Visited Countries String Art Map




Introduction: Visited Countries String Art Map

In the past years i was lucky to visit some of the most awesome places on earth. So it began that i took sand samples from everywhere. After 3 years I had about 12 different sands. My biggest problem since than was i hadn't a good place at home to put the Sands in the right light. So i searched for some good ideas but couldn't find anything that fitted to me. Then I got some inspiration here about string art and started this project.

This project takes about 22 man hours to make it. So it will be a good weekend project for 2 persons. Total cost of the project was about 80 Euros (90 Dollars).

  • Friday: After work get the Supplies and start with the painting (1,5 - 3 hours)
  • Saturday: Printing the template, transfer it to the plate and start drilling (6-11 hours)
  • Sunday: Put the nails on the plate, string the nails together and mount (5 - 8 hours)

Step 1: Getting Started

For this project you need the following supplies.

  • Beech woden plate or other type (Custom size, for this project I used 140cm x 60cm x 2,5 cm)
  • Shining paint for wood (in any color you want)
  • Nails with a small head (25mm x 1,4mm or similar)
  • 2 different types of dyed yarn (or more)
  • 4 screws for wall mounting (I used hex)
  • Spray can of pain in the color you like (for the destination nails)
  • Superglue (if you made an around the world trip)
  • Sellotape

You also need the following tools and equipment

  • Hammer
  • Compass (for the space between the nails)
  • Pointed punch or as I used a screw
  • Drill
  • Drill bits 1,3mm fot the nails, 5mm for the mounting (depends on your nails and mounting)
  • Screwdriver
  • Printer (to print the templates)
  • Scissors
  • Styrofoam roller

I got the plate at our local hardware store which provides free cutting to any type of wood you buy. If you don't have such a service you also have to get the cutting tools for the plate.

Step 2: Making the Template

  • For making the template I used posterazor ( wich is pretty easy to use. They also have a pretty good tutorial on how to make those easily. If you want to use the same templates like I did you can also download the template for the dimensions 60cm x 126cm for the 140cm x 60cm plate or the 80cm x 175cm for a 180cm x 80cm plate.

You can use any type of black and white or simplified maps such as

  • Single countries you have made an road trip
  • Your year abroad in Europe
  • The pub crawl route in your city

Anything is possible with your imagination.

Step 3: Painting

Before you start be sure that the surfaces you are going to paint is 100% clean and dry or else it will definitely impact on the quality of painting. It is also good to put something under the plate so you don't make a mess.

On my project I used 2 paint layers so you can still see the wooden structure of the plate. If you want to have less wooden structure you can use more paint layers. For this please read the instructions on your paintcan for the right tap and cure time and the right temperature for the paint job. My cure time was about 12 hours.

Step 4: Transfering the The Template to the Plate

When you have printed out your template it is time to put the template together. For this I used sellotape. After Taping everything together I placed the the template on the plate and tape it also to prevent it from moving.

After that I startet to puncture the template with an compass with a space of 0,5mm to transfer it on the plate. I would recommend to puncture one sheet after an other and if you are done remove it and check or else the chances that you forget a small island in far east asia is pretty high.


After the puncturing use a pointed punch or a screw to puncture the holes for drilling. This will prevent that your drill will move from the spot you want to drill. If you are a professional you can skip this point. For my nails I used 1mm space between. The reason why I used 0,5mm is because the 1mm space doesn't work so good on small islands or countrys. After you put on the Nails and Strings you can't see the small punctures of the compass

Step 5: The Drilling Part

The drilling takes a little time but it will improve the quality of the project, help to put the nails on very easily and prevent the wooden plate to get crushed or shattered. it is very important to be carefull with the drill or else it will scratch your freshly paint plate and leave deep scars (on the plate and in your heart). It is also important that you don't drill all the way down or else the nails are more likely to fall out.

In my case I used every second mark to get a nail space for about 1mm.

Step 6: Hammer Time

After all the puncturing and drilling it is time to hammer in the nails. Every time you start with a new continent or island it ist important that you check the heights of the nails with the heights of the other continents. After you put the first nail and start the second nail next to it, the first nail will prevent that the second nail go deeper than the first one, cause the hammer is big enough for both. It is also important that your nails are straight.

Step 7: Adding the Strings

For adding the strings take a piece of your yarn and double knot the starting point. After you started to put the string around the nails you have to keep up the tension or else the string becomes loose and moves of the nails and you can start from the beginning. be sure that the yarn is close to the nail head.

I recommend to do a safety knot after about 50 nails to safe your progress, The safety knots are not visible when the project is finished. When you finished an island or a continent double knot also to end an you are done. Then remove the yarn wich is to much carefully with a scissor.

It is very tricky to do da last knot but after some islands and continents you will become a pro knotter.

Step 8: Destinations and Strings

The most important part of the project. Your destinations. For this I used google maps to find the exact spots on the world map and transferred it freehand on the map. I only used my flightpaths but you can take your road trips or ship cruises also on the map. For this I also used the exact same method like the other nails. Marking, puncturing, drilling.

To mark the special spot you also need a different nail colour. For this I sprayed some nails in red and let them dry for some hours and carefully put them on the board. For this I used a small piece of wood to protect the paint from shattering of the nail. I also leaved a small height difference between the red and silver nails.

Then double knot each side of the nails and cut of the left strings. If you have multiple legs then just use a single knot for the legs between the start and the end. After the knot push the string all the way down to the plate. This will make your map more 3 dimensional.

If you have made an around the world trip use some superglue to fix the string on the side of the plate

Step 9: Mounting and Keeping It Updated

For the Mounting I Marked 5cm from each corner and drilled a 5mm hole for the hex screw. Don't put to much torque on the screws to minimize stress to the plate.

Be sure to get some help, in my case my plate was about 15 kg (30lbs)

When you visit other countries and places you can simply can update the plate while mounted. You just have to be carefull not the harm the existing strings while working.

Step 10: Share Your Experience

Since this is my first instrucable I would really be happy about comments and improvements. Unfortunately my English is not my native language. If you find any grammatical or technical term mistakes please let me know.

For all you out there have a great time making your own custom map.

Full Spectrum Laser Contest 2016

Participated in the
Full Spectrum Laser Contest 2016

1 Person Made This Project!


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4 years ago

Very cool project! I love how you mapped out all the continents! Keep sharing!!