How to make Danish braided Christmas heart decorations

Pleated christmas hearts or 'julehjerter' were invented by the famous Danish writer H. C. Andersen in the 1860's. These folded paper ornaments are shaped like hearts and can be opened. As so they function as a kind of pouch and back in the days people would hang them on the christmas tree and fill them with cookies and candies.

The 'braiding' of these hearts have become a great tradition and a lot of kids would make them on their school cut-and-glue days. It has also become an art, and some people specialize in creating intricate braids. 

Here's a guide to the original simple braided heart. At the bottom of the page you will find a template: click to open and print.

Click to enlarge

  1. -Cut out a template from below on a simple piece of white paper. Use this template shape as a framework.
    -Fold two pieces of colored paper and place the template shape with the ABC / 123 side facing THE FOLD of the colored paper.
    -Draw along the edges of the template and cut out the two sides of the heart. 
    -It is very important to notice that each side consist of two layers of paper joined at one edge.
  2. Following the instructions in the image (click to enlarge) you can begin braiding. As you can see each slip goes alternately through and over the slip from the other side
  3. continue this pattern until the heart is finished. If you have a hard time understanding the process from the image here's a full written guide:
    3 through C / 3 over B / 3 through A / 2 over C / 2 through B / 2 over A / 1 through C / 1 over B / 1 through A.
  4. cut a long rectangle from any color of paper and fold it on the middle. You don't need a template for this. Add glue to both the sides facing out.
  5. Fasten the hank touching both glued sides to each inwards facing side of the finished heart. After you let it dry you can hang you new ornament or fill it with candy!

Danes really know how to do christmas. With endless cute and fun traditions the baking, crafting, foraging and dancing seems to have no end. Read about the weird and endearing Danish habits...

Click and print...

Click and print...