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CBC DIY: Make your own traditional Filipino parol

A parol, a traditional Filipino decoration that represents the star the three wise men followed the night Jesus was born, can cost hundreds of dollars, but follow these instructions to make your own for about $20.

Host your own parol-making party with artist Queti Azurin’s DIY video

Artist Queti Azurin shows off her parol, made from straws, tissue paper and garland. A store-bought parol can cost hundreds of dollars, for less than $20 you can make your own at home. (Tyler Funk)

After moving to Manitoba as an immigrant, Filipino artist Queti Azurin missed home.

Making parols — star-shaped lanterns — helped soothe her homesickness. In Winnipeg, she also began teaching parol-making classes. 

A parol is a traditional Filipino, star-shaped Christmas lantern that represents the star the three wise men followed.

The holiday decoration is ubiquitous at Christmas time in the Philippines and is found for sale in markets and shops.

More elaborate, store-bought parols can cost hundreds of dollars but with Azurin's help, you can now make your own for about $20. She's created a DIY parol video with help of Winnipeg-based videographers Tyler Funk and Carmen Ponto. 

Follow the instructions in this video or scroll below to find a written version:

Step-by-step instructions on making a Filipino holiday lantern. 3:26

Helpful hints: Don't be intimidated by the number of steps. This DIY holiday craft isn't difficult.

Use your imagination and creativity when choosing tissue paper colours and holiday garland. We chose white, red and silver for our parol.

Use a gentle touch when working with tissue paper as it rips easily.

Glue guns are hot. Be careful if doing the craft with kids. 

What you will need:

  • 23 straws (or bamboo sticks)
  • Glue gun
  • Glue stick 
  • Scissors
  • White and red tissue paper (choose your own favourite colours) 
  • Foil paper
  • Craft paper
  • Craft wire
  • Wire cutters
  • Holiday garland 
  • String or ribbon 

Part I: Make 2 stars 

  1. Pinch the end of one straw and slip it inside the end of another straw to make one long straw. Make 10 of these. 
  2. Using a glue gun, glue the tip of two long straws together to create V shape. 
  3. Make 4 Vs in total. 
  4. Interlace 2 Vs together to make the beginning of a five-pointed star.
  5. Glue the final long straw across from one tip of a V to another tip to create a star shape.
  6. Glue the last point together to complete the star shape. 
  7. Adjust the size of the star, making sure horizontal straw lines are straight. 
  8. To secure the star shape, glue each intersection where straws cross each other. 
  9. Repeat steps 4 to 8 to create a second star. 
  10. Cut five two-inch-long straw pegs.  
  11. Glue pegs upright at each intersection of a star.
  12. Glue the pegs to the second star, attaching it to the first one to create a 3D star. 
  13. Glue together all five points of the top and bottom stars. 

Step II: Applying tissue paper

  1. Spread glue on the outer edge of the star using a glue stick.
  2. Lay a sheet of white tissue paper flat on the glued edges and press down gently, circling the star with tissue paper.
  3. Cut off the excess tissue paper.
  4. Spread glue on the front side straw edges of 3D star. 
  5. Lay the star on a sheet of red tissue paper. Flatten and press the sheet of tissue paper onto the glued edges, securing the paper to the straw frame.
  6. Trim the excess paper hanging over the edges and repeat step 5 on the other side of star. 
  7. Glue five strips of foil paper on the star to outline the original five-pointed star shape you made out of straws. Repeat on the other side of the star. 

Step III: Make 2 tails 

  1. Fold a sheet of white tissue paper into a triangle. (Trim any excess paper.) Fold four times in total, as if making a paper snowflake.
  2. Cut alternating slits on either side of the long edges of the triangle, making sure not to cut the whole way through. Unfold and gently lay aside. This is the white outer tail. 
  3. Take a piece of red tissue paper and fold it lengthwise three times to make a long, narrow shape. 
  4. Cut four long strips into it lengthwise, making sure not to cut the whole way through. 
  5. Bundle and crimp the end that's not cut. This is the red inner tail. 
  6. Repeat steps 1 to 5 to create a second set of inner and outer tails. 
  7. Cut two large and two small circles using craft paper. 
  8. Glue the large circle to the centre of the white tissue paper you folded and cut. 
  9. Glue the crimped end of the red tail to the large circle. When the glue is dry, pick it up by the centre so the white tissue is outside and the red tissue is inside. This is one finished tail. 
  10. Repeat steps 8 and 9 to make the second tail. 
  11. Glue each of the two smaller craft paper circles to two bottom points of the star. 
  12. Glue the finished tails to each of these circles.

Step IV: Attach the garland

  1. Cut an approximately 54-inch length of wire and loop it twice around the star, making a wire circle. It should be the diameter of the star.
  2. Remove the wire from around the star and wrap holiday garland around the wire circle.
  3. Use a glue gun to attach the points of the star to the garland-wrapped wire. 
  4. Tie a string or ribbon to the garland-wrapped wire at the top of your star. 
  5. Hang your parol in your favourite place.