DIY Initial Fabric String Art

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Create a personalized, unique piece of string art!

String art is a super fun, easy, and cheap project. My three favorite criteria for projects!  Especially when I want to make something quickly. So the fact that these beauties are customized and have a fabric backing make them even more special. I loved them so much I sell DIY String Art Kits in my store for all those people who want to create but hate gathering all the supplies!

The beauty of incorporating fabric into a string art project is that you can use pretty much any piece of wood as your base – an old scrap piece or a wood blank from the craft store. As long as the surface is relatively smooth it doesn’t matter what it looks like underneath. Not to mention the plethora of super fun, cute fabric patterns. I went with this super cute dinosaur pattern for my son and this minty floral fabric for my daughter. JoAnn’s is my typical go-to because I like to see the fabric in person and they have so many choices!

The secret to really great string art is using a template. May seem obvious to everyone but it wasn’t to me! Probably because I always think I can ‘eyeball’ everything. Not always the best approach. Making a straight line in string art is challenging, y’all! You may think it’s easy but let me assure it, it is not! I learned the hard, stubborn way. A quick run down – you can easily make a template for string art using a word processing program on your computer or quite simply draw it out on scrap paper. More about that later.

Let’s talk a minute about nails. The nail aisle at the hardware store is massive. Not just at the big box stores but at my little local hardware store as well. Massive; so many options! It took some time to wade through all those options to find the best one for nail art: small gauge, less than 1” long, and a flat head. I found that using a 17 or 18 gauge wire nail that is 3/4” long works really well. And pro tip – use needle nose pliers to hold the nail in place while you hammer!

Now about expectations. I tried to make these with my kids but it was a big, fat project fail. haha! You know when you’re dreaming of a beautiful afternoon doing what you love with the kids?? Like, you can see the happiness, sunshine streaming in, laughing, quality screen-free moment in your mind’s eye?!? Nope. My expectations were way too high! It was more of a painful experience of tears and frustration – for everyone.

While they both enjoyed the hammering nails part (no surprise here), the string application was not as successful. My 10 year old who loves art projects was able to complete her project but didn’t necessarily enjoy the process. You have to be able to hold the string pretty tight while wrapping it around the nails and if it slips, your work unravels instantly. This happened a lot with the kids. My 8 year old got frustrated immediately but didn’t want to give up. It was a long hour of making with plenty of tears.

I think this project is perfect for teenagers and above.  But if you think your kiddos would enjoy doing it, pick a really simple shape like a heart to get started.

Let’s get to making! I’ll lay out the steps to create your very own personalized fabric backed piece of string art. Gather your supplies and see how fun it is to create!

DIY Initial Fabric String Art

DIY Initial Fabric String Art Supplies

  • Mod Podge
  • 1″ Foam Brush, Small Brush
  • String – I use Aunt Lydia’s size 10 string
  • 3/4″ Wire Nails
  • Fabric Square (10″x 10″) – or about an 1″ wider all around than your wood
  • Wood Blank (8″x 8″) – I used a 1/2″ piece of plywood- a pine board would also work
  • Sanding Block
  • String Art Letter Template
  • Painter’s Tape

DIY Initial Fabric String Art Tools

  • Hammer
  • Scissors

OPTIONAL: Drill with 3/8″ drill bit. This is the exact drill I use!

DIY Initial Fabric String Art Directions:

Prepare Fabric Backing

  1. Brush a coat of Mod Podge on the top of your piece of wood. Center the fabric on top. Move it slightly by pulling the sides and lightly press it down. The Mod Podge will pull the fabric smooth and flat as it dries. Let dry about 15-20 minutes.
  1. Flip over and cut 2 slits on the right, and 2 slits on the left that are even with the edge of the wood. See photo.
  1. Add Mod Podge to the edge of the wood on the sides where the fabric is NOT cut. See photo. Press fabric down.
  1. On the opposite sides, add Mod Podge to the very end of the wood edge; press the flaps of fabric down. Note – I trimmed my flap down a little first. Add Mod Podge on top of the flaps and across the edge of the wood. Press the remaining fabric down. Let dry completely.
  1. After the fabric has completely dried on your wood (it will be stiff) you’ll remove the extra fabric from the edges. (TIP: Create your template while waiting for the Mod Podge to dry!) Use a sanding block or a regular piece of sandpaper to sand in a downward motion on the edge of the wood from the back. After several passes you will be able to pull the excess fabric away.

Create String Art Template

  1. You have 3 options for creating a template:
    • Draw template by hand: Super simple and straight forward. Grab a piece of printer paper. Use a ruler to make a 8″x8″ box (or whatever size your wood happens to be) to use as a guide. Draw or trace your letter inside the box.
    • Use a Word Processing program: Open a word processing program on your computer. Type the letter you would like and choose a thick style font. Increase the size to fill the paper. It can be helpful to insert a box the same size as your wood to use as a guide.
    • Purchase a letter template in my shop right here!
  1. Once you have your letter on paper, place dots around the perimeter of the letter about 1/4”-1/2” apart using a pencil. TIP: Once you are happy with the placement of the dots, go over the dots with a brightly colored marker to make sure they are all big and easy to see.
  2. Now it’s time to use your template to insert the nails.
NO Drill Option
  • Cut around the perimeter of your letter. Cut right on the line, your dots will be cut in half but still visible.
  • Make loops of painter’s tape and place on the back of your letter to attach it to your piece of wood.
  • Use a hammer to pound nails about halfway down around the perimeter of the paper template.
  • Remove paper template.
Drill Option
  • Cut around your letter leaving about 1/2′ border. Doesn’t have to be perfect. Just to make it easier to center the letter on your wood. Use painter’s tape to attach your template to your piece of wood.
  • Use a 3/8″ drill bit to just barely drill through the paper into the wood on each dot. Be sure to drill straight down and not at an angle.
  • Remove paper template and use a hammer to pound in the nails about half way into each hole.

Apply String

  1. Tie the string to any one of the nails, leaving yourself a tail about 2-3” long. Keeping tension on the string, randomly criss cross the string among the nails.

TIP: with large rolls of string it helps to place the string in a bowl, so it won’t roll around on you.

  1. Keep randomly filling in the letter until it looks good to you. Go around the outside of your letter to outline it with your string. When finished, work your string back to the same nail you started and tie the string to your ‘tail’ in a knot. Cut excess string and tuck knot under your string art.

And that’s it! Now that you know how to create this custom piece of string art, imagine the creative possibilities!?! I can’t wait to see what you create!

I’d love to see how your project turned out! Don’t forget to tag #ThePolishedPine!

Enjoy forever!

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