Introduction: DIY String Art - the Lion
Four years ago in 2016 we started this project. We figured out a computer algorithm, that converts the depiction of an image into consecutively lines of a long thread.
The result is String-Art as simple as it is: some nails into a wood plank, a string threaded around them and your string artwork is done.
But this one is big. And it really takes a long time to create (This one took about 40 hours of work).
In 2019 we got a lot of positive feedback from family and friends to our artworks, so we decided to make our own little Online-Shop at https://fadenpause.de.
But we also wanted to share this amazing artwork as a DIY-project. Credits for the motive goes to Kazukyakayashi at Unsplash.
- A wood plank (60 x 80 x 1,8) cm - coated or (self-) painted in white
- 500 Nails 25 x 1,4 mm
- Our blueprint for the threading process (attached as pdf in this chapter)
- The NodeList, so you know how to thread the string (attached pdf)
- A 10km Ultrafine (Tex No. 7) sewing thread
While you can find the wood plank and the nails in nearly every hardwore store, it is a little bit harder with the sewing thread. We tested a lot of different threads and we really can recommend the Amann Serafil Fine Nr. 420, but there are only very few online shops in Europe, that sells them.
Alternatively you can get the DIY Package from our Onlineshop, which includes the sewing thread and also a package of 500 steel nails in the color you like. If you need delivery outside of Germany, please let us know per mail, we can arrange that too.
The sewing thread is very (!!!) thin and can cause a lot of problems with twisting and disclosures. To get rid of this problems you will need a thread holder (trust us, you will need one).
For this you will need some additional items from the hardware store:
- A small wood plank as base (20-40) x (10-20) x (2) cm
- A wooden stick 12 cm, 2,2 cm Diameter
- An eyebolt
Step 1: Preparing the Plank
You start with the wood plank. If you have not found a white coated plank you will have to color it in white yourself and wait for the paint to dry.
Then you will need the blueprint printed on a 80 x 60 cm paper sheet. If you do not have a plotter, we recommend the next copy shop. You can also print it out on several DIN A4 sheets and try to glue them together, but you have to work very accurate, because this have an impact on the quality of the result.
Cut out the inner rectangle of the blueprint and attach it to the plank. It works best if you use a little bit of tape on the outer edges.
Now it is hammer time!
Hammer the nails in all of the 476 positions, marked on the blueprint. This can take up to 2 hours, so choose the time for doing this wisely, because it is quite "noisy".
The nails should stick in the plank as deep as possible, but should not penetrate it. It is important, that the nails sit very firmly. Having a nail flip out after 40 hours of work and destroying everything is really frustrating!
Try to hammer as accurate as possible, but dont worry. If some single nails sit slightly beside it will not do any bad.
Step 2: Building the Thread Holder
One might think: Why would I need a holder for the thread? I can just put it on the ground or somewhere else and pull the string from there. But trust me, you want one.
The thread holder will help to always pull the string in a defined angle, so that it rolls from the thread roll. Everything else is a pain in the ***. The thread is really thin, which makes it likely to get twists and disclosures into the string and the thread holder helps you to have the thread on a defined position, optimally right next to the wood plate.
You can assemble the thread holder with simple items from the hardware store, as mentioned in the Supplies-chapter.
Drill a hole in the middle of the holder plate and attach the stick with a simple wood screw. Then turn the eyebolt into a side of the plate and you are ready to go.
Step 3: Create String-Art
Now it is time to start the real work!
You will not make it in one day, so the first thing to do is to find a good place, where you can work and leave the plate for some days or weeks (dependent how frequent you work on the string-art).
Place the plate on an easel (if you have one) or a shelf, or attach it to the wall somehow. The upper line of nails should be at about the same height as your forehead. The placement that I used (seen in the pictures) was way to low - I still feel the back pain till this day...
Place the thread holder with the sewing thread and the first page of the node list (printed out or on the screen of your smartphone/tablet) next to the plate and knot the string to the bottom left nail. Then start to thread the string around the nails as described in the node list.
It doesn't matter if you thread from left to right or from right to left around the nails, do it as you like.
It can happen that the string twists and gets knotted (You can prevent this, by keeping tension on the string, but it is not that easy). In this case, just cut out the twisted part, knot the loose ends back together and keep threading.
My suggestion is to never work more than 1-2 hours straight on the string art, because it is really hard to keep up the concentration (reading the node list and threading the string accordingly) any longer.
Just take your time. You can do it on each or some afternoons or evenings of the week and work yourself from page to page of the node list -- The result is really worth it :)
Step 4: The Finishing
You've done it! Just attach the end of the string to one of the nails and your string art work is done.
Tear the blueprint paper from the nails. Maybe you will need a tweezers or something similar if some of the paper gets stuck on the nails.
You can also add a frame to your art work, just take a simple one for pictures of size 80 x 60 cm. The problem there will be the attachment, because the wood plate is much thicker than a normal poster sheet.
We took a very cheap wood frame (see pictures) and just glued it to the plate. It works pretty well.
The internet is full of online shops that sells wood frames in various shapes and colors, but you can also build one yourself or leave it without a frame.
Thank you for your time. We will add other motives to our Online-Shop and will also have a Custom-Page, where you can upload your own Image, so we can transform it into your very personal string art work.
We hope we inspired you, to build this (kind of extraordinary) String-Art too. Thanks for watching.