How to Cut a Perfect 5-Point Star

Make a perfect star with just one snip of the scissors

According to the Betsy Ross and the American Flag story, George Washington originally presented Betsy with a flag design that had 6-point stars, but she suggested a 5-point star. The flag committee thought those stars were too hard to make, but she convinced them that it was easy to produce a perfect 5-point star with just one snip of the scissors.

Betsy made her stars from cloth, but you can make paper stars from solid color or custom-patterned paper that you print on your desktop printer. Use 5-point stars for various craft and decorating projects such as 4th of July print projects.

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Start With 8.5-Inch by 10-Inch Paper

8.5 x 10 inch paper
Trim an inch from letter size paper to get an 8.5 x 10 inch sheet of paper. Jacci Howard Bea

Start with an 8.5-inch by 10-inch sheet of paper or trim an inch off a letter-size sheet. You can use other sizes of paper as long as they have the same proportions.

One 8.5-inch by 10-inch sheet of paper produces a single 5-point star that is approximately 7.5 inches across from point to point.

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First Fold for 5-Point Star

Fold the paper in half
First, fold paper in half. Jacci Howard Bea

Fold the paper in half to a size of 8.5 by 5 inches with the fold at the top.

For the next several folds, with the paper held with the fold at the top, the upper left corner is A, and the upper right corner is B. This can be a little confusing. Don't get in a hurry. After a few times, you'll be able to do it almost without thinking.

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Create Horizontal and Vertical Creases

Create creases in folded paper
Crease paper on vertical and horizontal center. Jacci Howard Bea

Fold the folded paper back and forth both horizontally and vertically to create creases that divide the folded paper in quarters, while keeping the 8.5-inch by 10-inch paper folded in half with the fold at the top.

These creases serve as guides for the next fold.

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Second Fold for 5-Point Star

Make Diagonal Fold
Use creases as guidelines when making diagonal fold. Jacci Howard Bea

Fold corner A at the vertical crease down and across diagonally until the corner meets the horizontal crease. Corner A will not meet the edge of the paper.

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Third Fold for 5-Point Star

Fold Corner A Back
Fold corner A back. Jacci Howard Bea

Fold corner A back partially onto itself so that its original top folded edge aligns along the fold created in the previous step.

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Fourth Fold for 5-Point Star

Fourth Fold for 5 Point Star
Fold corner B over and across along previous fold. Jacci Howard Bea

Fold corner B toward you and over and across corner A along the fold made in the previous step.

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Fifth Fold for 5-Point Star

Fifth Fold for 5 Point Star
Fifth and final fold leaves the paper looking something like this. Jacci Howard Bea

Fold Corner B back over itself, aligning its original top folded edge with the previous fold. The paper now looks something like an inverted ice cream cone.

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Make One Diagonal Cut

Make One Cut
Vary the angle of the cut to find ideal 5 point star. Jacci Howard Bea

Starting at corner B, make a single angled cut, snipping off a small triangular piece of the folded paper.

Experiment with plain paper to find the angle of cut that produces the ideal 5 point star shape.

Unfold the small piece to see a perfect 5-point star. 

If it's not quite right, start over making sure you fold carefully and try a different angle of cut.

When you've mastered the process, smooth out the creases using a warm iron to minimize the creasing.

Don't Waste the Excess Paper

A lot of paper is cut away when you make the star. If you are worried about the waste, don't throw it away. Instead:

  • Use a plain hole punch or a decorative paper punch (such as one shaped like stars) to make confetti from the leftover edges after cutting out the large star.
  • Run the cut-away paper through your paper shredder and use the colorful bits for packing gifts and filling baskets.
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Ideas for Using Finished Stars

Unfold Star
One 8.5 x 10 inch paper produces a 7.5 inch point-to-point star. Jacci Howard Bea

Try these paper printing ideas:

  • Print a design on your paper, changing the pattern placement for several sheets of paper to create different patterns on the finished stars.
  • Place a photo or other image on the page as shown to have it come out in the center of the star.
  • Thin paper is easier to fold and cut than thick paper. When using thick paper, crease carefully and use heavy-duty scissors.
  • Use leftover wrapping paper, paper samples found in some graphic design magazines, old photo calendars, and other scraps to create the stars.

Try these decorating ideas:

  • Glue two stars back to back with a string between them and coming out at the top point. Hang them from the ceiling, Christmas trees, or in windows.
  • Scatter stars on a tabletop and cover with a clear tablecloth.
  • Attach a small stick to the bottom of a star or two stars glued together and stick it into wreaths or flower arrangements.
  • Use a large star as a party invitation or greeting card. Handwrite a message on the back.