DIY/ Valentines Day

String Art Tips and Tricks

DIY String Art Projects are fun and easy to make!  Here are some tips and tricks to get you started!

I have a new love and it’s called string art.  Have you seen string art before?  I’ve been admiring this type of art for years but never once did I consider that I could actually make my own, because the projects just seemed so elaborate and complicated.  But when my friend Catherine organized a string art project party I decided to jump at the chance to learn how to make my own!

Make it a group project!

So on a snowy night in December a group of about 10 of us got together to learn about and make our very own string art projects.  And since this night took place before Christmas, we made reindeer heads and snowflake string art projects (here’s mine).  It was quite the night…10 gals with hammers made for quite a noisy time…but it was super fun.  And let me tell you, from that night on I was hooked!  Hooked.  I discovered that not only do I adore the look of string art, but I really, really enjoy the process of making them too, it’s quite relaxing.  Aside from all of the initial hammering of course (but admittedly hammering is quite therapeutic hahaha)!

Love-ly for Valentine’s Day!

Once I started making these string art projects, I wanted more!  And since Valentine’s Day was coming up quickly, what a better time than that to make a Valentine’s Day themed string art?  I thought this ‘love’ string art would look perfect on my Valentines Day mantel this year.  And it looks love-ly with my Valentines Light Garland.

Valentines Day String Art

pretty pretty pretty

Make your own!

After having completed a couple string art projects I thought I would share some tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way!  String  art is much easier than you might think.  It just takes some time and patience!  You can do it.

Tools for String Art projects:

  • Nails:  I use 1 inch nails, but you can use any size you like depending on how many times you wish to wrap your string. I prefer to use white nails (they are panel nails) because I like the way they look with the white string.  But again, this is just personal preference.
  • String:  I use crochet thread (classic size 10), and I buy big rolls of them, they’re about $5 at Michaels.  Again, choose any colour you like.  And buy more string than you think you might need…there’s nothing worse than running out half way through your project.
  • Wood Board Type:  You can use solid wood, plywood or particle board. The most important thing is choosing a wood that is thick enough to hold the nails securely without having the nails come through the back of the wood panel.  Make sure it it at least 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick.
  • Wood Board Size:  The size of your board depends on how big the pattern is that you choose.  For example, for this one I hand drew the pattern onto a piece of 8×10 paper, and used a 10.5 x 12.5 board.  You can stain the wood board in any colour you wish.  Just make sure to leave enough time for the board to dry before you begin your string project.
  • Hammer
  • Pattern:  See below

String Art Tips and Tricks

Tips for choosing a design/pattern:

  • If you want to make a word string art, choose a wide font like the ones below, so each letter has 2 tracks for the nails.

String Art Fonts

  • Images like hearts, anchors and stars are great starter projects.  Just google ‘string art patterns’ and tonnes of ideas will come up, including many free patterns you can download and print.
  • Once you’ve done one string art project you’ll see how easy they are and you’ll soon discover that you can make a string art project out of almost any picture.
  • Honestly the hardest part of string art projects is getting a piece of wood in the size you want then having to stain it!

String Art

Tips and Tricks for making your string art projects:

  • Spacing between nails:  I have found the ideal spacing between the nails is about 1 cm (or a little less than 1/2 inch).
  • Pattern:  If possible, have 2 sheets of your pattern ready:  one to tape onto the board, and one to use as a guide to refer to when stringing.
  • Tape your pattern onto your prepared board, and hammer the nails into each dot (see picture #2 in the above image).
  • Pliers:  Use a pair of small needle nose pliers to hold the nails while you hammer them.  You can use your fingers if it’s easier, but sometimes I find the pliers to be very helpful because you can get them into tight spaces. Hold the nail with the pliers, then start by gently tapping the nail into the wood, and once it’s into the wood board, use a bit more force to embed it.
  • Be careful not to hammer too deep. You don’t want to hammer through the board, only just into it…about half way works.
  • Remove the pattern: Once the nails are all hammered in, I remove the paper at this point because it’s very hard to remove after the thread has been strung.  This is where your second pattern to follow comes in handy.  This part can be a bit frustrating because you’ll find little pieces of paper stuck under the nails.  You can use your pliers to pull it out.
  • When starting your project tie the string onto a nail, securing it with a knot, and work out from there (see picture #3 in the above image).
  • I like to outline my piece first with string, then work towards the inside (see picture #4 in the above image).
  • To thread the string, just take your thread and make one wind around each nail as you go.
  • There are different ways to approach stringing the inside of your art piece.  You can be very methodical and string the thread in a pattern, or you can do it like me and string the thread around randomly (see picture #5 in the above image).
  • Don’t pull the string too tight as you go or your nails will start to lean in and may pop out.  Just pull the thread snug, but not hard. And keep your hammer handy in case you need to whack any wobbly nails back into place.
  • Once I have the inside filled out with string the way I want, I like to go back and outline the edges with the string again just to define it nicely.
  • Tie a knot in the string when you are finished (see picture #6 in the above image), and snip the ends then tuck them inside the string art so you can’t see them.

