Make a Retro Starburst Ornament

starburst-ornamentThe starburst motif might just be my favorite of all the classic midcentury designs. You can still see them all the time in signs that haven’t been updated since the 60’s. There’s an old motel we often drive by on the 5 freeway that has a big HOTEL sign decorated with starbursts. You can find them at old bowling alleys or in vintage Vegas casinos. So simple and pretty and they instantly set the scene for me. I see these starbursts and I get a sudden urge to start ratting my hair. Unfortunately, nobody seems to be making stickers in this shape, so it’s up to us to make them ourselves.


step-1I gave the wooden ornament shapes a couple coats of white paint before finishing up with a couple coats of silver. I wanted really thick coverage and painting it white first is basically priming it. The silver looks brighter and without it you’d need to paint a million coats of silver to get the same effect.


step-2For the larger sunburst, cut a piece of cardstock into a 2 inch square. The smaller sunbursts are 1 inch squares. Use a ruler to mark the  middle of each side and then draw lines connecting them to find the middle of the square.


step-3Use a corner punch to cut a scrap piece of paper into a stencil.

step-4Line the stencil up with the lines you’ve drawn and trace that curve in each corner. Cut the image out, cutting on either side of the lines that make up the skinny tails.


step-5The smaller starbursts are made in just the same way, only you don’t need to draw a grid on them. Just line up your pattern with the edges of the 1 inch square, tracing where the curve begins. The larger starbursts also benefit from having the side arms trimmed a bit. It looks best if the vertical arms are the longest.


step-6Use a glue stick to stick your starburst shapes on to your ornaments and spray them with a lacquer spray paint.


starburstAdd a bit of thread to hang the ornament on the tree and marvel at how pretty it is. Then you can sit by the Christmas tree and dream about working for Sterling Cooper Draper Price.