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Why My Process for Making String Art Is Better

My first string art - a Golden Retriever

Recently I was asked how I got started making string art. Christmas of 2017, my daughters' classes were having a secret Santa gift exchange. One of my girls received a completed string art of a black cat - and she loved it! Her sister loved it too, and wanted to make one of a dog. Being the crafty sort, I researched how to make string art and found two different processes.

1) How I Don't Make String Art

The first and most common method is to print your image on a piece of paper. Mark on it where you want to place nails. Then once your boards are ready (cut, sanded, stained), tape the template onto the board. Using your hammer pound nails around the edges of the template. Once all your nails are in, pull the paper out from underneath being careful to get all the little bits and pieces that get stuck under the nails.

2) How I Make String Art

My method saves time and paper and is easier for the maker. First, I print my image on paper. Then I mark around the outline where I want my nails to go - about every 1/4" and in every corner or significant location. (Sometimes I'll use a hand-held hole puncher to punch a small hole in the paper where my marks are, but it's not really necessary - the drill press goes through the paper like butter.) Then I get my boards ready - cut, sand, stain, sand again. I tape my paper template onto the first board with blue painters' tape using a ruler to make sure it's spaced evenly.

Prepped boards ready for the drill press

Then I take the board to the drill press. I use a 1/16" drill bit that I set up to penetrate the board only about 1/8". Just enough to make a starter hole but not enough to go through the board. I use the drill press to put a hole in the locations I marked on my paper template.

Drill Press

Turn off the drill press, remove the template and the board is ready for a final, light sanding. Here's the best bit for me: I can reuse the paper template as many times as I want. Just tape it to a new board and drill holes in the same locations. It's so easy. Here are the best bits for the maker: (1) No paper template to fuss with and pick out from under the nails, and (2) I've made starter holes for the nails so it takes just a few taps with a hammer and the nails go right in.

Tapping in the nails and stringing the letters

I save my paper templates in a file so whenever I get a new order, I just pull the correct one out and I'm ready to go.

If you haven't tried string art yet, it's very therapeutic. First you hammer a bunch of nails into wood which gets out your frustration. Then you use thread to string the piece going around all the nails in a pattern of your own choosing and it's very meditative. In the end, you have a beautiful piece of home decor to display in your home.

If you have any questions about my technique, about ordering a piece of string art or about hosting an in-home string art party, please contact me. I'd love to help you!

All my best,

Becky :)


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