String Figures: the Cup and Saucer, the Eiffel Tower, & the Star

Introduction: String Figures: the Cup and Saucer, the Eiffel Tower, & the Star

String Figures are a form of art where you manipulate pieces of string around your fingers, often times with multiple people. There are many different figures that can be created, but these instructions are very easy to follow, for beginners with little to no knowledge on string art.

As a kid I loved making string figures and have recently re-learned a few of them, still enjoying them just as much as I did years ago! While going on long car rides, relaxing at home, taking a break from playing outside, or anywhere really, I always found string art entertaining.

Parents can follow these easy instructions and help teach their small children, or for some older kids that want to teach/reteach themselves this art, like myself, these instructions can hopefully be a great step by step guide!

These instructions use videos and pictures to illustrate how to make The Cup and Saucer, The Eiffel Tower, and The Star. The Cup and Saucer serves as the basis for the latter two figures – after mastering the first, you have a great foundation for the figures following. Sometimes deciding which strings to loop can be difficult, but with patience and practice you will have it down in no time!


· String measuring around 35-45 inches.

· Two hands!

Finger Identification:

Refer to the image above for the names of each finger, in order to keep uniformity within the figures.

General String Figure Terms:

Position 1 – this position is almost always the first, and is the most common starting position- the string should run across the palms and behind the thumb and pinkie on each hand.

Opening A – this position almost always comes after position one, and is the beginning to most string figures – hooking the middle fingers through each palm string and pulling the hands apart so that there is a loop on each thumb, middle, and pinkie finger.

You can also substitute your index fingers for your middle fingers, depending on personal preference. However, for the purpose of this Instructable we will reference the middle finger.

Warning: Sometimes moving strings from finger-to-finger may make it feel like you’re going to accidentally drop the strings, so take your time!

Step 1: The Cup and Saucer

Tie your string together to make a loop.

It is easier to maneuver the string without a large knot in the way, so it is often times better to get a pre-looped string, or if the string is made of nylon the sides can be melted together

Warning: Be careful melting the string pieces together, make sure that there is an adult helping to ensure safety.

Step 2:

Start with Position 1.

Pull your hands apart to create tension in the string. Always pull your hands apart after each step unless otherwise noted.

Step 3:

Take each middle finger over to the opposite palm and slide it under the string- pull it back to the opposite side with your finger to create Opening A.

Do not worry about your order of right/left hand, it does not matter.

Step 4:

Take your thumbs to grab the farthest piece of string that is around each middle finger.

Whenever you loop a string, you go from underneath the string so that it will go around your finger properly.

Step 5:

Move the string that is spanning from thumb to thumb over your thumbs.

Be careful not to drop the other strings off of your thumbs- take your time!

Step 6:

Drop both pinky strings to complete the cup and saucer!

You should only have strings on your middle fingers and thumbs.

Step 7: The Eiffel Tower​

Warning: If you want to continue straight to The Star, skip this step- the two figures do not follow the same steps

Using the instructions above create the Cup and Saucer.

Step 8:

-If you’re with a friend: your friend should grab the string surrounding your thumbs and pull it up.

- If you’re alone: take your teeth to pull up the string that surrounded your thumbs.Point your fingers forward, like the Eiffel Tower is standing up!

You should have strings in your mouth/friends hand and around both of your middle fingers.

Step 9: The Star

This figure is a bit trickier!

Using the instructions above create the Cup and Saucer- Skip steps 7 & 8, which cover the Eiffel Tower.

Step 10:

Loop both of your pinky fingers underthe top, middle saucer string-- this string is the one that surrounds both of the thumb strings.

The saucer strings may be difficult to differentiate from, really pay attention to the string in the above video.

Step 11:

Drop both of your thumb strings.

You should only have strings around your middle and pinky fingers.

Step 12:

Take both thumbs and loop them around the closest pinky finger strings.

Step 13:

Drop just one of your pinky strings.

Your string should look like a Star!

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    11 months ago

    It was a little hard when you were doing the Effel Tower.


    6 years ago

    Could you slow your videos down a little please


    6 years ago