Here lately, I’ve been doing this thing on Fridays that I call “a craft + a craft”, where I do a craft while drinking a craft beer. As evidenced here: a cuff bracelet + a Dogfishhead 60 Minute IPA.
It’s a nice little way to unwind from the work week. Recently it inspired a friend of mine to post a craft + a craft of her own: string art and a Goose Island Bourbon County stout. Which in turn inspired me to do some string art of my own. Ah the circle of life. Or something like that.
Anyway if you’re on pinterest you’ve seen, like, a fazillon string art pins. I feel like maybe its a diy blogger
hazing technique right of passage to make one of these bad boys. So here’s the story of the first (and likely last) time I made string art.
- scrap pine wood
- wood stain (I used Varathane American Walnut)
- cloth to apply stain (old, clean socks work wonders)
- paint (I used latex, but acrylic would work too)
- sponge craft paint brush
- like, three 2 oz boxes of wire nails (I used size 1 x 17 which refers to the length in inches x gauge)
- embroidery floss
- Alene’s fabric fusion glue
Oh, I know I say this a lot, but one thing you really need for this project is patience. I am super happy with my string art, but it took several days to finish. I really didn’t consider how long it would take to hammer 321 (yeah, that many) nails into a board, close together, in a specific design. It’s tedious work and can be really tiring on the eyes. And I happened to make a grand total of seven tiny-huge mistakes while making this dern thing.
That being said, if you wanna know how it’s done, read on friend.
First, I took a scrap piece of wood I had and stained it. Incorrectly (mistake number one). You know how the can says shake well? Do that. Or you’ll end up with this.
I tightend the lid back on the stain and shook the heck out of it. Then opened her back up and stained the board correctly.
If you’ve never stained wood before, trust me, it’s easy. Make sure you read and follow all instructions (including the ones for safety) but the gist of it is that you liberally apply stain to your wood, let it sit for a few minutes to penetrate and then wipe off the excess.
The next thing I did was to paint the sides so they didn’t look sloppy with stain.
I also painted the back. I know no one is going to see it, but if it were left unfinished, I would know and it would undoubtedly drive me nuts.
I used latex paint leftover from my stripey art (Valspar Delightful Moon if you’re curious) and did it standing in my living room (mistake number two). When it dropped onto my couch and got wet paint on two of the cushions, naturally I started spewing four letter words and skittering around my kitchen in a panic. The fella hooked me up with a wet rag and I think we got all the paint up. The fella is pretty cool under pressure.
A couple of days later, the paint was dried and I was emotionally prepared to come back to this project – or so I thought. I used regular computer paper as my template and a yard stick as a guide to be sure everything was level.
I chose the phrase “BE BOLD” because evidently, I like my wall art to be bossy…
I taped the template to the board and got to work with my nails. I worked from each letter’s corners inward so I could be sure everything was spaced evenly. Did that even make sense? Here, look at this picture.
I did that for like an hour plus. Until I got to this point and ran out of nails. Always make sure you have enough nails (mistake number three). It looked like I had so mannnny when they were in the box, y’all.
I went to the hardware store to get more, without bringing one of them with me to compare (mistake number four). I grabbed a few boxes of 1 x 17 wire brads and made my way home. But I didn’t need wire brads. I needed wire nails. And the difference between the brads and the nails is that the head of the brad is much smaller than that of the nail, meaning what I bought didn’t match what I had already used. More four letter words.
Does it get easier? I wish the answer were yes. Once the brads had been exchanged for nails I kept hammering away. I hammered in the mornin’. I hammered in the evenin’. All over thi… sorry I’m getting off track and realize that my Mom is probably the only person reading this who will appreciate those last few sentences.
After all the words were nailed in I carefully ripped my paper template away from the nails.
There were still a few scraps stuck to the nails, but they came up easily with tweezers.
It was at this point that I realized that I hadn’t yet attached my saw-tooth hanging brackets to the back (yes, mistake number five). So I clenched my teeth, flipped the board over in my lap and hammered in the brackets while the words BE BOLD dug into my thighs.
I used two brackets, one for each corner, since I noticed way too late (mistake number six) that my board was slightly bowed in the center.
I flipped it back over and got started on the border nails. I used washi tape as a guide to make sure my line was straight. I again used the technique of starting in the corners and moving to the center.
Then the labor was over!!! Lies. But this last part goes fast, I promise.
I used five different colors of embroidery floss and decided to go in rainbow order. I tried to keep a sunburst pattern going the whole time and each time I finished with a color, I tied the string off and then dabbed fabric fusion glue on it to make it extra secure.
Oh and the seventh and final mistake? I missed a spot and had to tie an extra bit of orange on.
All in all, I LOVE my string art. It looks super cute. But will I be trying it again any time soon? Hell no, that’s what Etsy is for.
Did I convince you never to make your own string art? Or maybe you’re ready to take it on and prove me useless in this avenue of crafting? Do tell…