Christmas in July! Folded Paper Stars with Symmetry

Folded Paper Star decoration with symmetryThese hanging stars are a hit year after year with my 4th graders. You can make these in any size you want…. the size of the squares you start with will determine the size of your finished stars. (When I teach this lesson, I use 12″ squares in two different colors to demonstrate the folding and gluing steps on the white board. Instead of glue, I used tape rolls with low tack blue painter’s tape for my demo… that way I can keep reusing the pieces!)

For each star, you will need:

  • 8 squares of white paper (We usually use 3″ x 3″ squares to make a star that’s 8-1/2″ across, but you could go larger (use 12″ squares to make a 22-1/2″ star) or smaller (use 1″ squares to make a 2-3/4″ star – perfect for hanging on a Christmas tree, but a much trickier size to fold). We use plain white copy paper for our 8-1/2″ stars, but for larger stars, construction paper can also be used.
  • Glue stick (Use a good one! I recommend the Avery Permanent Glue Stic…. or use YES! Paste)
  • Markers for decorating your star
  • Small (1/8″) hole punch
  • Metallic cord for hanging
  • Baby wipes for cleaning glue off of desks!


1. Fold each of your white squares in half, on the diagonal. Then open them up again.

2. With each square in the “diamond” position, fold the left and right corners in so they meet in the middle, with the straight edges touching the fold. Repeat this step with each square, gluing the flaps in place as you fold them down.

3. Now it’s time to glue each of your star sections together. Begin by positioning your first piece with it’s “narrowest point” pointing away from you. Then with your next piece in the same position, glue it to your first piece so the lower left edge lines up with the fold line of the first piece. Glue these two pieces together where they overlap.

4. Turn your star slightly to the left, and continue lining up the lower left edge of each successive piece with the fold line of the piece before it. Glue each piece down as you go. (This is the step where students tend to get confused…. make sure they line up their edges with the fold line!)

5. Repeat until all eight sections are glued together. Then go back and check for any areas that might be a little loose and add more glue as needed.

6. Use markers to add colorful patterns to your stars, trying to keep your patterns and colors symmetrical.

Folded paper star demo on white board

Write directions on the white board as you demonstrate. Work LARGE so students can refer to your sample as they make their own.

I recommend laminating these stars so they will last from year to year! As with any project using layers of paper, make sure you run your laminating machine on its slowest setting to get a good seal. If laminating isn’t an option, use heavier paper (like construction paper) and YES! Paste to make sure the pieces will stay together (projects made with glue sticks, even good ones, tend to pop apart over time).




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2 Responses to Christmas in July! Folded Paper Stars with Symmetry

  1. Christopher Selva September 30, 2013 at 2:50 pm #

    I love this idea! Its great for classroom use for tough subjects such as symmetry!


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