String Art Project: Kids Names

This string art project… Well I need to fess up.  I was the assistant! However I watched the painstaking process and tied lots of little knots.  Use this ‘how to string art’ as a guide so you can skip all the mistakes we made.  The final project was much easier than our initial attempts.

We recently moved into a new house, and have been so focused on making sure all the essentials are in that any artwork has been neglected.  Yes, I chose to be able to have a shower curtain rod and blinds over something pretty on the walls.  Where are my priorities?!  We have been working hard to blend our family structure and Adam wanted to make each of the kids a special name decoration for their rooms.  In comes lots of string! On to the project:

String Art Children’s Names

String Art Child Name

Materials Needed:

  • Base for Nails(2.5-3 ft long): You can use wood, if you really are insane and like nailing hundreds of tiny nails.  Our suggestion: Foam Insulation or Double Layered Foam Board
  • Paint: For the Base
  • Lots of tiny nails as known as Wire Nails*
  • String: Embroidery Floss* was cheap, easy, and came in tons of colors. 3-4 skeins are needed per name.
  • Print Out of Letters (2.5-3 ft long)

Step 1: All about the Base

We tried wood.  Painted lovely planks.  Then started nailing, and nailing, and hammering, and nailing some more…  And here was the final result:String Art Fail

Oh yeah, that is one letter… Just one letter! and we had four children’s names to complete.  I had the idea to use something else.  Searching the web turned up cork as an alternative.  Have you priced out that much cork?  Oh. hell. no.  Cork was not going to work.  We had mostly resigned ourselves to weeks of nailing when taking the kids to the craft store I spotted some foam board.  While it was not thick enough as is, I said “Hey!  Let’s laminate this together.” Adam look dubious, but I took the sheets home, cut out rectangles, and sprayed adhesived those beotches together.  Of course they curled up, but I remedied that by laying lots of heavy art books on top of the panels over night.  Who says I never use my art degree?

Though after doing all that we realized the giant panels of foam insulation at home improvement stores would work just as well. Doh!

Of course the finish of the panels is very plastic looking.  So we just took some paint and rolled it on.  Then dry brushed the surface a bit to give it some brush marks and texture.  Much better and looked like the original wood panels.

BONUS: The panels were so lightweight they could be hung using command strips

Step 2: Just Lay It All Out There

Yes, we had to print out the letters a bunch of times.  Basic math seemed to be beyond us (even though one of us has a math degree) and the letters were either too big or too small.  Once we had the font the right size we cut them apart so work with the panels and letter spacing a bit.

Laying out the text for string art

Step 3: Nail’er? I barely even knew her.

I know in the above fail-photo the nails were driven through the paper.  Unless you like the idea of pulling out 100’s of tiny pieces of paper DO NOT do it that way.  Simply take one nail and poke small indention around the outside of your letter.  Remove the letter and then press the nail into the foam.  Then repeat, and repeat, and repeat.  Keep pushing nails until your fingers are bloody tips.  Get smarter about it and use the hammer to lightly push them through.

Nail layout for string art
So many nails…

Step 4: String them Up

This is the fun artistic part! Weaving the string can take many forms.  We chose a random pattern, but you can carefully lay out the string to make all types geometric forms.  You can look at my craft board on Pinterest to see some other string layouts.  For fun we let the boys pick out their colors.  We may or may not have influenced the selection a bit…  The hardest part of wrapping all the string is just making it look consistent and tying the tiny knot at the end.  That was my job!

The final signs were hung over beds and on doors to give each child a nice piece of personalized artwork.

Completed string art kids names

 

9 thoughts on “String Art Project: Kids Names

  1. I love the idea of their names. Be happy you didn’t do cork. I did a string art star on plywood for an 8th grade art project. A couple hundred brass brads and a tall screw in the center gave me a point to loop around so it spiraled up. A lot of work but came out fabulous. Teacher put mine and about a dozen others in the school’s yearly art show where a local bank manager saw them and wanted a wall display for his bank. Only he wanted them more uniform (mine was stained, some were painted, some left raw wood) so he bought us cork and we had to do them again. The cork broke apart and curled. We finally glued cardboard to the backs and used upholstery tacks for nails. Each one had to be dipped in glue to keep it from pulling back out. The cork was more work than the plywood. Now it was really cool for 12 year old me to see a piece of mine on such a professional display so it was definitely worth it. And when I got it back about 3 years later the cork was dry and crumbly. I threw it out. This is a project I will keep in mind for granddaughter. Maybe covering styrofoam with fabric? SUGGESTION: Use the tracing wheel from sewing notions (the kind with little teeth) to punch holes in the outline of the letters first then you won’t have bits of paper stuck when you push in the tacks or nails and your tacks will be evenly spaced. Oh, and you don’t need to tie a knot at each nail, just wrap the string around the nail once and then on to the next. Maybe I can incorporate some beads… Thanks for this. Brought back some good memories.

    • Thank you so much for taking the time to write such a thoughtful comment. I can not imagine having that type of patience at 12!!! I barely had it as an adult. Glad to know that about the cork. I think the fabric cover would work wonderfully and the only issue I can think of for the seam marker is that the whole punches might be to close together and show if you didn’t put the nails in. Otherwise great idea to save time.

    • Thanks! I kind of think it would be fun to do some string art quotes or some large scale string art project for the dining area.

    • I think kids would have fun with this project. We did it for the boys because they are young, but older kids could really do everything from pushing the nails in to winding the thread. Just take into account your child’s patience level. Putting all the nails in takes quite a bit of time.

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