String Art Gift

The Challenge: To make a homemade gift for my mother-in-law.

My Inspiration:  I have made one other “string art” project for my sister several years ago. I made her a map of Illinois with a heart around the Chicago area, which is where we are from:

Made circa 2012

I decided to make my MIL a string art present for Christmas that would feature her favorite Floridian creature- the sea turtle. I was hoping she could hang it in their house down there. She has some sea turtles in her decor and I thought she could always use one more!

What I Need:

  • A Wood Charger that I had made for Easter that I repurposed to be a perfect background (It measures  about 14″ by 12″)
  • Nails – I used 1inch Wire Nails
  • Embroidery Floss
  • Sea turtle silhouette printed on an 8.5X11 paper
  • Our last name printed in a sans serif font, large enough to be legible
  • Hammer, to hammer the nails
  • Tape, to hold down the paper onto the board

Who is Helping Me:  My handy hubby (MHH) provided consultative help

Who is NOT Helping Me: Myself. Again. I should have read other articles online that recommended pre-drilling the nail holes. I didn’t do that and I should have.

How I Did It:

  1.  I made several 14x12in wood chargers for my Easter table this year and decided to use one of them as the perfectly sized background for my string art. The blog I had followed to make the chargers is here. However, you could use just about any kind and any size wood plank you’d like for whatever string art you could imagine.
  2. I found an image of a silhouette of a sea turtle. I stretched the image in a word document to a large size and then printed it out. I also typed our last name in a sans serif font and enlarged it so it would be legible enough.
  3. I cut out the sea turtle and our last name and taped them where I wanted them onto the charger.
  4. I hammered nails along the perimeter of the image and the perimeter of the text. I tried spacing the nails evenly apart, but not too far apart. See image below to get an idea of how closely I spaced the nails. I think if I would have pre-drilled the nail holes I could have been more precise. I would highly recommend pre-drilling!IMG_8928.JPG
  5. I pulled up the paper, leaving just the nails in place. IMG_8927.JPG
  6. I tied the end of some embroidery floss around one of the nails and then proceeded to weave the floss back and forth across the image of the turtle making sure to hit every nail. The key is to be as random as possible in how you weave the string, but paying special attention to making sure the image is throughly covered by the string so the image is apparent. When I was finished, I tied a knot with the string around one of the nail heads so that everything would stay in place.
  7. I repeated step 6 with a different colored string for a layered effect.
  8. I weaved the string through the letters of our last name very densely so that the text would pop and be very legible.

Final Product:


 Would I Do It Again?: YES! And I did do it again! I made a gift for a friend. However, this time I did pre-drill the holes about halfway through the project and I was much happier with the outcome:


All in all, string art is very easy, very inexpensive and hard to screw up if you take your time. The only way you could really screw it up would be if you nailed the nails wonky or in the case of my friend’s string art, I taped a word down crookedly. It takes a bit of patience to do the weaving of the string if you use embroidery floss because it easily frays and needed to be strung with delicate care or else the image would look distorted.


One comment

  1. As the fortunate MIL that received this darling wall-hanging, I am so blessed to have you as my DIL! This took loving thought and a lot of hard work and I LOVE IT! It definitely will go on our wall down in Florida! I just wish that I had some of your tenacity and creativity! Thank you for such a precious gift!


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