How to use nails and wood

How string art pictures are made using nails, wood, and wool.

String Art Fun Circle 1
This demonstration uses the free String Art Fun Circle 1 pattern. It takes you through the picture making process step by step. The circle designs are a good starting point for beginners as the strings follow a logical progression.

A base board is covered with black felt
Various board materials can be used as a base. We have found that furniture boards work well. These are readily available from DIY shops and home improvement stores. The usual thickness of these is 15 mm (3/4 inch). They come in various widths and can be cut to the required length with a saw. Many stores have a board cutting service.

Other products to use as a backing board are fiberboard underlay (used under laminate flooring) and soundboard (used for sound insulation), medium-density fiberboard (MDF), chipboard, plywood, and most other wood-based products.

If you are going to frame your picture, buy your picture frame first and use the insert from this as a template for the base size.

Cover the baseboard with black felt. Felt is available with self-adhesive backing or it can be secured with double-sided self-adhesive tape. Alternatively, the felt could be wrapped around the back of the board and secured with staples, drawing pins, or tacks.

Hammer small nails through all of the holes.
Place the printed pattern on the front of the baseboard and secure it with tape.

The nails are Veneer Pins 16 mm (5/8 inch) long. These have very small heads. Hammer in the nails as indicated on the pattern. Small nails are easier to hammer if they are held with round nose pliers. Hammer the nails in until there is about 6 mm (1/4 inch) protruding.

Remove the paper pattern.
All of the nails have been hammered in. The paper pattern can now be removed.

Tie the end of your first string on to the first nail.
We are using multi-stranded cotton (sold in skeins for cross stitch work). This comes in a wide range of bright colours.

The instructions for circle 1 start as follows:

“2 – 46, 46 – 7, 7- 51, 51 – 12, 12 – 56.
Continue this sequence until the section is complete using the illustration as a guide.”

Start by fixing the first string to nail 2 with a knot. This can be secured with a small drop of clear drying glue.
Take the string from nail 2 across the circle to wrap around nail 46.
From nail 46 we go across the circle to nail 7.
Then from nail 7, we go across to nail 51.
Note that each cross string has the same number of nails between the two nails that it spans. We are moving forward by five nails with each cross string.
The stringing continues in this way using the illustration as a guide.

The first section is complete.
When the first layer is complete knot the end of the string to the final nail. On this particular layer we have worked around the circle twice to arrive back at the nail we started with.

Work the second layer in a different colour.
Work the second layer in a different colour.
The number of nails between each cross string is different to layer 1 thus giving a different pattern.
As in layer 1, it is calculated to end on the first nail of the sequence to make it symmetrical.

The finished picture.
This is the finished picture with layer 3 in a third colour.