Introduction: String Art Wall Tiles

My wife and I decided to do little project for the nursery for the baby boy we'd been expecting.

We wanted something unique, trendy, and something that would tie in a little bit of ourselves into. The nursery style has a bit of a bohemian vibe to it so we also wanted something to tie in some natural elements so a project that involved wood and string sounded perfect. We didn't exactly have the finished project in mind so this was a bit of a fun one!


3 - 1/2" plywood pieces at 18" x 18"

1" nails

Cotton String

Craft Paint

Paint Applicator of Preference (Sponges, brushes, etc.)

Step 1: Re-Routed...

While at the local Menard's hardware store we came across some scrap pieces of sanded plywood they have for sale. They came precut at 19.5"x19.5" and once we saw them we were inspired for this project.

Because these pieces were cut from sanded plywood, there was little work to be done to prep them. All we did was use a palm router to cut keyhole hangers in the back. When using a keyhole bit in a router be sure to set your depth deep enough to leave a couple layers of plywood to hang on your nail in the wall, but obviously not deep enough to go through your plywood. Then used a 45-degree bit to trim the edges. This was purely for aesthetics, the edges can be finished however you would like and you could just as easily attach a picture hanger to the back so the need for a router is not necessary for this project.

After a very light sanding these were ready for the next step.

Step 2: The One With the Paint

After some searching online for ideas, we came to the conclusion of what we wanted these to look like but couldn't find anything exactly like it online, so we decided to wing it!

We came up with three images we wanted to portray on the three pieces of plywood: a feather, a mountain, and a tree. Most string art uses the nails and string to create the image portrayed. We wanted to paint the silhouettes of those items directly onto the plywood then use the string art to create a sort of geometric flair to the pieces.

After finding the images we wanted, we cut out stencils of them using a Silhouette cutting machine and Oro-mask stenciling material. We knew the color palette we wanted and that we wanted it to imitate water-color in the look and that is was going to fade from dark to light going from top to bottom.

We used make-up sponge wedges like we normally do for stenciling projects like these. They are cheap and have a good consistency for working with craft paint. However, even though they do work well for sponging single colors, I wouldn't use them again for a project like this. I found that when fading from dark to light like this I had a hard time keeping the corners of the sponge from imprinting. Really, however you would like to paint this will work.

**Pro-Tip: We used a bit of water to thin the paint to help achieve the faux water-color look. When doing this, be careful not to go too thin or wet your applicator too much when sponging close to the edges, the paint can run under the edge of your stencil leaving a sloppy image when finished.

Step 3: Nailed It!

This part is pretty straight forward as long as you know how to use a hammer and nails. Simply hammer in the nails along the edges of the painted silhouette.

One thing we decided to do to achieve the look we wanted was to go heavy on the amount of nails we used on the left side of the image and lighter on the right side. What this would do is create smoother curves and more detail on the left side of the image and rougher edges and sharper corners on the right side. Be sure to keep your nails as straight as possible, and each nail roughly set in the same depth.

Step 4: String It Up!

Now the fun part! Time to get to the string art. We used a white cotton string. While attempting to begin the stringing we realized even though we bought a fairly small cord it was still going to be too thick. To fix this, we simply separated the three strands that made up the cord which left us with the perfect size thread. My suggestion when shopping for supplies is to buy cording thinner than you think is necessary, especially if you plan on doing anything real intricate.

Once again, because we wanted to create a geometric pattern that went from more to less detail from one side to the other, we made sure to loop in more string on the left side of the images fading to very few on the right side. Again, this was purely to achieve the desired look and can be done to suit your preferences. The best part about this is that you can very easily try one strategy and if you don't like it, undo it and start again. Don't be afraid to try something different, you never know, you may like it!

Step 5: Wrap It Up!

All that is left now is to hang it on the wall, step back, and admire your work! I would love to see your interpretation of something like this so please post pictures in the comments if you decide to tackle a project like this! Have fun!

P.S. Our beautiful baby boy was born healthy on Feb 1st, 2020!