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Portland, ME

Made in Maine, Scandinavian-Inspired Print and Pattern, Designed and Handmade For Every Day Use in the Home. Created in late 2011, Lilleputt is the creative studio of Annika Schmidt.


Swedish Paper Hearts: How To.

Annika Schmidt

December is my divulge in baking and crafts time, and who knew, December started today! (I didn’t). I headed in to town to pick up my advent candles this morning, and the snowy weather (plus discovering at the bank that today was in fact the first of December) inspired me to come home to hunker down with a pair of scissors, a glue stick and a stack of pretty papers I’ve been collecting (for longer than needs to be disclosed).

Growing up we always used Swedish paper hearts as Christmas decorations, to hang on the Christmas tree, doors and in the windows. They’re pretty fun and quick to make, once you get the hang of it. I find light to medium weight paper the most forgiving (I used old wrapping paper I’ve received in the past, craft paper is good too); it needs a little structure to hold pressed creases, but should be pliable enough to bend and manipulate without leaving unintentional bends in the paper.

I’ve made up a quick template with two sizes: Download Paper Template here. Of course these can be easily altered for more checkers, different proportions and sizes, but I find it helps to start out following a template pretty accurately to ensure the pieces fit together (that quickly goes out the window with me, as I free-hand the cutting around the template and get some irregularities as a result). 

When cutting out the heart halves, the key is to have the paper folded on the short square end of the template, so you end up with a long rectangle with rounded ends like below:

Cut along the lines however many bands you wish (just make sure the two halves coming together match or you will have trouble weaving them together). 

You’ll end up with two pieces like this (I like to use different papers together), so I’m pairing this green wrapping paper with a plain white paper. Begin weaving the two halves together making sure to pass each strip BETWEEN the fold of the other half, and not just behind it. This interlocks the two so they don’t just fall apart.

This is the slightly finicky part, I find its best to weave them all somewhat simultaneously, but it will inevitably get a little tight at the end. 

(I got board with the green color and moved on to blue and white). It will sometimes feel like you wont be able to get it to lie flat. It takes a little bit of patience… but if you free-hand the cutting like I did here, sometimes it really wont lie flat, and you’ll need to cut a little further into the curve of the heart (extend the length of the strips) to allow the other half to fit. It’s better to have them cut a little bit longer than the width of the other half, rather than trying to be exact (it gives a little more leeway for weaving too).

And in the end, the inside of your woven heart should look like this!  A perfect little compartment for stowing notes or goodies… 

I included a little rectangle with the heart-half template to serve as a hook to hang the heart by (use tape or glue stick to adhere).

…And if you really enjoy making them (like say, 24 of them) wouldn’t these make the cutest little advent calendar?