String Art

Posted by Ellie

How long’s a piece of string?, I hear you cry. Well, quite long and intertwined if you’re a fan of String Art. For those not in the know, String Art – also known as Thread Art or Curve Stitching – is the technique of wrapping thread, wire, or string, around some strategically placed nails to form a 3D, geometric looking pattern.

The basic technique originates back to the late 19th Century, where mathematician Mary Everest Boole decided to explore methods of enticing children in to the world of mathematics via an activity known as ‘Curve Stitching’. The practice of following an x/y axis to create the appearance of curves using only straight lines. Skip forward to the present day, and it seems the decorative technique is increasingly popular with Pintrest users; a simple search for the phrase will churn up some stunning examples of just what can be achieved. Seemingly, the only limitation being your imagination and just how much patience you can muster up.

For the purpose of this blog, I decided to create my own. The method is basically a dot-to-dot with string, I can’t go wrong! There are two routes you can choose to follow: 1. Put into practice the specific method – as Everest Boole suggests – or 2. Freestyle and hope for the best. I chose the latter.

The biggest issue I encountered was locating a base. Ideally I was hoping to locate a rustic, worn-looking piece of wood, however each scavenge attempt was unsuccessful. So for the purpose of practice (and impatience) I decided to get started using a piece of MDF. And the image selected? A designers’ favourite: a serif ampersand.

The physical method could not be easier:

  1. Print off an outlined template of your design
  2. Tap in the nails, tracing the outline of your image
  3. Remove the template, leaving the nails in place
  4. Create an outline of your design with thread
  5. Randomly zig-zag the thread/s to fill in the outline. Adding different colours as required (overlapping coloured thread creates a perfect blend)
  6. Stand back and admire.

I think my finished piece is simple and effective, and it turns out my Instagram followers seemed to like it too. So… String Art? Done. Next project? Underway.