Posted on 9 Comments

String Art Project: Kids Names

String Art Child Name

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


Posted on Leave a comment

Camping Birthday Party

Recently we celebrated my sons 2nd, 2nd birthday. Meaning his wonderful relatives in Durham had already had his and his cousin a joint 2nd birthday party. Of course I have next to no pictures of the first or second party since I get so caught up in the moment I forget to take pictures of the decorations. Suffice to say that both events were lovely! Since I had mentioned my idea to throw McClain a camping themed birthday party I thought I would share the very few pictures I had the presence of mind to take.

I made a simple “Happy Birthday” banner by enlarging the Pinewood font and cutting out the letters on my Silhouette craft machine. For a rustic camping look I clamped them to some hemp twine and strung them between branches I anchored in buckets on either side of the buffet table. While the color is washed out in the photo I used blue, red, and green embroidery floss to make friendship bracelet tassels.

We moved all the furniture to the edges of the room to open up play space for the kiddos and places a tepee in the corner near the fireplace. My mother let me borrow a number of plaid and striped wool camping blankets to use on the floor and as throws. Here she is enjoying one with McClain in the tepee.

Chocolate and vanilla cupcakes were topped with moss (green sugar in two shades) and woodland characters. I have to say I used my Silhouette again to find these cute little animals and cut them out. However, there are plenty of cartoon forest creatures available as free clipart you could use. Just print them out and mirror the other side. Then match the two sides and glue to a toothpick.

Here is a detail of the cupcake toppers. I also set (high above the children) candles, with various birds and moss. While not shown, I used mess-kits to serve many of the snacks and lanterns as decorations. The menu kept with the theme by serving campfire chili, cheese log, and smores icecream sandwiches.

McClain’s favorite part besides the obvious attention and presents was a toss up between the tepee and the cupcakes. Though for pure family use I’m going to have to go with the tepee. We kept it up for a week and everyone, including the felines, enjoyed their time sitting in it.