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String Art Tips and Tricks

DIY String Art Projects are fun and easy to make! Here are some String Art Tips and Tricks to get you started. Supplies, patterns and more.

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 for a craft night to learn about and make our very own string art projects. Crafters unite! 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)!

Valentines Day Mantel

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 Valentine’s Day mantel this year. And it looks love-ly with my other decorations like this Valentine’s 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.

Simple String Art Tutorial:

Tools for String Art projects:

  • Type of Nails to Use: 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. You can find these in hardware stores, and the craft store.
  • Type of String to Use: I use crochet thread (classic size 10), and I buy big rolls of them, they’re about $5 at Michaels. You can also use embroidery floss. Again, choose any colour you like. TIP! And buy more string than you think you might need…there’s nothing worse than running out half way through your project. I don’t recommend using yarn, it’s too soft and fluffy.
  • 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.
  • Wooden 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:

  • About Fonts: 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
  • Using Images: Images like hearts, anchors and stars are great starter projects. Geometric patterns and the outline of a silhouette is a great option too. Just google ‘string art patterns’ and tonnes of ideas will come up, including many free patterns you can download and print. If you’re just starting out, simple shapes work best.
  • 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 figuring out the size of your project then getting a piece of wood in the size you want, then having to stain it!
String Art

How to Make String Art:

Tips and Tricks for making your string art projects:

  • Pattern: If possible, have 2 sheets of your pattern ready: one paper template 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 along the perimeter of the shape you chose (see picture #2 in the above image).
  • Spacing between nails: I have found the ideal spacing between the nails is about 1 cm (or a little less than 1/2 inch).
  • 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.
  • Nail Depth: 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 the first 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. 🙂

PIN IT to make later!

Have an inspired day!

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51 Comments

  1. 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?

  2. 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.

  3. Hello. Love your page and explanations. My husband is starting back into his string art with a kit, but that doesn’t matter. My question is, what do you do when/if you break your string? He tells me it’s supposed to be continuous, but that would mean removing all of it. I hope you have a better solution. Thank you.

    1. Hi Maria! This is always a hard part of string art, but when it does happen, if I can I will knot the broken string to a nail, then start a new thread from that nail as well. The tough part is trying to hide the knots. But sometimes it just can’t be avoided, especially if you’re too far into the art piece. Good luck!

  4. I do a lot of string art, all kinds. I pre drill my patterns before I start to nail them, the pattern comes off much easier. When I first heard about pre drilling my patterns, I thought it would-be a lot of extra work, but it is not .You can take the pattern off after you drill them or leave them on before you nail them.