“Ma brought out two long strips of brown wrapping-paper that she had saved. She folded them, and she showed Mary and Laura how to cut tiny bits out of the folded paper with the scissors. When each unfolded her paper, there was a row of stars. Ma spread the paper on the shelves behind the stove. The stars hung over the edges of the shelves, and the light shone through them.”
Creating decorations for the home is a centuries-old pastime. Before there were craft stores, it was common for families like the Ingalls to reuse everyday items like fabric, glass, and paper that they already had on hand for new, decorative purposes. In the book On the Banks of Plum Creek, Ma teaches Mary and Laura to turn old brown wrapping paper she had saved into pretty, festive star-shaped garlands. It’s simple to do and adds a whimsical touch to any room, whether on the prairie or in your own home.
How the Ingalls Made The Paper Star Banner
“The windows were shining and the pink-edged curtains were freshly crisp and white. Laura and Mary made new starry papers for the shelves, and Ma made vanity cakes.” Sounds like fun, right?
Here’s how to make this simple and frugal DIY for yourself by following the basic references in the book.
Supplies You’ll Need to Make Paper Banners
How to Make Your Paper Garland
Step 1: Fold your paper back and forth in an accordion fold, as shown below.
The longer your strip of paper is, the longer your garland will be. For my project, I reused packing paper that came in a box I received. You can also buy rolls of kraft wrapping paper at your local craft store or even use an old paper bag.
Step 2: Draw a star shape on the top of your folded paper. Notice that the points on the side reach all the way to the edges of the paper – this is very important! Four of the star’s points should be on the folds, which is what connects the stars together.
Step 3: Cut out the shape through all the layers but be careful not to cut the folded edges apart. Be sure to leave enough of the fold in tact when cutting because those folded edges are what hold the banner together when you open it up!
Step 4: Unfold and display your stars wherever you like!
A Valentine’s Day Variation – Heart Paper Banner DIY
With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, it’s the perfect time to make a little festive variation on this craft by changing the stars to hearts! Fold your paper in the same way, but instead of drawing a star, this time you’ll draw half a heart.
Make sure once again to leave part of the shape on both sides of the fold, as shown, so that everything stays connected.
Cut along your drawn lines, then unfold!
Now you have a sweet and simple garland that’s just perfect for hanging on the mantel or anywhere else that looks cozy and festive. These paper chains are so easy to create and add a fun touch to any room.
What shape will you choose for your paper banners? Perhaps the little house or running girl icons! We’d love to see what you make on our Facebook page or share via Twitter and Instagram on the #LittleHouseMoment hashtag.
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