You will need
- 5 x sticks each 45cm long. Hazel twigs are ideal if you have a tree nearby but you can also use bamboo or 1cm wide dowelling
- Fairy lights string about 6 -8 metres long. This will work with plug-in lights but I used battery-operated ones so the star can be placed anywhere you like.
- Non-metallic twine or string.
- Coloured sticky tape (optional)
For a more traditional Christmas decoration, see Kate Smith's step-by-step dried orange garland.
How to make
Making the frame
1. This is a five-point star so lay the five sticks on a table in front of you to form a star shape, with the ends overlapping slightly at the points. For stability, weave the sticks so that each one is on top at one intersection and under at the next: over, under, over, under. Obviously you can’t do this if you're using dowel or bamboo, since the sticks aren't pliable enough.
2. You should now have 10 intersections altogether. Using a length of twine or string, bind the sticks together firmly at each intersection, finishing with strong knots.
Add the lights
1.Take your fairy lights string and unwind. Test they are working before you start – you could be left very frustrated after your hard work if they don’t light!
2. Leaving aside the end of the cable that has no lights attached – the plug or battery end – measure the string and divide by five. Then measure along one fifth and count the lights in the section – that gives you the number of lights that will be allocated to each stick. (It may help to put a little coloured sticky tape to mark the sections, which you can remove again once you’ve finished.)
3. Wind the lights back into a ball or skein, so you can unwind them gradually as you go and don’t get into a pickle! Keeping the section of cable without lights free from the star, start winding from where the lights begin, using the coloured tape or number of lights as a guide to ensure the same number are allocated to each stick. Try to make sure the lights are evenly distributed along each stick. Make sure the bulbs are facing out and not in direct contact with the stick or twine.
4. At the finish, I found I could tuck the last light between the sticks to secure it but you may need to tie it on with another piece of twine or string.
Setting up your star
If using plug-in lights, the hook to hang the star from will obviously have to be positioned close to the electrical socket – but not directly above it. Driving a nail or drill into an electric cable will spoil everybody’s Christmas! Use an electric cable detector to ensure you are working in a safe spot. And make sure the lights are turned off and unplugged before you go to bed or leave home.
Battery-operated lights are more flexible and can be positioned on a wall, a door, or propped up on a shelf. As the star is quite large, it should not be placed on a mantelpiece above a working fire, in case it falls off and catches light – the same goes for Christmas cards!
You can make a larger star for a bigger impact with longer sticks – but think through the logic of using more that one string of lights before you start.
For more crafty ideas, see our craft projects section.