String art has been around for a while; it was popular in the 70s, but it is enjoying a comeback as a simple and fun way to make your own artwork. This retro craft requires very few materials and is an inexpensive way to add some personality to your walls. It's an excellent project for beginners, too, because it doesn't require any special skills. It isn't difficult to achieve an impressive finished product using this technique, especially if you choose a shape that has simple outlines.
Equipment / Tools
- Piece of wood (stained or unfinished)
- Linoleum nails (how many you need depends on the size of your project; one pack was enough for this project)
- Embroidery floss
- Image for outlining
Gather Materials and Locate an Image
Before you begin, gather your materials and start sourcing an image to use as your pattern for the string art. You can either search the internet for simple shapes—like a house, for instance—or check around your home for illustrations to use as a pattern. Print out or photocopy the image and cut out its silhouette.
Look for images and patterns that have fairly simple and straightforward outlines.
Outline the Shape With Nails
Next, position the pattern on the piece of wood and use tape to secure it temporarily.
With a hammer, lightly pound linoleum nails all the way around the paper pattern. Try to space them as evenly as possible and nail them to the same depth.
To prevent your fingers from getting hit with the hammer, pinch each nail in a clothespin and hold that instead of the nail itself.
Outline the Shape With String
When the shape has been outlined completely with nails, remove the paper pattern. Using embroidery floss, outline the perimeter of the shape. Begin by tying the floss to the first nail, and leave a tail for tying off when you are finished. Make sure to use all six threads of the embroidery floss. Using fewer will cause the strings to break when you pull it taut against the nails.
Changing Directions at a Corner
When you reach a corner or need to change the direction of the string, wrap the string tightly around that nail. This will keep things tight and help maintain the integrity of the shape.
Fill in the Shape With String
Once you have outlined the shape with string, begin filling it in by crisscrossing and wrapping from nail to nail. There is no rhyme or reason to this process. Simply go from side to side; top to bottom and corner to corner, varying the lengths and order randomly. If you see that you're about to run out of string, try to end where you left a tail of string at the beginning. Knot the ends tightly and start another bundle of floss there as well. Repeat this process until the shape is filled into your liking, then tie off the end when finished. Clip the tails of thread. Now that you've finished, you can display your creation wherever you want in your home! You can also start a new string art project while you're at it.
You could use more than one color of embroidery floss to fill in the shape, or choose a variegated string.