Nail and String Art

Length of Project:
Project theme:
Suitable for grades:
Tools & Materials
Material List
  • 1 x 3/4" plywood, same size as colouring page design
  • 2 colouring pages (2 of same design)
  • 100+ 1" finishing nails
  • various pieces of colourful string
  • various pencil crayons / crayons / felts
Tool list
  • 1 x hammer
  • 1 x popsicle stick
  • scissors
  • safety glasses
  • work gloves
  1. Place one copy of your simple colouring page onto the center of your ¾" plywood.
  2. Mount your colouring page to your plywood by nailing a finishing nail through one of the lines of your page into the wood.
  3. When hammering the finishing nails, keep in mind four things: 1) hammer your nails into the plywood around 1/3 of the length of the nail. 2) Try and keep the nails 1.5 cm apart, roughly the same size as the tip of your pinky finger. 3) Work from the inside of the colouring page design lines to the outside lines. 4) Focus on putting your nails through the outline of your design and don’t worry about the details.
  4. After you have completed the outline of your design, remove the colouring page from your wood platform.
  5. Colour in your second copy of the colouring page using the colours of string you will be applying to your project. You will be using this as a reference when applying the string.
  6. When applying the string to your project, attach the string to the nail using an overhand knot.
  7. Once you have the string attached, you’re going to make an outline by wrapping the string around the designated nails of one chosen area.
  8. After you have completed the string outline of the chosen area, continue filling the area with string by going back and forth from nail to nail, creating a criss-cross string texture. Repeat until the area is covered with string.
  9. If required, use a popsicle stick to push the string further down the nail. This will allow for more layers of string to be added if needed.
  10. After getting the desirable criss-cross texture in the chosen area, tie the string off either to the existing end of the string or to a nail. Cut off excess string using scissors.
  11. Repeat this process until your design is completely filled in with criss-cross string texture.
  12. Making outlines on top of a criss-cross string layer is an option, for example, to add a mouth or any other contrasting colour lines.
Extension Challenges
  1. Draw your own design to colour in with string.
  2. Make your design 3D by overlapping string to create vertical texture.
  3. Try overlapping different colours of string to create different effects.
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