Stringing Things Together

Every year that we can, Kyle’s extended family gets together for what can only be called “Christmas at the Cabin.” We take a million pictures (which we all complain about but are secretly happy to have), shoot skeet, eat, and play Dirty Santa. Now, this is not your ordinary Dirty Santa–your gift is supposed to be something you have on hand or something you make, both under $10. And, let me tell you, things can get dirty! There’s always those few gifts that are better than the others that family members pair up to “freeze” within their family. Overall, it’s a lot of fun and always leaves us with some great memories 🙂

Over the years, I’ve brought a jewelry hanger made of scrap wood and doorknobs, homemade candy, burlap ornaments, and a few other goodies. This year, I decided to try my hand at some string art–I’ve always seen it at craft shows and thought, “I can make that,” but I’ve never tried…until now! After searching on Pinterest, I finally decided on this:

Seems easy enough, right? And, it actually was! What really took the most time was just placing and hammering in the nails. Here’s what I did:

Compass String Art
Difficulty: Easy

Supply List
Wood (I used a 15.5″ x 15.5″ piece from Lowes for $5)
Wood Stain (I used some Minwax Wood Finish we already had)
Crochet Thread (I got mine at Hobby Lobby for $2)
Nails (I used 1″ 16 gauge)
Hammer
Printed Design

First, you’ll need to stain the wood. I suggest using a rag, and, be warned, it can stain your hands, too! Be sure to get the edges–you want to cover every area that will be seen. Put on more coats if you want more color, and then let it dry.

While your stain is drying, decide on a design and print it out in the right size. I simply used Microsoft Word for my N, E, S, W in block font–I had to print it out a few times to get the sizing right. I googled images of arrows until I found the one I wanted. Since I didn’t want my wood to be shiny, I skipped polyurethane and got to work placing my design on my board, essentially using my printouts as stencils. You might want to tape this in place as you work so they don’t move. Also, a ruler might come in handy to keep things level and in line; it was a must for me and my OCD!

Next, nail around your printouts. I recommend placing your nails about half an inch away from each other, but feel free to place them farther apart depending on the design you want. Also, you want the nails to be firmly within the wood, but you also want them to stick up enough for your 3D artwork–think of nailing them in halfway. Once you’ve hammered in your nails, remove the printouts.

Once you have all your nails in, you’re ready to start stringing! First, tie your thread to a corner nail and begin by outlining your design. I also recommend looping around the corner nails for more security. With mine, I outlined my letters/arrows three times, and then began to randomly wrap the thread around nails all over the letter/design to fill it in. Randomness is not my speciality, but this was even doable for me! When you feel that your design is filled in well, tie the end of the string to a corner nail. Be sure this is tight, perhaps double-knotting it, or all of your hard work will unravel. This step could potentially take some time depending on how complex your design is and how many times your string gets the better of you!

Pinterest Success! My compass string art turned out to be somewhat of a hit with the girls at the cabin, so I wrote this tutorial with you two in mind, Madison & Kylea!
There are all kinds of designs you can do, from simple to complex. I may try making one of the states with a heart for a hometown next. We’ll see! Do you have any tips? Let me know! Also, if you make some string art, I’d love to see it! Happy crafting!

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