Flower String Art

Length of Project:
Project theme:
Suitable for grades:
Tools & Materials
Material List
  • Flat wood, any type, approx 3/4" x 4" x 10"
  • scrap piece of wood for sanding block
  • cloth rag
  • scrap piece of wood or cardboard, larger than wood base
  • wood stain
  • simple flower outline template
  • optional: tape
  • one large-headed nail
  • 20+ finishing nails
  • string or yarn, various colours, 3'+
  • scissors
  • sawtooth hanger and mini nails to secure to project
Tool list
  • Safety glasses
  • vice and/or c-clamps
  • block plane and/or spokeshave
  • flat rasp
  • sand paper (various grits 80-120)
  • paint brush
  • workshop table or scrap piece of wood larger than project base
  • hammer
  • ruler or speed square
  • pencil

    Shape and smooth the wood base

  1. Clamp your wood piece firmly to a table or into a vice.
  2. Use the block plane and/or spokeshave to round the long edges of your wood base (you will be rounding 4 long corners). Don't worry about the edges on the short sides yet.
  3. Clamp your wood base (or secure in a vice) so that the ends are exposed. Use the rasp to round the corners and edges of the short ends. Continue smoothing out any other edges that need rounding.
  4. Wrap a piece of coarse sandpaper (80 grit) around a small block, secure your wood base with a clamp or vice, and sand all edges and faces of your piece. Switch up to a piece of 100 grit paper, and then 120 grit, sanding your wood base until desired smoothness is achieved.
  5. Stain the wood base

  6. Use a damp cloth rag to remove any wood dust from the wood base.
  7. Outside, or in a well-ventilated area, place your wood base on a scrap piece of wood or cardboard. Paint the wood stain onto the wood base, making sure to drain any excess stain off the brush by running the brush up along the inner rim of the can each time you dip it. Allow to dry and apply a second coat, if you choose.
  8. Create the flower design

  9. Use a pencil and paper to design a flower outline, or print one from an internet search. Make sure it will be small enough to fit onto your wood base, with at least 1/2" of clearance on all sides.
  10. Position your template onto the prepared wood base. You may choose to tape the edges so it doesn't move around.
  11. Put on your safety eyewear. If you need to, place your project on a scrap piece of wood to protect the table top you're working on (just in case your nails go all the way through).
  12. If your flower design has a central point, hammer the larger-headed nail through the template and into your wood base. Try not to hammer the nails more than about three-quarters of the way through the wood base, or they might poke out the back of your project. Hammer a finishing nail in at each corner or line intersection on your template. Try to make the nails poke out straight up and all at the same height (about 1/2" to make space for yarn loops).
  13. When you are finished adding nails, rip your template away, making sure to remove all bits of paper from your project.
  14. Choose your yarn/string colour and begin by tying a knot on the large nail. Double knot your yarn to ensure it's secure.
  15. Weave your yarn around the nail heads, making a loop on each nail, and return to the centre after each petal is complete.
  16. You can create different designs depending on how you weave your yarn over the same nail pattern. Experiment with your design, removing the yarn and relooping it until you have a pattern you like. Continue weaving until you have at least three loops on each outer nail; this creates depth in your flower. You may need to push the yarn loops down as you go to make room for more yarn.
  17. When you are finished, double knot the yarn to the centre nail and use scissors to cut the tail short.
  18. Use templates or improvise with your nail placement to add additional flowers, stems, leaves, etc, after your initial flower is finished. Remember to wear eye protection while you are hammering. Try to utilize the whole wood base for your design, making sure the nails are no closer than about 1/2" to the edge of the wood.
  19. Follow steps 12-14 to add yarn to your new nail patterns.
  20. Add the hanger

  21. Using a ruler (or speed square) and pencil, mark a horizontal line about 1-1/2" (or 4cm) below the top edge.
  22. Measure the width of your wood base and divide that number by 2. Make a dot at this dimension along the horizontal line you drew, this should be at the centre of your project. Line up the middle of your sawtooth hanger over this dot, and make sure the holes in the hanger line up with the horizontal pencil line.
  23. Put on your protective eyewear, and place your project on a scrap piece of wood to protect the table top. Hammer a tiny nail into each hole of your sawtooth hanger.
  24. Choose a place to hang your finished piece! Ask an adult to help you hammer a nail into the wall to hang the sawtooth hanger on.
Extension Challenges
  1. Try our "nail and string art" project using a more complex base design and more nails.
  2. Instead of a flower, try using the same techniques to spell out a word, or draw an animal, etc.
  3. Use many different colours of yarn and build up the loops on your nails to create a 3D effect. Research in books or online to see what kinds of designs and effects are possible with string art.
  4. Build a 3D structure or frame to place your nails on to create even more depth and intricacy to your project.
  5. Instead of nails, have students drill holes through the base and thread the string through for a needlepoint effect.
  6. Design a template and choose accurate yarn colours based on pictures of actual flowers.
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