Top this year’s tree with a modern spectacle. This geometric Himmeli-style star sculpture requires minimal supplies and is simple to construct — so crank up the holiday tunes and get started!
Himmeli-style decorations originated in Finland, are typically crafted from straws and hang as ornaments or mobiles. We take the same concept and turn it up a notch by using brass metal tubing to construct a more durable modern heirloom.
Things You’ll Need
- 3/32-inch round metal brass tubing, 117 inches
- Tube cutter
- Permanent marker
- 28-gauge coiled brass wire, 207 inches
- Wire cutters
Most hardware stores carry round metal brass tubing in packs of three or longer single-length tubes. This project requires 117 inches of brass tubing that will be cut into the following dimensions: 12 3-inch-long tubes, nine 6-inch tubes and three 9-inch tubes.
Tip: Use a permanent marker to mark off measurements and a tube cutter to cut the brass tubing along each mark. A cotton ball with rubbing alcohol will wipe away any residual marks from the marker.
Start by making a triangle with three of the 3-inch brass tubes. String a 12-inch piece of wire through all three tubes, tightening wire to connect at the open triangle points. Twist loose ends of wire together to secure, and snip any excess with wire cutters.
Now we’ll make this triangle 3-D. Using a 24-inch piece of wire, rethread through one side of the original triangle so equal parts of wire extend on either side. String a 9-inch brass tube onto each side of the wire, and then join by twisting and cutting the wire at the open point.
Next, using another 24-inch piece of wire, rethread along the 9-inch brass tube you just attached and one side of the original triangle.
String another 9-inch brass tube onto the excess wire and join the open points to form a 3-D pyramid.
This pyramid will act as the tallest focal point for the tree star and the base from which you build out the rest of the sculpture.
Think of each base side of this pyramid (the original triangle) as a starter side for making three new triangles. Using a 12-inch piece of wire, rethread through one side of the pyramid base so equal parts of wire extend on either side. String a 3-inch brass tube onto each side of the wire, and then join by twisting and cutting the wire at the open point.
Repeat this step along the other two open sides of the pyramid base until there are three new triangles surrounding it.
Now you’ll turn each of these three new triangles into 3-D pyramids of their own; these will act as the three star points in the finished sculpture.
Just as you did in the first few steps, use an 18-inch piece of wire to rethread through one side of the triangle base so that equal parts of wire extend on either side. String two 6-inch brass tubes onto each side of the wire, and then join by twisting and cutting the wire at the open point.
Next, using another 18-inch piece of wire, re-thread along the 6-inch brass tube you just attached and one side of the triangle base, allowing 1 ½ inches of wire to extend for twisting off.
String another 6-inch brass tube onto the excess wire and join the open points to form a 3-D pyramid that’s now joined with the original pyramid.
Repeat this step along the other two open triangles of the pyramid base until there are three new 6-inch tall pyramids surrounding the taller one in the center.
Now you just need to create an open base for the star so it can easily slide onto the top of a Christmas tree. There should be three of the 3-inch brass tubes left; these create this base.
Connecting the three outer points of the triangle outline (pictured above) with the remaining 3-inch brass tubes is the basic concept for creating the base to finish the star. If you lift the center point gently, you’ll see the other three star points start to fall in place, showing you where these final three tube connectors should go:
Thread an 11-inch piece of wire through one full side of the outer triangle base (through two 3-inch brass tubes), allowing 4 inches of excess wire to extend from one end. String one 3-inch brass tube onto the excess wire, and then gently tighten the wire to join the open ends.
Repeat this step along the other two outer sides of the base until all three original points are connected by the remaining three brass tubes.
The final result will create a hollow opening surrounded by the four star points, perfect for resting atop your Christmas tree.
During the off-season, this star design works just as well as a modern geometric sculpture to display on a desk, mantle or entryway.
Looking for more holiday decorating ideas? Learn how to make a birch bark pine cone ornament and how to make a rustic modern card display stand from a reclaimed wood beam.
Mary & Tim
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Keep up with Mary and Tim’s adventures in DIY, home and gardening on their collaborative lifestyle blog, 17Apart. Find them on Instagram (@17Apart) and page through delicious recipes on Tim’s food blog, E.A.T.
Photo credits: Mary & Tim Vidra
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Mary and Tim Vidra, the creative couple behind the lifestyle blog 17Apart.com, live and work in Richmond, Virginia. Both do-it-yourselfers by nature, they are continually in search of simple solutions for living more sustainably — sharing their ideas, tips and tricks for DIY home decor, urban gardening and cooking.