Introduction: String Art Valentine Cards--and Other Holidays
I love making these cards because they are so simple but they look amazing.
In my geometry class we explored the optical illusion created by using straight lines that look like they curve. That led to the original designs I made into these cards--the heart and the Christmas tree. Some of my students were brave enough to try using string and thread instead of just drawing them with a pencil and a ruler. The art class made their 'string art' pictures by drawing their outlines with nails and wrapping thread around them. This version is smaller, faster, and requires very little in the way of special equipment.
Step 1: Materials
- copy paper
- straight pin or push pin--for pricking holes
- iironing board, bulletin board, or some semi-soft surface to can pin into
- thread--your choice of color(s) and thickness
- glue stick
- paper trimmer
I have made these with several different designs--for different holidays. I have even made a few new designs upon request. The ghost and the cat were both student requests. Each page has the pattern for several of the same designs--you can cut them apart before or after you have stitched them. I use a paper trimmer so that my cuts are straight--if you are less fussy, scissors will do.
Step 2: The Prep Work
Print the design of your choice onto card stock. I have used a number of different printers over the years--both at home and at school. I have never had any problems with card stock in a printer--I do not even normally remember to tell the printer that I have specialty paper--I just leave it set to the default settings.
Pricking the holes before you start makes the stitching easier and there is less chance of the paper wrinkling. If you are going to have children working on this project, depending on their ages, you may want to do this step for them.
Lay the page on an ironing board or a bulletin board (when I am at school) and push a pin through at every dot. I found a small hard foam board that was intended to be a bulletin board for a school locker. Nice and portable.
I recommend a pin with a very comfortable rounded end--otherwise after a few hundred holes, your finger will start to hurt. They make a special tool for this--and I actually have one somewhere--but I can always find my straight pins.
If you want to sew on a dark color paper, you can print on a light color where the printing will show up. Then stack the dark paper under the printed one and prick the holes through both sheets. You have to make sure that the pages do not shift while you work. I have never tried to prick more than 2 sheets at the same time.
Step 3: Stitching
Thread your needle with whatever color you intend to use--if you are using embroidery floss, I recommend only using 2 or 3 strands. Crochet cotton works well--I usually use size 20 or 30. I have used other kinds of string or thread--whatever is handy is a good.
If you are trying this for the first time or you are working with children, I recommend no more that about 18 inches long. As you get more proficient (learn how to avoid tangles) you can use a thread that is as long as you like.
Attach the end of your string to the back of the card with a small piece of tape--a knot might work its way through the paper and will leave a bump under the paper on the finished card.
Pull the needle up through one of the pre-punched holes and carefully pull the thread snug. If you pull too hard, the end will come through and you have to start over. Be careful not to tear the paper. Push the needle down from the top side to finish your first stitch.
The stitching order I have included will minimize the amount of thread on the back of the card which reduces waste as well as bulk on the back. The stitching order is only offered in order to increase your likely hood of success with your very first attempt. There are so many different ways to stitch them that you never have to make the same one twice.
If your string runs short, bring the thread to the back of the card, tape it down, and trim off any excess thread. Attach a new thread (with tape) and continue.
Switch colors if and when it is appropriate for your design.
Finish each thread on the back of the card with a piece of tape.
You can create a very different design by getting creative with the order you connect the dots. In the pictures above, I tried to demonstrated several different ways to use a single printed design.
Step 4: Finishing the Card
When all stitching is finished, trim the paper. I usually leave the rectangular shape but you can shape it any way you like. Then you will be ready to assemble the final greeting card.
Fold a sheet of copy paper in half and then in half again--this is known as a quarter fold. I was able to find quarter fold envelopes at the Office Depot near my house. I assume that most office supply stores carry them.
Use glue stick or double sided tape to attached the stitched piece of card stock to the front of the card. If you use liquid white glue, it can cause the paper to get that rippled effect which I like to avoid. If liquid glue is all you have, use it very sparingly.
I can usually finish a dozen in an evening so this is a quick project.
You can make them as party invites--pre-print party information on the page before you fold it. In order for the printing to show up inside the card, it should be printed on the bottom right quarter of the sheet of paper.
You can make a dozen, wrap them with a pretty ribbon, and give them as a gift of stationary.
I have used the hearts as thank you cards and as get well cards.