How to Make Metal Barn Stars

Kaye Wagner

Barn stars are displayed on barns, garages and homes and are a tradition handed down from 18th century immigrants from Germany who traditionally painted geometric shapes in their homes. One difficulty of using tin snips to cut sheet metal is that the metal gets in the way of the handles as you cut.

Barn stars are often placed near the entryway of a barn or home.

Avoid this by cutting out the negative space rather than cutting all the way around the lines. You can purchase tin snips at any hardware or home improvement store. Buy sharp tin snips with long straight blades, as you will not need to make curves or quick turns.

  1. Draw a star onto the wrong side of the sheet metal with a marker.

  2. Put on goggles and work gloves to protect your eyes and hands from sharp shards of metal.

  3. Cut a line from the outside of the metal sheeting to one of the star’s points. Pull up on the bottom blade of the tin snips rather than down on the top. This will prevent the metal from bending when you cut it. Never completely shut the snip’s jaws because it often causes a perpendicular rip in the metal.

  4. Turn the sheet metal clockwise and cut along the line from the outside point of the star to the inside point.

  5. Turn the sheet metal counterclockwise and cut a line from the outside of the sheet metal to the next outside point of the star.

  6. Slightly turn the sheet metal clockwise to cut a line from that outside point to the inside point of the star. This will remove the sheet metal from the negative space between two star points.

  7. Repeat the process for all of the points of the star.

  8. Sand the edges of the metal star with fine metal sandpaper to smooth the edges. This is especially important if the star will be within a child’s reach.


Purchase left-handed tin snips if you are left handed.


Use care when handling metal as it is very sharp.

Check out this related video.