String Art Signs

String Art Signs

When I was in fourth grade, I took a string art class that was offered after school. It was held in the library, I remember. We were each given a piece of cardboard and instructed to draw a geometric design on it. From there, we threaded a large, embroidery needle with some string and threaded it from one side of the design to the other. What we ended up with was a spider web design within our geometric grid.

A few weeks ago, we had our annual “Super Saturday” craft day at church. For a few weeks leading up to Super Saturday, crafts are put out on display so that we can view what projects we’d like to sign up to make. As soon as I saw the string art crafts, it brought me back to my elementary school days. Although, I must say that string art has come a long way. Rather than cardboard paper, this craft was done on a piece of wood. Rather than stringing through holes, this is strung around nails. There were two designs that we could choose to work on: A “boo” sign for Halloween, and a “Ho Ho Ho” sign for Christmas. Of course, I was drawn to both and signed up to make one of each.

As it turns out, my son had worked on a string art craft the week before at his cub scout meeting. Being that October is my birthday month, this little sweetheart of mine decided that he would make a gift out of it. He chose a heart, so I say that he gave me his heart for my birthday. Isn’t it too cute?

So, if a ten-year-old boy can do this, so can you! You don’t have to be super skilled or crafty to make this. It’s simple enough that even a child can do it! In fact, this can be used as a fun gift idea for the kids to make for friends or relatives this year. If your kids are anything like mine, they’ll jump at any chance to use a hammer and nails! At any rate, I am going to walk you through a simple tutorial on how to make your own string art.

First thing you will need are supplies. You can pick them up at any craft or hardware store, but for convenience purposes I am also including links at the bottom of this post of where you can buy these things hassle-free from Amazon. If you can buy it through a click of a mouse in minutes, why hassle yourself with a trip to the craft store? If you’re like me, it’ll save you a lot of money to shop from home, since I get easily distracted at the craft store. Ha ha.

Supplies:

  • Wood board
  • 1 1/2″ galvanized nails
  • Hammer
  • Acrylic/wood paint or wood stain
  • Pencil
  • Foam painting brush
  • String (like cross-stitching string)
  • Stencil of what you want to draw onto your board

For the wood board, you can buy wooden boards at a craft store or you can buy wood at the hardware store, but you’ll have to finish the edges yourself with a router. You will want to get your wood around 5/8″ thick so that your nails don’t go through the other side. The size of my boards are approximately 13 1/2″ by 5″, but you can do whatever size and shape you want depending on your design.

Once you have your wood figured out, make sure that it is sanded down nicely and then decide if you want to paint it or stain it. I stained my Christmas sign with a wood stain, but I painted the Boo sign black. For my demonstration, I will be showing you the Boo sign.

Once the paint is dry, you can lay your stencil down on top of your wood and trace with a pencil. We had stencils provided for us that were made with a cricut cutter. You can buy stencils at a craft store, download them from the web, or freehand it if you’re really good!

Now you are ready to get hammering. You will want to start by putting the nails on all of the corners first. This will help to make your shape precise.  It’s really up to you on how low you want the nails to be hammered in; there’s no exact science to it. I would hammer them down a good half inch at least, if not a little more. Try to get every nail hammered down to around the same height. It’s tricky to be exact, but do your best.

Once you’ve got your corners done, start filling in the lines with the nails and hammer away. This is an awesome craft if you need to let some aggression out!! Note that I put a towel underneath my board, just to help absorb some of the pressure from the hammering.

You can space your nails apart however much you want; again, it’s not an exact science. I will say this- I feel like I ended up putting the nails on my Boo sign a little too close, whereas I wish I’d done them a little closer together on my Christmas sign. You can see that some are a little closer together than others, but that’s okay. In the end, I think they both turned out fine and the string will be the focal point, so don’t stress if every nail isn’t equidistant from one another. Half an inch, maybe even 3/4″ of an inch, would be probably be a good spacing measurement.

Once your nails are done, you are ready to start stringing! I used three colors for the Boo sign: orange, green and purple. Choose your first color and tie a knot with the string at the bottom of one nail. It doesn’t matter where you start; I always started at the bottom of the letter. Now, you are going to wrap your string around the outer edges of the nails, creating an outline for your design. You can loop around every nail to make it more secure, or you can skip one nail; twisting your thread around every other nail, as shown in the picture below.

Sometimes it gets a little tricky to push the string down. If you are struggling to keep that string down, simply use your pencil to push it down to the bottom of the nail.

Continue around your entire outlined area and when you get back to the beginning, you are going to do the same thing again, only this time position your string in the middle of the nail. You will want three outlines by the time you are done: bottom, middle and top (as you can see in the green lettering).

Now you are at the fun part! This is the part where you take your string and fill in the design. There is no rhyme or reason, just hop from one nail across to the next. Go over your design multiple times, until it looks good to you. The idea with string art is to kind of fill in your design with the string, so you don’t want to leave it too bare. Make sure you are stringing inside the lines (like coloring inside the lines). For example, make sure you don’t string inside the middle of the “o” or the “b”.

When your art is filled in to your liking, make a knot in an inconspicuous place and cut off the excess string.

Voila! You are done!

You might notice that my lines aren’t exactly straight on the Christmas sign. The sample was much cuter, ha ha. It was the first one I’ve done and I obviously got a little out of the lines. But, all in all, I still think it’s cute. Perfection is overrated!!

Here’s where you can find some of your supplies:

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

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