Friday, March 7, 2014

Geometric Moravian Star Light {Tutorial}

Ok. Here we go. You see this thing? You like it? Well make your own then! Here is how I did it.

I apologize for the lack of actual pictures. But think of it this way: You get to see how talented of an artist I am. ha. ha. ha. yes. It's on notebook paper.
 Like in most cases, I didn't really know what I was doing until I was done.

First off! 
Cocktail/Coffee Straws. 
Lower (Stronger) Gauge Wire. [I used 16 gauge.]
Higher (Weaker) Gauge Wire. [I used 24 gauge.] 
Thread. [Optional. You could use wire if you desire.]
Clip. [Optional. See step 5.]
Brass Fasteners. [You'll need 17 in total.]
Hot Glue Gun.
Spray Paint. [I suggest one formulated for plastic.]
Pendant Light Thingy. [I have no clue what they're called. I think I'm close?] 
LED Lightbulb. [or any low to no heat producing bulb.]

First order of business, cut your straws! 
The lengths I used were about 5" and 2.5". This doesn't have to be exact, but they do have to be the same as each other. I've seen tutorials on cutting straws with a roller cutter, but this didn't work for me. So, I cut one and trimmed the rest to the same length with scissors, using the same first straw as a guide/reference.
Cut out 48 of the 2.5" straws and 68 of the 5" straws.
[If you're not in a rush, I suggest gradually stealing these from your local coffee shop. Or, if you're me, you find an enormous bag of them in your mother's car trunk. We don't ask questions.]

This step, string 8 short straws onto your strong/16 gauge wire.

This will create a straw hexagon. You'll need 4 of these. 

Now, we're attaching these four hexagons to each other. Cut 8 short pieces of the thinner wire. Tie/wrap this around the intersections of the four hexagons.
Hopefully the drawings explain where they attach to each other. This going to be the frame. 
We're starting to form a geometric ball shape. 

Keep the thin wire out for this step. We'll be finishing off the frame. See how the tops create squares where they intersect? You will be making the entire ball/frame into squares. Attach all of the intersections. You will end up with 8 triangular shapes and 18 squares. The points/spikes will stick out from the squares. 

Here is an easy step. Take your thread (or wire) and cut 4 strips around 14 inches long. (Basically, the length of two longer straws put room to tie them to the frame at the end. The longer, the easier.). Tie the four strings together in the middle. Now repeat this 16 times, until you have 17. One for each point.

This step is tying on the points to your star. Separate out two strands of thread, and attach a clip at the knot area. [To be honest, I just used my teeth] String these two pieces of thread down one long straw segment. Take the two ends and tie them around any corner of a square on the frame. Repeat with the opposite corner, pulling relatively taught, but not enough to snap the thread. Finish off the other two corners, and VOILA! One point down! 16 to go. Sorry. This will probably take you a while.
At the end, you'll have one square without a spike in it. I recommend tying some string through the square before you put too many spikes on, so you remember not to put one there. Pick one of the squares that was created by the hexagons with stronger wire through them.

Now it's time to take out your glue gun.
I used a small amount of glue on every intersection of straws. This is to eliminate any shifting, and unite the structure. The points are especially important, as you want them to be lined up nicely to look professional. 

(Did I mention my horrible spelling skills? You'll need Pliers. Not Plyers. I'm ashamed.)
Pull the little legs of each fastener away from the center and chop them off with a pliers, wire cutters, pair of scissors you don't care much about, etc. Just get them off. 
Take the Brass Fasteners and hot glue them to the end of the points on your star.
The ends look so much nicer covered, rather than having the straw ends showing.
Spray painting time! Hang your star outside, or in a garage. 
[I know it's cold outside. Trust me. I live in Minnesota. But still, skip wearing your nice winter jacket during this step. Learn from my mistakes. ....It's actually kinda sparkly and cool now.... But don't!]
I also spray painted the top of my pendant light, which I recommend doing for aesthetics. This is taking up the visual space of another point, and uniform color makes sense.
This part is kind something you need to figure out for yourself. Attaching the pendant light. My light was round, and twisted onto something, so I took a small piece of plastic, cut a round hole in it, punched holes in the corners and used wire to string it into the remaining/non spiked square.
And, you're: 

You can see more pictures over in this post

Yay Geometry!
Did you make one? Planning to make one? Questions? Tell/ask me below!

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  1. Great job! Very clever, I'd never guess this was made with straws. I'm also a bad speller. I believe I'll try to make this. I'll let you know if your instructions are easy to follow.

  2. That is fantastic! Visting from Work it Wednesday!


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