Easy Little Paper Wheels

Here in Denmark, Fröbel Stars are a very popular Christmas ornament, and I love making them, especially since the pre-cut strips now come in so many colors and patterns. I used to cut strips myself, to be able to make stars in crazy colors (strips used to come in white, silver and gold only), but no more. I have also painted them and decorated them in different ways.

I didn't start making these slightly complicated stars before I was all grown up, I never had the patience for them as a kid, and they are not for beginners. You can try them yourself, and you could get started with this tutorial! You can find several videos on YouTube, as well.

But back to the pre-cut strips, so widely available here in Denmark. I wanted to come up with a little simple ornament to make from these, so easy that my son (aged 5) could make them - and ended up with these rather cute little wheelie type things.

You make them from exactly two star strips, and a fun thing is that you can play around with how you hang them, as you can see above - either string them as beads, put a ribbon through the hole, or punch a hole for a thinner string in one of the folds.  

They derive from a very traditional ornament: Musetrapper in Danish or 'mouse ladders', or even 'cats ladders'. They are one of the the simplest types of garland you can make - if you need an explanation there is a fine tutorial here

To make the little wheelies, you make one small 'mouse ladder' from only two star strips, and trim the ends with glue. When that is dry, you press together the two square ends with a little more glue, to make the wheel. Voilà.

I made these with the different store bought strips I had, and here are their measurements if you need to cut some yourself: 25 x 860 mm., 15 x 500 mm. (the most common kind) and some 10 x 500 mm. for the tiny red ones (a bit to long for a good wheel, so trim these a bit). These super handy strips can be bought in all kinds of online DIY material shops, and are a must if you like to make Fröbel stars, and now wheels! Google for 'stjernestrimler'. They are inexpensive and will save you looots of time measuring and cutting - plus they have print on both sides, which is what you want for both stars and these types of folded things.

Musetrapper will often be the first kind of Christmas finery children in Denmark make. Along with the classic and universal paper ring garland. Here is a page from one of my old Christmas books:

What you often do, is have the children make lots and lots of the shorter bits, and then your kindergarten group or class will put them together to form a very long one, to hang across the entire classroom, or something like that (The photo above is from Gl. Estrup Herregård, from an attempt to make Denmarks longest 'mouse ladder').

This last image (from the Danish blog Reklamejam) is interesting. It is from last years Christmas season in Berlin, and taken in the &Other Stories shop (a favourite of mine, by the way), where these enourmous paper garlands were a part of the Christmas theme. They look very intriguing, like a kind of 'mouse ladders' but somehow... hexagonal? If anybody knows what they are, please let me know!


  1. Ooh they are lovely! Thanks for all the inspiration.!
    Liza Veenendaal

    1. Hi Liza!
      You are so very welcome - and have a Merry Christmas!
      Best wishes; Tina