String art, a summer camp staple in the ‘70s, is coming back in a big, big way as young urbanites and creative types yearn to decorate their own spaces with unique creative touches. DIY String Art takes the beginner approach, reintroducing fun, dimensional and even therapeutic craft by teaching the basics of choosing and preparing suitable surfaces.
The crafter will learn about various surfaces and how to prep them, different nail types and stringing materials, what types of tools work best for which projects and be able to create their own nail art designs in addition to the templates included in the book.
We have a string art tutorial on stringing basics taken from the book, so you can start with this awesome craft.
Choose your string to use
I prefer to use skeins of embroidery floss since there are so many colour options; however, for larger projects I opt for crochet thread. Size 10 crochet thread is pretty similar to embroidery floss and also comes in a wide range of colours. The advantage here for larger projects is you won’t have to continuously start and stop when you run out of floss. Most embroidery floss is sold as six-strand floss since six strands are used to make this thicker thread. Don’t separate the strands; just use it as one solid piece. Most small projects take two to three skeins of floss. Embroidery floss tends to get tangled when I work with it, so I unwrap the entire pack and stretch it across a room before I start. Then I wrap it around either my left hand (since I string with my right) or a cylindrical object such as a cup or a spool. Be careful—if you have cats, they will make this step a hard one!
Secure the anchor knot
To get started, choose a nail in an easily recognisable area of your pattern, such as an edge. Tie a double knot around the nail and trim the excess string. Then comes a very important step: Take your superglue and gently, very gently, dab some onto the knot. This secures the knot to keep it from ravelling mid-project or months down the line. Be sure the glue has soaked into the knot (it will look wet). Do this with every knot you have to make as you complete your project, to keep them secure and prevent strings from coming loose. This is usually the first and last knot of each colour applied.
Time to connect the dots! First, refer to your pattern (the lines shown represent string) and “draw” the border of your shape with your string. This important step will help you see which areas should and should not be filled with string. You’ll notice on some curves that you won’t have to wrap on every nail, as the shape of the pattern will keep it in place. I’ll admit, it can get a little confusing when you are looking at a ton of nails, so keep the pattern printout nearby (or open this book to the pattern page) for reference as you work.
Fill it in
Once you’ve successfully “drawn” your shape with string, it’s time to fill it in. Zigzag your string back and forth from nail to nail, in any fashion you like. I usually do a random fill-in, dividing larger areas in half with the string until the image has filled in nicely. Each project has more specific details and tips for completing the individual patterns. If your pattern has any floating shapes that are separated from the main pattern, you may have to repeat the cut/tie/glue/string process for each shape.
Secure the ending knot
Once you are happy with your stringing, choose a nail to tie another double knot to. Trim the excess string and secure with another gentle dab of glue.
Add hanging hardware
After you have filled other shapes and colours, turn your string art over on your protected work surface and attach your picture-hanging hardware according to the package instructions. If using those tiny nails that come with a saw tooth hanger, use a thumbtack to poke two guide holes into the wood, to ease the process. I like to turn the top of the board toward me so that it’s easier to work with.
Sign and date the back of your piece, then stand back and admire your work.
DIY String Art contains 25 projects for you to create as well as skill-building tips and techniques. You can pre-order this book now and you will receive the eBook for free so you can get started creating some string art murals straight away.