As promised, here are steps to make a very basic Lithuanian straw ornament with a four-sided base (šiaudinukas).
We are going to use paper straw instead of the traditional rye straw because it’s easier to work with and easier to find, and we’re going to use fishing line instead of thread because when you use fishing line, you don’t need a needle.
- White paper art straws (you could use plastic as well, but I would judge you)
- Clear monofilament fishing line (not braided)
First, cut twelve pieces of straw so that they are all equal lengths. I recommend anywhere between two to four inches per piece for this first attempt. Be very precise in your measurements because even small differences in length can make the final product lop-sided.
Now cut about and arm’s length of fishing line and string four of the straws onto it, threading them to almost the very end of the line.
Bring the two loose ends of fishing line together and tie them in a knot so that the four straws you strung on the line form a square. From now on, we’re going to call this our “foundation square.”
Tuck the short end of the fishing line into one of the straws in the foundation square to hide it.
Now string two more straws onto the long end of the fishing line and tie a knot at one of the corners of your foundation square so that your shape looks like a house with a roof:
From now on, we are going to call that roof part an “ear.” (Just go with it.)
Tie another ear onto your foundation square by stringing two more straws onto the end of the fishing line and tying a knot at the next corner of the foundation square. Your shape should look like this:
Repeat this process until your foundation square has four “ears.”
(When you run out of fishing line, just tie more on making sure to hide the knot you use to secure it within one of the straws.)
When you have four ears around your foundation square, run the fishing line up through one of the ears so that it comes out through the pointy end.
Then tie the ear out of which the fishing line is protruding to the ear opposite from it to form a pyramid. Your shape should look like this:
Now thread the end of the fishing line back down to one of the corners of your foundation square and through one of the remaining “loose” ears.
Tie the ear out of which the fishing line is protruding to the ear opposite from it. Your shape should look like this:
Cute, but not very exciting, is it? This form is the basic building block that, once mastered, makes creating elaborate variations possible. Here are some simple ways to add interest to a basic four-sided ornament:
Use longer straws for two of the four sets of ears:
Nest a smaller ornament inside a larger one:
Hang a smaller ornament to the end of a larger one:
Or use longer straws for the foundation square and shorter straws for the ears:
You can also hang smaller ornaments from the corners of a larger one:
The instructions I’ve provided are for making ornaments using a four-sided foundation square, but more elaborate ornaments can be made by making the foundation square five, six, seven, and even eight sided. Alternately, a simple triangle/pyramid shaped ornament can be made using a three-sided foundation.
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