Want to give a handmade gift but you’re crunched
for time? Why not try string art? The supplies are simple,
the designs unending, and chances are, you can complete one in less than an hour.
The basic supplies you’ll need for just about any string art project are: wood, a template,
tape, scissors, pliers, a hammer, nails, and your choice of string.
This first project is a silhouette design, which means we’ll outline and fill in a shape
with crisscrossing string. Once you have your template cut out, stick
it to your wood with tape so that it doesn’t shift as you hammer in the nails.
When choosing nails, be sure they have heads on them like this that will keep the string
from slipping off later. Put your nails right along the edge of the
template, making sure they’re spaced evenly. The more curves your design has, the closer
together you’ll want to place your nails, in order to get a smooth outline.
The nails should also be at an equal height. This not only looks good, but it makes stringing
your design easier. Nail length is up to you, just make sure there
is enough nail showing to accommodate your string! Be careful when hammering so your
nail won’t punch through the wood! You might find that a pair of needle nose
pliers are ideal for holding nails in place as you hammer in tight spaces—and to protect
your fingers! Alright, you’re set to remove your template
and begin stringing. Tie your string to whichever nail you want,
leaving a tail that will blend in with the rest of your design as you go.
You’ll start with the outline of your shape, looping the string all the way around each
nail. Keep the string’s tension tight and even, pushing it down as you go to make room
for more string later on. For a smooth outline, go clockwise around
your outline, wrapping the string clockwise around every nail.
If you alternate directions, on the other hand, you’ll get a wavy look. Just choose
the one you like best! With the outline done, you can go right
into filling your design. Stretch your string from nail to nail, crisscrossing it like we’re
doing here. Feel free to use each nail multiple times
as you fill in the shape, making the filling as sparse or dense as you’d like.
Finish up by tying the end of the string to one of the nails, then tuck the tail into
the design to hide it, and you’re done! Next up is the negative space design, which
means filling in the area around your shape, instead of the shape itself.
For this project, we opted to nail straight into our template instead of cutting it out
first. This option is especially helpful for more intricate designs.
You’ll want to add a border of nails all the way around the edge of your wood, too, and
outline it with string, as well. With all the nails in place, you can remove
the template, and begin outlining your design—just like we did with the silhouette method.
Now fill in the space between your shape’s outline and the border with as much string
as you want. Then finish it all off with a knot and a hidden tail and your negative space
string art is complete. The last style we’ll do today is a focal point
design, which combines two shapes and a stringing pattern that draws the eye in.
Because this method is reliant on evenly stringing the filled area, don’t begin at just any nail.
You’ll want start on an edge that allows you to work smoothly all the way around to the
other side. Simply string back and forth from the outline
of your focal point to the outer border in straight, even lines.
Our cactus has fewer nails than the outer circle, which means I’ll need to double- or
triple-up on some of these nails, while only wrapping around the outside nails once. This
will keep the pattern nice and even, effectively drawing attention to the focal shape.
When you get to the other side, tie off your string, and that’s it!
So the next time you’re searching for the perfect DIY gift, try a little string art!