I love string art. I love that it looks modern but there are endless ways to customize it, and it’s easier than it looks. Today I’ll show you how to make string art, specifically this DIY arrow art inspired by one of my tattoos! This project came about because someone recently asked me if I would make a YouTube video of this elephant string art that I made for Jonah’s nursery. I didn’t want to make the exact same thing, but I thought I could share my technique but make a new design, and share it in blog post form as well as YouTube video form. There are several techniques you can use (if you check out the elephant string art you’ll see I used a projector for that one), but I’ll share how I made this specific project. So here you go!
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- Wooden Canvas (You can buy one pre-made at the craft store, but I used a portion of a project panel I had on hand. You could also laminate your own using 1x lumber.)
- Circular Saw (If you are cutting your own wood as opposed to using a pre-made canvas)
- 1×2 Board (I beveled the ends at a 45 degree angle, not parallel. Cut into 2 pieces at 17″ long at longest points and 2 pieces cut to 21 1/4″ at longest points)
- Miter Saw
- Measuring Tape
- Wood Filler (Optional)
- Wood Glue
- Brad Nailer
- Black Acrylic Craft Paint
- Small Paintbrush
- Varathane Special Walnut Stain
- Cotton Rag
- 3/4″ Brass Escutcheon Pins
- Black Embroidery Floss or Yarn
- Arrow Template (You can download a free printable version of the one I designed here.)
HOW TO MAKE STRING ART
STEP 1: CUT YOUR WOOD
First, I cut my project panel to my desired size. I opted to cut it to 15.5″ X 21″ (I just eyeballed it and chose a size that looked right to me), but you can use whatever size wooden canvas you’d like.
Next, I cut my 1×2 pieces which I will be using for the frame. I beveled the ends at 45 degrees (not parallel) so that I could have a frame with mitered corners. I cut 2 pieces at 17″ long (at the longest points) and 2 at 21 1/4″ long (at longest points).
STEP 2: PATCH & SAND
I sanded everything smooth, especially the rough edges.
Next, I used a little bit of wood filler to patch where I had some tear out on my 1×2 pieces. I’ll be painting over it later so I just want it to look smooth.
After the wood filler had dried, I sanded it smooth with a sanding sponge.
STEP 3: PAINT AND STAIN
Next, I painted the frame pieces with black acrylic craft paint.
I stained the wooden canvas with Varathane Special Walnut Stain.
STEP 4: ASSEMBLE FRAME
After the paint and stain had dried, I attached the frame pieces to the wooden canvas using wood glue and my brad nailer.
STEP 5: TRACE TEMPLATE
Now it was time to create the string art. I printed this arrow template (you can download a printable version here), and placed it in the center of my wood.
This design was actually inspired by one of my tattoos! A bundle of arrows is a symbol of strength, and to me they also symbolize each of my 3 boys.
Next, I measured just to make sure my template was centered.
I traced the outline of the arrows with my pencil, pressing hard enough that it would make a slight indentation in the wood underneath it.
STEP 6: HAMMER NAILS
Using the pencil indentation as my guide, I hammered my brass eschutcheon pins around the perimeter of the arrow shapes, spacing them as equally as I could (about 1/4″ – 1/2″ apart).
STEP 7: CREATE STRING ART
First, I tied my black embroidery floss to one of the brass pins (it doesn’t matter which one).
Then I just started randomly stringing it back and forth, being careful to avoid where I wanted to keep negative space. I did this until it looked as dense as I wanted it, and I made sure to string it around the perimeter of the arrows too to create a more defined outline. Then, I tied the end around one of the pins and snipped the excess off.
You can use velcro picture hanging strips for this or you can attach picture hanging hardware on the back.
Check out the video tutorial on my YouTube channel here:
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