Nordic Christmas: Danish Hearts

This post is part of our series exploring Nordic Christmas traditions. To see the entire collection, visit the Nordic Christmas home page.

I made these woven hearts in elementary school. We used them to hold goodies from our class Valentine’s Day parties. Imagine my surprise to discover these are actually Christmas tokens! Even more surprising, Hans Christian Andersen created the oldest ones still in existence. 

If you attach a handle they hang nicely on the tree, although I think they are charming either way.

At their most basic, julehjerte are simple enough for children to do. In fact they are a fantastic craft to keep the little humans busy for a little while. It’s great for developing fine motor coordination.

If you’ve never made one before, you’re in for a treat! Begin with two contrasting colours and and fold cut them like so:
(Note: I layer them before I cut so the cuts match. Also note: there are patterns available online but I like to live on the wild side so I free-hand it.)

Next you’ll weave them together. Since you’re weaving folded paper instead of a flat sheet it’s helpful to think of it as around and through instead of over and under. 

If you do the around and through part correctly then you’ll end up with a cone-shaped basket. It’s perfect for storing little trinkets!

Make lots! Play around with size and each one will be different. Aren’t they just so much fun?

As I discovered after falling down the Pinterest rabbit hole, however, these hearts can be quite elaborate. I am completely captivated by the variations! I found an entire blog dedicated to julehjerte patterns. I couldn’t resist giving the Mary and Joseph heart a try. I found the pattern here. What shall I make next? And more importantly: what will you make? 

I did both parts in white on a whim. I like the ethereal effect!

Also, a word of caution for these fancier julehjerte, they are a lot harder to weave together. Definitely too complicated for young children or adults who lack patience and fine motor skills.

I think for my next julehjerte I shall play around with different papers and designs. Origami paper has different colours on different sizes. Oh! and I’ll use sheet music to make some gifts for my piano students! Oh I’m so excited at the new possibilities that I’ve got to go experiment right now…

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