– – – – – – –

So what do you think?  Are you ready to try a string art project of your own?  If you’ve ever thought about making one of these, you really should try.  I think you’ll be surprised at how easy and enjoyable they are to make.  I’m making another one next weekend because I. Can’t. Stop. Stringing. 🙂


Have an inspired day!

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  • Reply
    February 1, 2016 at 10:26 AM

    So fun & beautiful! I’ve never heard of string art before. I’m excited to give it a try! Thank you for your willingness in sharing, I appreciate it!

    May I ask you a question? Would you mind sharing where the basket on your hearth was found? Thank you for your time 🙂

    • Reply
      February 3, 2016 at 8:00 PM

      Hi Debbie! I hope you try making a string art project – they’re so fun! And of course you can ask where the basket is from! I got it at Target about a year ago!

  • Reply
    December 11, 2016 at 12:30 AM


    Great read! I am about to start my first string art project! Where did you get the template for the word Love?

    • Reply
      December 13, 2016 at 12:43 PM

      Hi Ashlee! I just used a font I found that I liked (I listed a few above)…any script font would work as long as the text is wide enough for a track of nails. Have fun!

  • Reply
    Amber palms
    February 19, 2017 at 9:10 AM

    How do you do specific areas with different colors?

    • Reply
      February 27, 2017 at 3:40 PM

      Hi Amber! Sorry I missed your question! I’m not really sure how to do this, but I have done some colour areas by just starting a new string in the area I want to string. I know that some projects also use an ombre or gradual coloured thread to get a similar effect.

  • Reply
    June 4, 2017 at 6:15 PM

    How thick was the board you used?

  • Reply
    October 16, 2017 at 11:43 AM

    Just wondering how much string you use. We are doing a skeleton skull and I just got a huge spool of thread and want to know how much to cut for each person. Thanks.

    • Reply
      October 16, 2017 at 4:29 PM

      It can take quite a lot of string, depending on the size you are making…I always have a big roll on hand. Anywhere from 5 to 10 metres

  • Reply
    October 26, 2017 at 5:22 PM

    very beautiful. should give a try. what type of string is it? where did you get it? and the wooden plaque what type and where did you get it?

    • Reply
      October 29, 2017 at 9:42 AM

      Thank you Sam! I just used an embroidery thread that I found at Michaels!

  • Reply
    October 29, 2017 at 4:10 PM

    Thanks for the reply… But where did you get that board? I am trying for a particular size and i couldn’t find it. Could you suggest me where can i get that board.
    And also Whats’s the stain you have used?

    • Reply
      October 30, 2017 at 10:19 AM

      Oh sorry! I actually just cut a board down to the size that I wanted. You can probably find small boards at a hardware store that you can use!

  • Reply
    Lee Ann
    November 20, 2017 at 2:43 PM

    So happy I found this post about tips and tricks. I was wondering if there was a special pattern you had to follow
    or if it was just random. My younger daughter and I want to make a sunflower. The next step I guess is finding the perfect template. Great advice. Can’t wait to start stringing.

    • Reply
      November 20, 2017 at 6:20 PM

      I’m so glad you found this post too! Have fun with your string art projects…they’re so fun!

  • Reply
    December 1, 2017 at 11:02 AM

    What kind of wood we should be using. I heard there is some kind of wood that makes it easy to for the nails to go in. Any advise on the type of wood we should use and where we can find it ?

  • Reply
    December 3, 2017 at 11:59 PM

    I really want to make one of these but I’m not sure what type of wood to use? Is there a special type or just any sort of board from like a Home Depot of something like that? How thick should it be?

    • Reply
      December 5, 2017 at 10:52 AM

      Hi Kali! I just used a 10.5 x 12.5 wood board that I got from Home Depot. It’s just a plain wood board. They may even cut it down for you if you ask…and sometimes they have scrap boards that you can buy as well and they’re often in smaller sizes. Good luck!

  • Reply
    December 9, 2017 at 6:38 PM

    Curious if you have tips on getting your nails in evenly vertical and horizontal? My nails keep going whompus!!

    • Reply
      December 11, 2017 at 10:56 AM

      Hi Ruth! Honestly, just pinch them really tight when you’re going to hammer…this is the hardest part about string art! Good luck!

