How to Make Danish Christmas Hearts

Written by nadia nygaard
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How to Make Danish Christmas Hearts
Danish heart baskets can be used to give gifts or decorate Christmas trees. (Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images)

Hans Christian Andersen, the Danish storyteller, influenced more than the fairy tale literary landscape. He also helped popularise the woven Danish Christmas heart when he gave a heart basket to a friend in the 1860s. The Danish Christmas heart is used to hold small gift items or as a decoration on a Christmas tree. Traditionally, red and white paper strips are used, but green and gold and black and white make striking patterns, as well.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Two 9" by 12" pieces differently coloured construction paper
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Glue

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  1. 1

    Fold each piece of paper in half so that it measures 6" x 9" . Measure a 3" by 5" rectangle on each piece of your coloured paper. Use the folded edge of the paper as one 3" side to your rectangle, so that you create two, two-layered rectangles that would be 3" by 10" if opened, one in each colour. Cut out the rectangles. Do not cut through the folded edge.

  2. 2

    With your paper still folded, round the corners on the half of each rectangle opposite the fold, to about 1/2" in from the edge. This will leave you with two tongue shaped pieces of double-layered paper. Draw a light pencil line horizontally across the rectangle from one end of the rounded corner to the other.

  3. 3

    Measure and mark three equal spaces along the folded, square-cornered edge of the paper pieces with your ruler. If you cut a 3" by 5" piece, each space will be one inch wide. Use the ruler to draw a straight line from your marks to the horizontal line on the opposite side of the paper.

  4. 4

    Cut each line so you have three strips on each piece of paper. Unfold the paper, then refold it inside out so that the pencil marks are hidden from view.

  5. 5

    Hold the papers with the rounded ends next to each other, forming a heart shape. If you are using red and white papers, weave the first red strip into the middle of the first white strip. Weave the second white strip through the red strip, then the red strip through the middle of the third white strip. For the second row, alternate the weaving pattern, placing the first white strip through the middle red strip, then the red strip through the middle white strip and, finally, the last white strip through the red strip. The third row is woven exactly as the first row.

  6. 6

    Cut a strip of paper to your desired handle length and glue to the inside of the heart at the top, centre point. Open the heart to fill with treats or hang on your tree.

Tips and warnings

  • Try making hearts with four, five or more strips using the same techniques.
  • Additional patterns can be found in design books or on websites once you've advanced past the basic weaving technique.
  • The third row of weaving can be tricky as you manoeuvre the strips with a limited amount of wiggle room. Any creases or wrinkles you make while weaving that row can be smoothed out once you've finished.

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