hey, I get it! No problem – these snowflake stars look amazing either way!
And if you skip the lights, you can make incredibly intricate stars!
Pick a petal to punch for the string. If it’s a lighted star, make sure the control unit is up top.
Tie it off, and you’re done!
Madam, you’ve achieved greatness today! Now go hang your paper snowflake stars and show them off to the world!
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