Julehjerter ~ Danish Heart Baskets


My dear grammy Kelly (maiden name of Jorgenson) was of Danish descent.  Apparently in her household growing up, the primary language spoken was Danish.  It’s unfortunate that by the time she got around to being married and raising her own kids, the language had been long tucked away and now lost.  I imagine caring for a husband, five children and a farm did not leave a lot of time to teach the wee ones a second language.

While I’ve always been very proud of my Irish heritage, I’ve recently become quite fond of discovering more about my other roots.  So I’ve been researching Denmark and Danish traditions.

I came across these lovely ornaments today and while I’ve seen them before, I did not realize until today that they are common in Danish households around the holidays

Here is a good tutorial I found on how to make Julehjerter.



Wrapping paper or letter weight crafting paper in two colors




Elmer’s or Aleene’s Tacky glue

Select two pieces of paper in contrasting colors. Although white and red is traditional in Norway, I am using colors that will show up better in photographs.

Measure and cut a strip 3″ wide and 9″ long from each piece of paper.

Fold each strip of paper exactly in half crosswise, as shown.

Place a 3″ diameter biscuit cutter on the OPEN end of the folded papers. Use a pencil to trace the outline of the biscuit cutter onto the paper to create a half circle. (Or, you can draw the half-circle freehand.)

Normally, I would draw my lines very lightly, but for this tutorial I am drawing them dark so you can see them! Cut along the curved lines you have drawn. Again, be sure you are cutting the curve on the open end of the paper.

In the steps that follow, you will be dividing each folded piece into three 1″ strips. You’ll be cutting these strips most of the way across each piece, leaving those rounded ends un-cut. To help you gauge how far in to cut your strips, place one piece over the other, as shown. The cut lines you’ll be making in the coming steps should be 3/8″ longer than the point where these two pieces overlap. (When you’ve read the rest of the steps, this should make more sense.)

So, as we just discussed, mark three 1″ strips on each piece of paper, and draw them on the paper. See how these lines begin at the fold and end in the curved edges? Now you are ready to cut! Reminder: The curved edge is on the OPEN end and the lines are drawn from the FOLDED end.

Cut through both layers of paper along the lines you drew, beginning at the fold and cutting toward the curve.

For your first basket, you may want to number the strips as shown above. (Once you have made your first basket, you will not need to number the strips again – it just helps you with learning the process.) Lay the two folded paper pieces in front of you on the work table in the position shown above. (Don’t worry if those numbers are hard to see here – they’ll be clearer in the coming photos.)

Slip strip #1 between the top and bottom layers of strip #4.

Now, slip strip #5 between the top and bottom layers of strip #1.

When you have completed the first two weaving steps, your “heart” will look like this.

Now slip strip #1 in between the two layers of strip #6.

Congratulations! You have completed the first row! And it should look like this!

To weave the second row, begin by slipping strip #4 between the top and bottom layers of strip #2. (See how I had to slide the two halves of the heart into different positions so that I could manuver my second row of weaving in?)

Now slip strip #2 between the top and bottom layers of strip #5.

Slip strip #6 between the layers of strip #2. Your “heart” will now look like this. (And the weaving pattern begins to emerge!)

Now that you have finished weaving the second row, slide the woven strips down toward the curved ends of the heart until they can go no further. This will give you some “wiggle room,” which you’ll need in order to weave the last row. Weaving the last row can be a little “fiddly,” but just go slowly and be patient while you get the feel of it.

Slip strip #3 between the layers of strip #4. You will need to gently bend the strip in order to do this. As you can see, the first two rows of weaving are being held in place by your other hand.

Pull strip #3 through strip #4 and flatten it back out. Your heart will now look like this.

Place strip #5 between the layers of strip #3. Stay with me! You’re almost done!

Finally, slip strip #3 between the layers of strip #6. This is probably the most fiddly step, so it may feel a little awkward. Keep working with it until it falls into place.

TaaaaaaDaaaaaaa! You did it! All the strips are woven together. A couple more little steps and you are done.

Holding the curved tops of each side of the heart, gently pull them outward so that the edges of the heart become nice and even.

Now to add a handle. Cut a strip of paper about 8″ long and between 3/4″ to 1″ wide. Glue each end of this strip to the inside of the woven heart, as shown. If you are thinking of putting little treats inside, then you may want to also tape down each end of the handle on the inside of the basket with some clear tape.

Make a couple more three-strip baskets to get the process down, and then you’re ready to make a four-strip basket, like the one on the right. It is constructed exactly the same way, except that you divide those initial pieces of folded paper into four strips instead of three.

You can make hearts that are smaller or larger by using a copier to enlarge or reduce the template in this tutorial.

Try making heart baskets with patterns and different colors if you wish. Craft stores and scrapbooking outlets have so much to offer as inspiration. (Just be sure to stick to lighter weight papers.) Embellish with whatever your heart desires – from sequins to buttons, to beads….. Fill your baskets with cookies, candy, small gifts, baubles, or even dried flowers.


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