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To drill or not to drill, that is the question – string art nailing

drillSince we are using nails to create our string art picture you may wonder why I am asking about drilling. The answer will depend on the material you are using for your baseboard. It may also depend on the size of nails you are using.

If you are using a base that is easily penetrated by nails such as cork of soft fibre board then the nails will go in easily with just a hammer. If you are using a harder base such as plywood or MDF (medium density fibreboard) then pre-drilling the holes can make the nailing easier and more accurate.

Chose a drill bit that is smaller than the nails you are going to use. You do not want the nails to fall through the holes. They should be a tight fit when nailed in.

I use a small battery powered drill. It has a built in spirit level on the top and back so it is easy to judge when it is vertical.

Fix your paper template onto your baseboard with tape or similar. Drill through the dots and then remove the template. You can now hammer your nails into the drilled holes.

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My top 10 string art web sites

String art fun websiteThis is my review of what I consider to be the best web sites for string art enthusiasts. I have rated them on the usefulness of the information given and the patterns that they offer.

Click on the site names to visit the web sites.

1. String Art Fun

This is a great place for string art enthusiasts to start. There is an illustrated step-by-step guide to making string art pictures. Teachers will find some articles on how to introduce string art to children. There are six free patterns to download and a number of attractive patterns available for purchase. There is a section with Christmas designs using colourful drawing pins (thumb tacks) together with sparkly decorative cords and ribbons to give a festive look to the pictures.

2. String art at Math Cats

This web site has an animated demonstration of string art aimed at children, using a square design. There are five free patterns to download based on simple geometric shapes.

3. Okee’s String Art

There are several comprehensive articles on string art covering design, techniques and procedures. There are also some free projects with patterns and instructions.
This website appears to have closed.

4. Childs Elementary School String Art

The art gallery features a number of pictures made by grade 6 students. There are no instructions or patterns but the pictures show what is possible with string art.

5. Exciting Scout Crafts – String Art Flower

This is a detailed project on how to make a string art flower. There is a free pattern to download and a list of materials used.

6. The Caron Collection

Ths web site has a “Kids Corner” with a string art sailboat project. It includes a materials list, a pattern to print and the instructions.

7. Teachers Network

This has a page called “String Art – An Adventure in Line Designs”. It discusses the use of string art as a basis for mathematical understanding of geometric shapes and relationships of points, segments, and angles. There is a project ready to present to students.

8. Logo Art Gallery

This gallery has a string art page featuring eleven geometric pictures. A good source of inspiration.
This website appears to have closed.

9. Strings and Things

This web site features lots of photographs of 3D string art projects produced by the artist Rynders Wilfried.
This website appears to have closed.

10. Lionel Deimel’s Farrago

This web site has a page called “Curve-stitch Designs”. It includes a complex isometric cube drawing that could form the basis of a string art pattern.

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Prick and stitch cards – a miniature form of string art

flowerString art makes a bold picture that you can hang on your wall. Prick and stitch is a miniature form of string art used to make greetings cards. Prick and stitch cards are considered by many people to have developed from the string art techniques.

String art and prick and stitch cards (also called stitching cards) have a lot in common and some differences. Instead of nails you have holes pricked in the card. Instead of the string turning round the nails you have thread emerging from a pricked hole, going across the pattern and entering a second hole. The design builds up in a similar way with crossing strings (or threads) filling a shape with colour.

The illustation is the free flowering vine pattern from the Stitching Cards web site. If you fancy trying your hand at prick and stitch card making go to Stitching Cards free patterns.

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Choosing a backing board for string art

backing boardThe three qualities that I look for in a backing board are:

1. It should be strong enough to hold the nails when they are under the tension of the string.
2. It should not be too heavy since it is to be hung on the wall.
3. It should be readily available locally.

I guess that point number three will be the main determining factor in what you use. The first place to look is around the house. Maybe in the loft or the garden shed to see what off-cuts might be available.

The next port of call is the local DIY store. If you can find a material that is already the size you want to use then you are on to a winner. I have used 12 x 12 inch cork floor tiles. These are quite thin so I sandwich two or three together so that the nails can be knocked in a reasonable distance.

If you do not find something the right size then the next place to look is the flat board section. Begin by looking for the lowest price material. In my local store this is quarter inch MDF (Medium Density Fibre) board. It comes in various thicknesses. I have used 10 mm (about 1 /2 inch) thick with success. MDF board is easy to cut with a wood saw. Better still if your local store has a cutting service then get them to do it for you. They probably have a large power saw that will cut it very accurately.

Other sheet materials to consider are plywood and hardboard. If it is thin you can always layer it to get the required thickness.

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String art boat pattern reviewed

string art boatOne of the most popular free downloads from the String Art Fun web site is the boat pattern. If you are new to string art this is a great pattern to start with.

The pattern instructions can be printed out on an A4 sheet (210mm x 297mm or 8 x 12 inches). The suggested method is to put the printed pattern over the backing board and hammer the nails through into the backing board. The paper is removed before starting to tie the string in place. Once the nails are in place the whole thing should go quite quickly.