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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Cheap 4th of July decor -- 3D star decorations made from magazine or catalog covers

If you'd like to see how these stars look spray-painted in silver for Christmas decor, check out this link.

Remember a while back I showed you a 3D star I'd made from a catalog page (well, 2 pages actually). These make great and *free* 4th of July decorations, to hang from a tree's branches, or the eaves of your house, or inside, from the kitchen or dining room chandelier-style light fixture.

Catalog (or magazine) covers work best, as they're stiffer than the pages inside. you could also use craft paper, like construction paper or scrapbook paper. But I used catalogs. (Go search your recycle bin!) I saved catalogs for a few weeks, to amass enough covers to make several stars. You'll need 2 pages to make each 3D star. And with a catalog or magazine, you're in luck, as you'll have 2 matching sized pages to use for each star (front cover and back cover). Different sizes for the stars make an interesting arrangement, so don't feel like your catalogs have to all be the same size. Get your older kids to help, as this is a fun project (and keeps them busy for a little bit).

What you'll need:

old magazine or catalog covers (thicker paper works better)
glue stick
hot glue gun

Here's the how-to:

Tear off the cover, front and back of a catalog. Fold one edge over, on the diagonal, as so:

Unless you're working with a square page, you'll have a rectangular section that is single-thickness, with a triangle that is double-thickness. Cut off the rectangle section, leaving you with a folded over piece in a triangle shape.

Open up your page, and fold/crease in the opposite diagonal direction

Open up, turn your paper over so the nice side of the page is facing you, and fold that nice side to the inside, on the rectangle, this time.

Open, and fold on the rectangle in the other direction.

When you open this again, you'll see that you have a square divided into 4 squares, and each square divided into 2 triangles,with folds.

Use scissors to cut, almost to half-way to the center (so only about 1/4 the way across the page) on all 4 of the straight folds (not diagonal folds).

Turn paper over (nice side down), and fold points on all 4 corners, bringing edge of paper to diagonal fold lines, crease.

Now, take your glue stick and cover one flap of each point with glue,

and pull the edge of the unglued point over the glued point, completely, and stick together. Use a pencil or tip of scissors to press the inside of the glued point together, if needed.

When you're done, you'll have something that looks like this on the underside,

and this on the top side.

Okay, with me so far? Now take the back of that same magazine or catalog cover, and repeat. You should have 2 matching, 4-point stars. (I timed myself on one of these 4-point stars, and it took me about 3-4 minutes. It only takes making a few to get the hang of them and be able to do them this quickly.)

Now, heat up your glue gun. Take your 2 stars, put a dot of hot glue in the 8 places where I've marked the underside of one star with a pen in the photo.

Working very quickly, put the other star's underside up against the hot glue spots, but with a point radiating out from an indented place between two points on the opposite star. What you wind up is a complete star with alternating points, with the 2 undersides of the stars attached.

Use thread or fishing line to suspend from overhead. Simply thread a needle and stitch through one of the points, leaving a long-enough thread for suspending. That's it! If you want them to all look uniform, you can spray paint them. That's what I had thought I would do. But I changed my mind once I got them all finished.

I did these assembly line fashion, making all the folds at once, all the cuts at once, all the glue stick for each star at once, then all the hot glue for each star at once.

The wonderful things about these stars is they cost practically nothing (glue stick and glue gun),  they don't need to be perfect to look good, but if you mess one up, no biggie as they were practically free to make. And they're like everything else in life, the more you do the faster you get.

Happy folding!

p.s. if stars for the 4th of July aren't your thing, you may want to hang onto this idea for Christmas. Smaller versions of these are beautiful in place of bows on gift packages, especially if made with white card stock, or silver or gold scrapbook paper.

Again, here's the link to these stars used as Christmas/New Years decor, painted in silver.


  1. Wow, these are beautiful! Love them. Have you every done the magazine-paper beads? I was given a necklace of them as a gift when I was 10 years old. The necklace was elastic, so broke, but I made the beads into earrings. They're so pretty, and such interesting colors. :) A neat, thrifty, old-fashioned craft. Sara :)

    1. Hi Sara,
      Oh yes! I did those as a teen, too! I taught my daughters how to make them as well. They really can be beautiful, and people were always surprised that they were magazine pages/strips. I always thought those beads had a nice casual, summery feel to them. Hmmm, maybe I'll have to make a necklace or bracelet this summer. Thanks for the reminder.

      Have a great day, Sara!

    2. I remember the magazine beads and always like them.

  2. Hi Lili

    Thanks for the good idea.. trying to figure out how to print this off. Will be doing this for the holidays... varying sizes, colors maybe some glitter as well. Happy 4th to you and yours.


    1. Hi Lisa,
      I enjoyed making them. Have fun! Colors and some glitter sounds very festive.
      Wishing you a happy 4th of July!

      Have a wonderful day, Lisa!

  3. Thanks Lili!! I love crafts that don't cost much to make. This will be fun to do with our grandkids when they are over this weekend.

    Have a wonderful 4th of July!!


    1. Hi YHF,
      I was thinking about your grandkids when I was typing this up, as something they'd probably enjoy doing. And how perfect that they'll be over, this weekend. Have fun with it!

      Wishing you a fun 4th of July! Have a great day, YHF!

  4. The stars look great as they are, but also look like they'd be easy to spray paint.

  5. They sure look pretty but I'm not the crafty type. I laugh because I think of my son in elementary school when it came time for art he just became so frustrated. He doesn't like crafty things either. When the kids were little I had an old door that I put on legs in the basement and they could paint, color, draw and everything was fine. But growing up no one was very crafty. I did the scrapbooking because I thought that was important for keeping memoreis but I quit after high school. I still throw things in the book but not in an organized fashion. My youngest wants me to make a t-shirt quilt this summer with all her t-shirts but there's no way I'm tackling that project! I just can't do crafts!


  6. Amazing! I'm going to try and remember them when Christmas comes round!


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