Introduction: RAINBOW - Nail & Thread Art

Nail and thread art - not your everyday art, right? I stumbled upon this idea myself as a child at an art gallery. I returned home and was amazed on the intricacy and complexity of this art. I brought a wooden plank, nails and threads and practiced several times until I mastered this art. After many long years, I finally get to make some nail and thread art exclusively for this RAINBOW contest along the theme.

This is a wonderful art that makes for a great wall-piece decorative. Nail and thread art, as you will find out in this instructable, needs a lot of precision, patience and accuracy. But if you stick with it, I promise you that the time you invested will be worth it!

The concept for nail and thread art is simple. In here, I will teach you

1. How to make a thread pattern on paper

2. How to make a nail pattern on wood

3. How to design and run the threads on the nail pattern on board


1. 2 ft X 2 ft Wooden board

2. Sand paper

3. Paint (exterior wall paint) - Black color

4. Paintbrush

5. Pencil

6. Copper nails

7. Hammer

8. RAINBOW color silk threads (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, and Violet)

9. A pair of scissors

10. Glue

Step 1: Get the Wooden Board Ready

In this the first step is to buy or have a 2 ft X 2 ft wooden board (image 1). Make sure the edges are not sharp. Take a 120 grit sandpaper (see image 2) and sand the entire board neatly. This makes the board smooth and gives a good finish before we start the actual work.

Step 2: Paint the Board

This is a basic step and does not need any extra skills. If you wish you may leave the background as it is without any paint. However, I wanted to make sure to enhance the RAINBOW colors by adding a black background to contrast with the bright rainbow colors (see image 2). After applying my first coat, I kept the board for drying for 4 - 5 hours to make sure the paint was completely dry. After that came my second coat of paint, which I also let dry for 4 - 5 hours.

Step 3: Create the Pattern on Paper

This is an important step and plays a vital role in determining what is the final design you would like to see on the board. Being a designer myself, I try many options on paper before I finalize a pattern. I like to have various options before I take a final call on what could be the best design and colors. Refer image 1 - Points 1 - 22 and A - U on paper is where you would have the copper nails. Here I will teach you how to create a pattern on paper by giving an example of just one leaf. You could expand this to multiple leaves. Now, if you start the thread at point 7 and run it along point 22, then bring it back to point 8 and run it through point A. Next bring the thread from point 9 through B and so on the next on the 1,2,3 series and the next along the A, B, C series will create a pattern as shown. (refer image 2)

Step 4: Nail the Board

This is the most important step in this entire project. I drew this pattern on the board. The complete design rests on this step and so it is important to spend a good amount of time carrying out this step. Nailing needs a lot of precision, patience and accuracy on the pattern drawn on the board. Each and every nail has to be hammered to keep it erect, aligned to the pattern line, and most importantly, keep in mind the height of the nails. If any of the nails is higher or lower than the rest, the thread is likely to slip off and make the pattern look very ugly or ruin everything all together. I took extra precaution to make sure all the nails are in a straight line, firm and with the right height across the entire pattern. The other important factor is also to maintain a standard distance between the nails. By having a constant height that the nails are hammered into, and by having a constant distance between the nails, you can achieve the best results possible. AGAIN, DON'T SLACK OFF ON THIS STEP.

Step 5: RAINBOW Threads

As this artwork was designed and prepared for the RAINBOW contest, I choose the the colors of the rainbow (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, and Violet) as shown in image 1. Using the technique as explained in step 3, I run all the threads across the board covering each section as shown. When I'm at the end of a section, I cut the threads and glue them to the bottom of the board.

Step 6: Your Artwork Is Ready

When you have spun your threads through all the nails, congratulations! Finally with all the hard-work and a new technique learnt today, your artwork is ready!

Feel free to reach out to me if you wish to learn more on this 'Nail & Thread' artwork in any other pattern or form. Thank you for visiting my RAINBOW contest entry!

Colors of the Rainbow Contest

Participated in the
Colors of the Rainbow Contest