ISSUE 50  |  Holidays Abroad

A Star is Born: DIY Foraged Christmas Tree Topper

December 17, 2015 4:00 PM

BY Justine Hand

For years, I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect star to top my holiday tree. Most, I’ve found, are either too big, too plastic, or too costly. So this year I decided to make my own. With nothing more than some foraged larch boughs and glittery string, I crafted a simple, natural star that looks much more at home atop my Scandinavian tree.

Photography by Justine Hand for Gardenista.

Above: One of my favorite things about this project is the minimal time and materials it requires. Likely you have these things right on hand in your craft drawer and yard.


  • Straight branches from any tree or bush. I used larch, then also experimented with evergreens and rose hips.
  • Festive holiday string or twine. 
  • Scissors, shears, and wire.

Step 1:

Above: Cut four straight branches the same length, depending on how big you want your star to be. I used 9-inch sticks for my 9 foot tree.

Step 2:

Above: If you are using larch or something with needles or buds, remove these from the center 2 inches of each branch.

Step 3:

Above: Lay two branches across each other to form a plus sign. Then place the remaining two branches diagonally across these to form a star with equidistant spokes.

Step 4:

Above: To secure the branches, I resurrected an old skill from my camp days: God’s eyes. Though this double cross version looks more complex than the standard with two crossed sticks, the technique is the same. In fact, after I got started I couldn’t believe how easily my fingers settled into the rhythm of the task. Like riding a bike, I guess.

First, tie a bit of string to one of the branches. Then lay it across the star and wrap twice around the whole base. Then move to the next “V” and repeat until you have wrapped each section in a star pattern.

Step 5:

Above: To begin your God’s eye, wrap the twine across the front and around one branch.

Above: Come across the front to the next branch. Wrap around and then move across to the next. Repeat until you have built up the middle of your God’s eye. After you achieve the thickness you want, flip you star over and tie off the loose end.

Above: Here’s what your star should look like after this step.

Step 6:

Above: The second layer of your star is made using a standard four-point God’s eye. This time, tie your string farther up the branch. Wrap around, but instead of going to the next immediate branch, skip one. Repeat three times and tie off the end. 

Step 7: 

Above: To fashion the third layer, repeat as above, but start on one of the branches that you skipped before to create two standard God’s eyes at an angle to each other. 

Above: Voil√≠¬†! If you wish, you can trim the alternate ends of your star. Then attach the star to your tree with a bit of wire.

Above: I also experimented with other materials such as evergreens and rose hips. Hung together, they look like falling snow flakes.

N.B. Want more DIY holiday decor? Michelle offers a tutorial on Snowballs for the Christmas Tree, while Sarah teaches us how to make a Cardoon Swag.