Make Julehjerter (Heart-Shaped Scandinavian Christmas Ornaments), Feel the Love

December 14, 2016

Pour yourself a nice glass of gløg. Munch on a few pepparkokar. Get your crafting supplies at the ready. Put on your fuzziest wool socks, burrow under your fuzziest wool blanket, light some candles and feel the hygge.

Quickly google what each of those words mean, get lost for a moment searching flight deals to Scandinavia, and then settle in to fold some julehjerter.

Photo by Mark Weinberg

Julehjerter, or "Christmas hearts" are the easy-to-make DIY ornaments of your dreams. These little folded hearts, made by everyone from the smallest preschoolers to Hans Christian Andersen himself (no joke—his is on display at the National Museum in Copenhagen), are the perfect decorations for a tree, a wreath, or as a handy basket for carting around gingersnaps (if you haven't eaten them all first).

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They come in all shapes and sizes, but the simplest, and most popular, require two pieces of folded paper. For the classic version, use red and white, the colors of the Danish flag. Once you've mastered the basic weave, play around with patterns, sizes and colors until you've decorated the whole house and you feel happy, cozy and ready for the holiday bustle yet to come.

Here's what you'll need:

Paper, pencil, glass, scissors. Photo by Mark Weinberg

  • 8 1/2" x 11" paper in two colors (Editor's note: We used 65 lb cardstock to make these and it worked out perfectly!)
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Wine or water glass
  • Pencil

Here's how to make them:

  • Select two pieces of paper in different colors; you'll get two hearts out of the combo. Fold each piece in half widthwise.
  • Using the top of the glass as a template, lightly draw two circles a few inches above the fold, so that the far side of the circle touches the 8 1/2-inch edge of the paper. Use your ruler to lightly draw two parallel lines from the sides of the circles back to the fold, creating a pair of archways—these are the sides of the hearts! Cut them out.
Fold, trace, and cut out archways to make the sides of the heart. Photo by Mark Weinberg
  • Using the ruler, measure the folded side of each heart half. Mark two points that divide it into thirds, and lightly draw straight lines from those points about two-thirds up the archway. Cut along those two lines to create three little legs on the bottom of the archways. You’ll weave the basket together with these strips.
Two archways with three little legs each—the sides of your heart. Photo by Mark Weinberg
  • Unfold the halves and refold so the pencil marks are on the inside (or make yourself a template, once you get the perfect heart shape, to make it easy). Holding one heart half in your hand, weave the other through it one strip at a time. Go through the strips, not over and under, so your basket can hold things (cookies, candies, tomtes and nisser, etc.).

Watch the video tutorial above to get the hang of weaving them together. You'll get the hang of it!

Photo by Mark Weinberg

Are there any ornaments you make every Christmas season? Tell us in the comments.

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Amy Pullen
    Amy Pullen
  • Emma Nelson
    Emma Nelson
  • Magdalena R
    Magdalena R
  • Felice
  • ktr
Taylor Rondestvedt

Written by: Taylor Rondestvedt

Is never without a loaf of rye bread and currently stocks 5 different butters in her kitchen.


Amy P. December 22, 2016
I made these in elementary school - my best friend split her time between Denmark and Canada so she taught our class how to make them :) Thanks for the notalgia - I'm going to make one with my 5yo tomorrow!
Emma N. December 18, 2016
I absolutely love Julehjerter! Living in Southeast Texas, few people really connect to their heritage. My family was always the "weird" one wishing people God Jul and whipping out all sorts of Norwegian treats. These ornaments are definitely my favorite<3
Magdalena R. December 18, 2016
We grew up cutting out snowflakes (and still do!). My mum always loved the mathematical aspects of this craft, so our were many-folded and variously-cut.
For these julehjerter, which I'd never made before, this diagram was helpful :
Felice December 15, 2016
So fun! We did ours in green and white and they came out great.
ktr December 14, 2016
I'd forgotten about making these! We used to make these as kids. I can't wait to make them with mine this year now!