Here in Cordova we have a vibrant Filipino community. We’ve all benefited by learning about the delicious food and a bit about music, and dancing from the Philipines. Last night, the Library hosted a craft night, and the featured craft was a Parol: a Filipino Christmas lantern. (The word parol comes from the Spanish word for lantern: farol.) Wikipedia says that in the Philippines, the parol is as much as symbol of Christmas as a tree is in the west. There are competitions to see which neighborhood can craft the best parols, and there is an infinite variety of designs.

Paula Payne, a librarian and local artist found a how-to video on You Tube, and learned to make a version of the parol that she could teach to the rest of us.

I just watched the video, and found that it didn’t describe all the steps, so I’ll list them here:

Step 1: Cut five sheets of paper into squares

Step 2: Fold each sheet into a triangle, and into another triangle half the size.

Step 3: Use a ruler to mark 8 even lines lengthwise across the triangles.

Step 4: The triangle opens like a book. Cut along the lines towards the closed (fold) side of triangle. Stop cutting when there’s about 1 cm left.

Step 5: Open your papers carefully and lay them flat.

Step 6: With a small piece of tape, fold the corners of the center diamond in to make a tube and tape them shut. Then, do the same for every other diamond.

Step 7: Flip the piece over, and fold and tape the remaining diamonds.

Step 8: Take two of your star pieces and staple them together at the top corner. Then, staple again at what Paula calls the “shoulder,” which is the middle of the outermost diamond on each piece. Continue adding pieces this way until you’ve attached all five.

Step 9: Use some scrap paper to make a hanger, and staple it onto one point.

Step 10: Attach some tissue paper in strips to the remaining points, if you wish, to embellish your star.

A note about size: the diameter of your star will be a bit more than twice the diameter of your squares, so size them accordingly. We made BIG stars last night, but today I’m trying one with origami paper. It looks cool because the two sizes of the paper are different. I’m sure once you learn the basic star you could come up with lots of variations.

Parols weren’t the only craft last night. Another local artist, Carl Becker, was helping kids to learn origami. Jay Jay was captivated–as much by Carl’s calm, easy manner as by the paper folding–and came home with a gaggle of paper animals.

Make a Parol: A Filipino Christmas Lantern