Introduction: How to Make Professional Looking String Art

In this project you will be shown how to make an amazing, professional looking string art of any image. You can be of any art skill level and still have it turn out great. It’s a cheap way to make an amazing piece of art for your wall, or a great present for your family or friends. You and your guests will be impressed, especially when they find out you made something of such great quality for a low price.


Plank of wood

Wood stain

Old cloth or T-shirt


1 inch nails






Hanging materials

Step 1: Staining the Wood

Once you’ve picked out a piece of wood and you have it to the size you need it, you can start staining it. You won’t need that much stain. A little bit goes a long way, it’s not like paint. So you could probably get away with buying the smallest size of stain they sell unless you’re doing a really big piece. You will want to put on some sort of rubber gloves, because when you get stain on your skin it will stay there for a week or two.

Bundle up a rag or a T-shirt like as shown in the picture above. Dip the end of it into the stain and start smearing it onto the wood along the grain of the wood. You don’t want to go a different way from the groove or it could add a strange pattern. Do this to one whole side and let it dry. Then add a second layer the same way you did the first. You could even add a third layer if you wanted. When you add a second layer, it doesn’t necessarily make it darker, but kind of adds a depth effect and makes it look richer.

When your done with the first side, flip it over and do the other side. I suggest doing both because later on you can choose which side is your favorite. Don’t forget to get the sides of the wood too just following the grain.

Step 2: Making the Plan

The image I am doing is of the grand Teton mountains in Wyoming, my favorite vacation place. I started by finding an image of them then I simply drew up a simple plan that looked good. My design will go onto my wood that is 1 x 3 feet. Not all plans will have lines and shapes but I’m doing this one so you can see how to do both.

Once you’ve found the plan you're doing, print or draw it onto a piece of paper. If your design is bigger than one piece of paper, like mine, then just tape multiple pieces together. Next cut it out with about 1.5 - 2 inches extra room to spare. Pick what side you think looks best and lay it over that.

Step 3: The Nails

For the nails you will want to use 1 inch nails with big enough heads to keep the string from sliding off. I like to nail them just under a half inch in. So still quite a bit is sticking out. Start by nailing a 1 inch nail into the very edge of your design, and nail another in on the opposite end and make sure the paper is flat and not warped to keep from any possible image distortion. If you are doing any lines pick one side and start to put nails in it. I put about half an inch between mine, but it’s up to you and how much detail you want. Nail them in all around your design and if you ever need to nail a nail into a tight spot that your fingers can’t reach, just use some pliers.

Once all the nails are in, slowly start and try to rip the paper up. If you do it slowly enough you should be able to get it all up in two or three pieces. If you do it too fast you might end up tearing it into a ton of tiny pieces which could make a mess. Once all the paper is torn up, there might be a little fibers of paper sticking out from under the nails because the nails pushed the paper into the wood. In this case just grab some tweezers and carefully pull the little papers up.

Step 4: Putting on the String

If you were doing a line start by tying string on to the end nail. I would suggest triple nodding it because you don’t want it to slip in untie then all of your work being undone. Next wrap the string around to the next nail and back a couple of times. Make sure to go around the edges and make an X shape. Look at the images above. Then repeat this process through the entire line.

If you ever come to a fork you can always cut the string and start on a new one. When cutting the string, make sure to give yourself plenty of room and pick a nail and triple knot around that. During this whole process you should be keeping this string nice and tight to keep from any unwrapping. Once it’s securely tied on there you can cut off the excess string.

When you were doing a shape that you are filling in, pick a nail and tie the string around that. Start by going around the edge then go randomly from nail to nail slowly filling it in. If you are doing organic shapes like I am, then you can go randomly from nail to nail. But if you are doing a geometric shape, you might want to consider following some sort of pattern to make it have a different look, but of course you can still do the random method. When you are done filling in the shape be sure to give yourself plenty of extra room when your cutting the string? And like I said before, triple knot it to keep it from undoing.

How much you fill the shapes in and how dense you make them is totally up to you. It really depends on what you’re looking for. On this one I am happening to fill it in pretty dense because I like the looks.

Step 5: Hanging It Up

Buy some hanging materials from the store. I bought two because my piece of wood is kind of big and I want to keep it level. Make sure whatever nails you buy, that will go into the wood part, aren’t too long, you don’t want them to end up coming through the other end. You could also of course use a staple gun instead of nails. Then put different nails into the wall. If you have a really big piece you might want to make sure you’re going into a stud but if your piece is not too heavy, like mine you can get away with the nails just going through the drywall.

Step 6: Finished

There you go, your string art is done. If you followed the steps correctly, it should look really great and professional. It should be a great addition to your house.

Rope & String Speed Challenge

Participated in the
Rope & String Speed Challenge