Make State-Themed String Art
I’ve been waiting to post this fun project for a while, but I had to be patient because it was a housewarming present for my brother-in-law, John, and his fiance, Lori. I started it in late November and finished it a few weeks before Christmas, but we weren’t visiting them in Minnesota until after Christmas, so I had to stow it in the closet (away from the cats, who obviously love string). And then, because I’m an idiot, I forgot it when we went to Minnesota! Oh well, here is your present, guys.
John and Lori, who are proud Minnesotans, bought their first house last year, so I thought this would be a fun piece to give them as a gift. The great thing about string art, though, is that you can make is using whatever pattern you want! You can make it using anything as a pattern, like a word, an animal, an object, or a state!
As you can see, you can also use thread with different thicknesses based on the look you’re going for. You can use no color, one color, or multiple colors. You can even add a little embellishment in the center of your shape to create a starburst pattern with your string. I used a heart, but you can use anything.
Before getting started on your string art…
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Before getting starting, you need to decide on what you’ll use for your backdrop. I used a piece of stained wood from my dad’s scrap wood stash. I sanded down the rough edges and polished it up. Then I stained it using English Chestnut and three coats of polyurethane.
If you don’t want to put the effort into staining and finishing a piece of wood, you can use a piece of cork.
Once you have your backdrop, here’s what you need to make state-themed string art:
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- Something to use for your pattern (like a print of a map), tracing paper or tissue paper. I used Swedish Tracing Paper from my sewing stash.
- Pencil, marker, scissors, and double-sided tape
- Assortment of thread or string. If you want to use multiple colors, check out tracing paper of embroidery thread, which has a really nice sheen to it.
- Nails with heads big enough to hold your thread on each nail. The more thread you use (or the thicker the thread/string), the bigger the nail head you’ll need. I used tracing paper, 18 gauge, 3/4 inch.
- Fabric glue (I use tracing paper)
And here’s how you do it!
Step 1: Create a pattern for your string art. I searched Google for “Minnesota blank map” and printed two copies of a map that was bigger than a normal 8 1/2 x 11 inch piece of paper. Then I just combined the two prints using tape.
Trace the outline of your pattern onto your tracing paper. Use pencil first; then, when you’re happy with it, trace over it with a pen or marker. Using a pencil first is a great idea if you have a state with more intricate border details (I’m look at you, Minnesota, Maryland, Washington, Maine, Virginia, North Carolina…)
Step 2: Cut the pattern out and tape it on your backdrop. Then, begin nailing your nails in around the pattern. My neighbors probably hated me this day.
When you’ve nailed nails into the entire outline of the pattern, gently pull the pattern off. (You may have to use tweezer to pull off bits that stayed on the nails.) I also added a heart to the center of the state outline. I wanted to be able to string everything into the heart so that it had a sunburst pattern.
Step 3: Begin stringing in whatever pattern you want. If you want to do the heart option, that’s great, but if you don’t you can just string with no pattern whatsoever (like the “love” string art at the top of this post). The best part about string art is if you don’t like the patten, you can unwind it and start over.
When you’re happy with your pattern, tie off the ends and add a dab of glue for security. tracing paper is clear and holds very well.
Then trim the extra thread and you’re done!