How to Make Your Own String Art
String art is a great way to add a little homemade artwork to your walls, especially if you aren’t the best artist, or if you want a little variety.
You will need:
-a template for your picture (the one I chose is a simple “connect-the-dots” type, but you can also pick a design that needs to be filled in)
-a board or chunk of plywood cut to your desired size (I used a 1x8 for this design, but I have done others with plywood, or joined multiple boards together for a planked look)
-wood stain or paint (the pictured board has one coat of Minwax Early American stain)
-crochet thread, embroidery floss or similar thick thread
-wire nails or other nails with a large head
I already had a chunk of wood sanded and stained, so my next step was preparing the template. You can print out a simple outline design or sketch out your own. My sister is a school nurse and wanted some art for her office, so I chose this design. The original wasn’t quite long enough for what I wanted, so I printed two copies and cut one in half to add on either end. Then I used a yard stick to make sure everything was straight before taping it together.
Next, I lined up and taped the design on my board, trying to make it as straight and centered as possible.
I used a marker to plan out where my nails should go. You need one anywhere the line has a change in direction. The closer the nails are together, the smoother the curves will be, but it is also harder to hammer them in straight and wrap the string when they are super close. On straight sections, I kept the nails less than an inch apart, and on the curve I varied the spacing based on the degree of curve. If it helps, you can draw straight lines between your dots to make sure everything looks okay.
Time to start the nails! First I put in a nail at each end and a few toward the middle to help prevent the template from shifting. Then I went back to one side and worked my way across.
You want all the nails sticking out the same amount. My board is about 3/4” and the nails I used are 5/8”. I left them out about 3/16”. To make it easier to keep them the same height, I made a mark at 3/16” on a small piece of cardstock. After starting a few nails, I held the cardboard piece next to each one and tapped it in until it was at the mark.
When all the nails are in, slowly pull back the paper template. You may have small pieces of paper stuck around the nails. I use a tweezers to get as many bits out as possible.
Decide where you want to start wrapping the string and tie a knot around that nail. I like to start at one of the inner nails instead of the end so the knots are less obvious.
Making sure you keep the string taut, wrap the string all the way around each nail. If you are doing a simple line design, make sure you always wrap in the same direction, starting on the same side of the nail. I wrapped the string clockwise, but it doesn’t matter which way you go as long as you are consistent.
When you get to one end, just keep on wrapping to complete the border on the other side of each nail.
Tie another knot when you get back around to your starting nail and trim the ends. I also put a little FrayCheck on the knots to make sure they don’t come undone.
Now you can add picture hanging hardware to the back or leave it as is.
I already had had the board and stain, so all I had to buy for this one is the nails and thread. I bought the nails for $1.30 and only used about half of the box, and the thread can be found at Walmart or any craft store. I paid around $2.50 and maybe used a quarter of it.
Here is another one I made last winter. I used colored twine for this to make it look a little more rustic, except for the star which was thin metallic ribbon. For designs like this, wrap the string back and forth to fill in the image. You can do multiple colors and string out words or pictures. Have fun with this!
I’d love to see pictures of what you create in the comments!
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