Introduction: Personalized Bass Fish String Art
My house always looks like there are about 7 to 10 craft projects going on, from the garage to the now known as craft room. I have more unfinished projects stuffed in closets than I do finished ones! You know how it gets - good sale, great idea, I could make this for so and so - Then just gets stuffed in the closet and before long the holiday's have past and you totally ran out of time to work on it. lol. That's me 100%! This time around I needed a gift and made a promise to myself - I'm not buying anything for it!!
We've all seen these string art projects online, this isn't super new. This is just my take on it.
Spray paint - various colors. I used a lighter teal, white, and a dark green.
Mask so you don't breathe in paint/ glasses to protect your eyes
(optional) Card board box with tall sides - it's your spray paint box!
Wood stain - I used the darkest I had in my garage that had a polyurethane top coat in it. I believe it was Antique Oak.
Sand Paper (optional electric hand sander) - I used a 120 grit, but honestly anything between 120 and 220 would work. This isn't used to smooth the wood surface, just to remove some of the paint/stain. (I'll explain as we go)
Nails - I told you I used whatever I had possible - I found some 1 1/4 flooring nails left over from my old kitchen floor install. These are great because the head is super wide to keep the yarn underneath. Something a little dainty might look a bit nicer if your image is something more on the cutesy side. Remember you want the nails long enough to go into the board and stick out about half an inch to an inch, but not go thru the other side of the wood.
Wood base - I had bought a large piece of pine a while back for some epoxy stuff I did. this was the left overs. I did trim off a really badly cut side, but I didn't worry so much about being perfect with it. I wanted this to be a rough project. (optional circular saw for trimming edges)
pencil, ruler, and pen
random tools - used these to rough up the paint/stain/wood.
Yarn - I used thin lighter weight yarn. Sorry for the blurry pictures, I used a dark taupe and a forest green.
Idea for your string art (optional printed image to trace)
Wood burning kit/dremel with big etching tip - used to personalize the piece.
picture hanging parts - one of those teeth looking things with the two tiny nails.
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Step 1: Trim, Paint, Stain, Sand, Paint, Stain, Sand, Stain, Sand....
I always forget to take photos at this point usually because I'm working in a quick time frame and my hands are all covered in paint. lol. So I apologize for not a lot of good photos.
So, like I stated earlier, I trimmed just a little bit of my board, but I wanted it to be "Rustic" so I left it very wonky. I then took some random tools - screw driver, nail, hammer - and beat up the front of this board. I made a bunch of scratches and scuffs.
From there I did a quick sand, just to make sure the sides/edges were safe to touch and once over the top to flatten out any marks I had made. You don't want to remove the marks, just make sure that when you run you hand across it, you don't get a sliver. I also sanded once quick over the back as well.
Fun time! Painting - I used a cardboard box with tall sides and placed my piece in. I then spray painted it! There is no science to this - do what you like. I kinda wanted a blue ish/ green ish/ dirty ish lake look for mine. lol. so layers of blue, white, and green.
Let it dry! I waited overnight cause of the humidity here.
Take it out of the paint box, then I sanded it. - yep. I sanded heavily around the edges and less in the middle. I was trying to take away as much of the blue as I could. I didn't count on the heat and humidity messing with my sand times and well - there's a lot of blue still left.
Used a rag and dusted away the leftover sandings.
Then placed it back in the paint box and stained it. I went heavy around the edges, but made sure there wasn't any drips on the sides. (just wipe them up, we will eventually stain the sides anyways.)
Pull from paint box, and sand again - lightly this time - just wanted to clean up everything.
I dusted it and then stained the sides and the back. Then let that dry overnight.
Step 2: Personalize
I measured out (me- I know! I did!) an equal space for each letter and wrote out the gift receivers name. I don't own a branding iron, but wanted that look.
I drew out somewhat stylized wide bulky letters and used the dremel to dig a little trench for each. Then I took the rounded tip on from my wood burning kit and punched/burned the letters in.
Once it was cooled I then took my dremel again and removed some of the burnt parts. I wanted it to look like I had stamped the letters and that the stamp had missed parts during the press. I also let the dremel slip a few times around the edges of the letters so they didn't look perfect. I'm going for that homemade look.
I wiped down the whole piece and stained heavily on the letters with a rag, using the dump wipe around and then wipe off technique. (Very technical this is.)
After it dried overnight I took and lightly sanded the whole thing again. Super duper lightly.
Step 3: Drawing and Nails
I went online and looked at pictures of Bass fish as my main image. You can do just about anything you have room for. I then drewl the fish on the board. If you want, you can print out your image and using a pen and a lot of pressure and trace your image onto the board.
Using a hammer and nails tried to evenly space out and put nails into the board. I used about 94 nails. I tried to keep them all about 1/2 inch out from the board, but that kinda worked and not so much. You can see a few spots where the nails got waaaay too close together.
Step 4: String String and More String... UGH!
This is the most tedious part.
Pick a part to start at, and tie down your string. I left a little tail to come back to and tie with at the end. There really isn't any method to this madness other than keeping your string taught. I will also caution that you need to push down a little on your yarn after your first few passes, that way if you come in with another color, you have room under the nail head to add more yarn. If you want any kind of color variation that requires more nails, as you can see with my fins and tail. When I hit the end of a section I tied it off underneath all the layered yarn, cut the tails short and stuck any ends underneath all the layers.
I think with these the less detail the better. My fingers were gray from the nails by the time I was done. I think more general purpose nails would work better for this project, but I kinda like the masculine look against the pretty blue.
Step 5: Hanging and Finished!
I used one of those teeth looking pieces that they put on the backs of fancy pictures so that it could be hung on the wall. It came with one of those kits you get in your first apartment/house. lol.
Now I just have to deliver the gift!