    • Reply
      December 21, 2019 at 7:21 PM

      • Use pliers to hold the nail.
      • Line it up where you want it and oriented how you want it. (Vertical or at an angle)
      • Start by gently tapping the hammer against the nail. You’ll have more control as it starts to embed and drive into the medium (likely wood).
      • Once the nail has a good hold on the wood you can add more force to set the nail where you want it.
      • Try to not drive the nail too deep such that you have to pull the nail out a bit. That makes things loose and you could dent or damage the medium.
      • The more nails you do, the more you will get a feel for it. Practice on a scrap piece first.

  • Reply
    January 28, 2018 at 6:30 AM

    Hy Jo..!can I use thick board for it..?like furniture wood….plz tell me..

    • Reply
      Jo-Anna Rooney
      January 29, 2018 at 10:17 AM

      Hi Maham! I used a board that is no more than 1 inch thick. Hope that helps!

  • Reply
    February 20, 2018 at 5:06 PM

    I want to know that which type of string we can use so my art looks good please suggest……and which kind of ply we have to use?

    • Reply
      Jo-Anna Rooney
      February 22, 2018 at 10:51 AM

      Hi Shraddha!
      Here are the details from my post above:

      String: I use crochet thread (classic size 10), and I buy big rolls of them, they’re about $5 at Michaels. Choose any colour you like.

      Wood Board: The size of your board depends on how big the pattern is that you choose. For example, I just used a 10.5 x 12.5 wood board that I got from Home Depot.


  • Reply
    Richard Czuprynski
    February 23, 2018 at 8:14 PM

    Having a hard time finding the nails which us suggest to be used?

    • Reply
      Jo-Anna Rooney
      February 26, 2018 at 5:37 PM

      Hi Richard! Any approximately 1 inch nail will work for this project…I just used panel nails because I like the look of them. You should be able to get them at any home hardware store, or something similar.

  • Reply
    March 26, 2018 at 1:20 PM

    You can use a hair comb to space nails.

  • Reply
    Susan Silverdale
    May 13, 2018 at 9:22 AM

    Hi! This is so cool and I’ve been trying to convince my mom to let my try making one, since I’m a senior and high school and would take it to decorate my college dorm room. However, my main problem is the finances. How much did the cost you? Also, you said it was difficult to get the wood. Where did you end up finding it? Thanks!

    • Reply
      Jo-Anna Rooney
      May 15, 2018 at 1:03 PM

      Hi Susan! Surprisingly this didn’t cost a lot to make at all…I think everything all together cost about $10. Sometimes you can find small scrap pieces of wood from big stores like Lowe’s or Home Depot, and they’re really cheap.

  • Reply
    Stephanie K
    July 10, 2018 at 2:05 PM

    How do you ship something like this? Can you bubble wrap and place inside a shipping bag? Asking because I made one and I want to put it on my Etsy shop but before doing so I want to be prepared and have the proper shipping materials.

  • Reply
    July 21, 2018 at 8:40 AM

    The hardest part about string art is getting the tiny pieces of paper that are left from taking off the pattern! I have no idea how to get them off and I’m afraid my project ia now ruined. 🙁

  • Reply
    December 7, 2018 at 12:15 PM

    Hi, this is great and really helpful with making my first string art. I just was curious… do you somehow cut down or dull the nails that are sticking out the back of the board? Do you even have nails sticking out the back? I am running into that problem now.

    • Reply
      Jo-Anna Rooney
      December 7, 2018 at 3:43 PM

      Hi Allyson! I don’t have nails out the back…maybe you’re pushing them in too far, or your board isn’t thick enough? You could always glue on a backing of some sort to cover the nails?

  • Reply
    December 21, 2018 at 8:01 AM

    Thanks, just finished my first string art project. It’s a mason jar, but it turns out beautiful. Not so skilled yet, but will get better with the next one.

  • Reply
    Timothy Pruden
    December 22, 2018 at 10:12 AM

    Wondering about the spacing between nails. How many cm/mm is optimal between each nail in a pattern/outline?

  • Reply
    February 25, 2019 at 8:45 PM

    I am doing this project next weekend and I bought 3 big rolls of string .i am having 8 people do one and 1 and a 1/2 foot arrows on wood boards. Is this enough string?

    • Reply
      November 17, 2019 at 2:15 PM

      When in doubt, always buy more string. You can never have too much! 🙂

  • Reply
    March 20, 2021 at 4:46 AM

    Thanks so much for the little tips. Love the site. I have been intrigued by this type of art too. I really like the geometrical 3D looking stuff. Got the wood and nails, basic idea of a pattern,came here to see what size string is typical. While I was here I thought I would mention a diy “string despenser pen”. Take the guts out of a mechanical pen, out the string through, if ya can get it into the point\tip that’s ideal. Then all your slack will be where the clicker would be. Put your string ball or roll on something that will let it move freely. Hope this made Sense and someone makes use of it.. saw the video on youtube if you need a visual.

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