Chopstick Painting




Introduction: Chopstick Painting

Every time I ordered takeout at a kimbap restaurant, they would give me a set of wooden disposable chopsticks. Since I didn’t know how to tell the clerk in Korean that I didn’t need them, and I didn’t want to be rude, I kept the chopsticks and hoarded them for them for this project.

Originally I was going to make a mat to roll sushi or kimbap, but when it was done I decided to paint it and hang it. Simple, but a nice addition to my apartment!

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Step 1: Gather Materials

  • Chopsticks (I used 12 pairs)
    • TIP: Don’t count your chickens before they hatch. Sometimes the chopsticks don’t break right, and you might want another pair.
    • NOTE: Bamboo chopsticks are harder to paint on

  • Twine (About 3X the length of your chopsticks laid out)
  • Brown paper bag scraps (optional)
  • Scissors
  • Watercolor painting supplies

Step 2: Prepare Chopsticks

You may want to “sand” the sticks with some brown paper bag scraps. It makes them less splintery. Up to you.

Lay the chopsticks down on the end of a table. Place a book on top of them to help hold them in place while you lash them.

Step 3: Lashings

Measure your twine. Cut about 3X the length of your chopsticks laid out.

Start your lashing using the middle of your twine to loop around the chopstick on the end.

Repeat these 3 steps for the lashing:

1) Pinch the leading strand against the table.

2) Take the lagging strand in front of the leading strand.

3) Pull the lagging strand up and over the next chopstick. This is now your leading strand.

Continue until you reach the end of the line of chopsticks. (Notice that the twine is twisting around the sticks in the same direction the whole way. This is important. If it doesn’t twist, it may easily unravel.)

I went back over the last 3 chopsticks, just to make sure it was secure and not going to unravel. Tie off the end with a clove hitch or two.

Repeat on the other side. Add a handle to hang it by and you're done!

Step 4: Paint!

Now you have your canvas to paint on! Or, if you like it just like this, you can leave is as it is. I painted using watercolors – it worked great and had no mess!

You could, of course, also use it as a sushi-rolling mat. I haven’t tried this, but let me know how well it works in the comments!

Step 5: Play Around!

Have a different idea for how to make this?

Have a cool new use for it?

Have a chopstick painting you’re proud of?

Post in the comments below! I’d love to see your creations!

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    4 Discussions


    2 years ago

    This will be shared with the teachers at my school. Thanks!


    Reply 2 years ago

    Thank you for sharing it with your school! Did anyone end up using it as a class project?


    3 years ago

    Really creative! Thanks for sharing!


    3 years ago

    Very creative! :)