What is a Froebel Star – German Paper Folded Christmas Stars
Finally sorting out a little confusion. While doing research on Moravian Stars (aka Herrnhuttersterne), I came across sweet little folded German paper stars. While they didn’t look like the pointed Moravian stars, that’s what a lot of resources called them. But they were also called German Star, Advent Star, Danish Star, Nordic Star, Polish Star, Pennsylvanian Star, Christmas Star, and Swedish Star. In Germany, they are called Fröbelsterne or Froebel Stars. And wasn’t Froebel the guy who invented Kindergarten? (yes) Is there a relationship? Sigh. Time to sort this mess out. What is a Froebel Star? And why is it also called a Moravian Star, German Star, Advent Star, and more importantly… how do I make some so I can decorate for Christmas with them??
What Is a Froebel Star?
Simply put, a Froebel Star is a 3 dimensional Star made by weaving and folding 4 strips of paper. This German form of “origami” was actually a fairly common thing that people made and was just known as a paper star. (Much like today kids fold “cootie catchers / fortune tellers”… wait… do kids still do that?). What makes them extra special is that the star holds together without using glue or tape.
So why are they known as Froebel Stars (Fröbel Sterne)?
As a staunch believer that children should learn through creative play, Friedrich Fröbel established a school that became the first “Kindergarten” in 1837. To encourage children’s learning, he created a series of “gifts”… basically, puzzles and manipulative toys, that would draw children in to figuring out how the world would work. Young children also learned paper folding. Folding what is basically a 2 dimensional sheet of paper into a 3 dimensional star became a key lesson in mathematics to help understand the world around them. (Here is where we overlap the Moravian Star… the first Moravian stars were also “Math Lessons”). It was also a fabulous lesson in precision. You must carefully manipulate and fold the paper following a key set of instructions to make the star.
(It makes me wonder if Kindergarteners in the 1800s were far more advanced than they are today.)
In 1877 a book called “Des Kindes erstes Beschäftigungsbuch” (The Child’s First Busy Book) by E. Barth und W. Niederley was published containing step by step instructions for folding Fröbel Sterne. (It’s possible that Barth knew Fröbel, since they both studied in Jena… but that’s just speculation…. it’s more likely that Barth knew of Fröbel’s work with children, and learned from it.)
So, while Fröbel didn’t “Invent” the Froebel Star… he did teach it to many students… and almost 200 years later, his contributions remain part of the vocabulary.
What is the Difference Between A Moravian Star and a Froebel Star?
The most common Moravian Stars have 26 points… made up of 18 squares and 8 triangular cones that join into a sphere. The geometric word for this is rhombicuboctahedron (you’re welcome).
A Froebel Star is made from folded paper and has 16 points. I honestly don’t know the Geometric terman for it. The closest I could find is Star Polygon.
Froebel Star Instructions
How do you make one of these German Paper Stars?
I’m one of those people who learn best by watching, that’s why this video is perfect. It’s easy to follow… there is no language…And since he uses two colors of paper, you can see what is happening.
Scroll down to find more colorful Paper Strips… Perfect for Froebel Stars!
Armin Taubner Paper Folding Master
Armin Taubner lives in the Schwabien Alps, and has contributed to or written many books about crafts, but especially paper folding. His book about Fröbelsterne is a wonderful addition to your crafting library.
In German or English
Download Kindle Instructions
Froebel Star Kits
Everything you need…. instructions, paper, and even glitter! to make 25 shiny Froebel Stars.
Make a Star Kit – 100 Strips – Red and Green. Includes sample star, instructions and glitter pack. Makes 25 stars.Make a Star Kit – 100 Strips – Multicolor. Includes sample star, instructions and glitter pack. Makes 25 starsMake a Star Kit – 100 Strips – Red, White and Blue. Includes sample star, instructions and glitter pack. Makes 25 stars.Make a Star Kit – 100 Strips – White. Includes sample star, instructions and glitter pack. Makes 25 stars.
Froebel Star Strips
It’s much easier to fold your own stars if you have the right sized paper Froebel Star strips…Roughly, the length of the strips should be around 24-25 times their width. (So if you have 1 inch wide paper… your strips should be over 24 inches long, so you have some wiggle room).
Shimmer Silver~ Moravian German Froebel Star Paper (48 strips)Shimmer Light Gold~ Moravian German Froebel Paper (48 strips)Vintage Music~ Moravian German Froebel Star Paper (48 strips)Pearlescent White Paper Strips for making Moravian German Froebel Stars – various sizes (50 strips per pack)
Red, Green, White~ Froebel Moravian German Star Paper StripsNew Plaid; Red & Green~ Froebel Moravian German Star PaperLeMoyne Star Ast Christmas~ Weaving Star Paper (50 strips)Metallic Mix (8 to 10 colors) for making Moravian German Froebel Stars – various sizes (100 strips per pack)Candy Cane~ Froebel Moravian German Star Paper Origami Ornaments Holiday Christmas DIY Weaving Craft Projects (50 strips)Pastels~ Froebel Moravian German Star Paper Origami Ornaments Colorful DIY Weaving Craft ProjectsGlitter Christmas~ Weaving Star Paper (50 strips)Paw Prints~ Froebel Moravian German Star Paper
Didn’t find the right color, there are dozens more here–>Froebel Star Paper
Froebel Star Decorations
Don’t have the patience to fold the Froebel Stars yourself? Take a look at these beautiful pre-made Froebel Star decorations for the holidays