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Conquer cabin fever with this inexpensive and fun-to-assemble wooden matchstick star. It's perfect for Christmas or winter decorating and so easy to make, you could create an entire galaxy.
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Download the Matchstick Star Pattern. Print out the pattern and tape it to a piece of cardboard. Cut out the cardboard template with a utility knife or crafts knife and metal straightedge.
When cutting out the template, use a fresh blade and apply firm pressure to create clean edges on the cardboard cutout. Work on a cutting mat or other protective surface.
Use a straightedge and pen to lightly draw guidelines on the cardboard template, which are indicated as dashed lines on the printed pattern.
Light and burn one matchstick at a time. Hold the matchstick at a slight downward angle, rolling the stick between your fingers to create an even charred tone around the match slightly beyond the tip. Quickly extinguish the flame and place the matchstick on a heatproof surface until it cools.
Work in a well-ventilated area and quickly blow out the matchstick to preserve the wooden part of the tip. Light all the matchsticks in the box, if desired, and use only the best ones. To conserve matches, light only 25 matches and use those up before burning more as needed while you assemble the design.
Once the matchsticks cool, gently rub loose soot and the match head off the burned tip of the match. Return the matchsticks to the heatproof container, laying them in the same direction to prevent soot from transferring to the clean ends of the matchsticks.
Dip the clean end of an unburned matchstick into white glue. Drag the glue-laden end along the guidelines to form thin lines of glue radiating outward from the star center, extending the initial glue lines about the length of a matchstick.
With clean ends touching the center of the cardboard star template, place the first six matchsticks onto the glue guidelines. Wipe off excess glue and let dry completely.
Add glue and matches to develop the pattern, starting with the portions of section A on the downloadable pattern. Matchsticks radiating out from the center of the star serve as guides for the remaining matchsticks. Wipe off excess glue with a damp rag and let dry completely.
Study the template and photographs to note whether burned matchstick ends should point toward the center or perimeter.
Refer to the pattern printout to find a Section A, and apply a thin layer of glue to one of those areas on the cardboard template. Apply matchsticks, starting at the center and working your way out to the edge of the star. Make sure the last match conceals the cardboard. Repeat this step to fill in each Section A with matchsticks.
Work around the cardboard backing using the same technique from step 4 to fill in each Section B.
To fill each Section C, dry-fit one matchstick to determine the desired length and snip off the clean end to the correct length with scissors.
Snip the remaining matchsticks for Section C to this length. Apply a thin layer of glue to Section C, and apply matchsticks with burned ends pointing toward the center of the star. Let dry completely.
Cut a 3-in-long piece of string or twine. Lay the finished star upside down and glue the ends of the string spaced about 1 inch apart to form a hanging loop.