As a small child in the 50’s, I remember spending many fun-filled hours playing with mum’s left over yarn and cardboard pieces riddled with holes to make string art. Not very sophisticated to be sure, but it didn’t seem to matter much back then. That was a time when we made dolls from pipe cleaners and fairy furniture from empty match boxes. We weren’t re-cycling, we were using what was available together with lots of imagination and creativity.
Not just for kids any more, string art has grown up and graduated to Home Dec accents. At the recent Arts & Crafts trade show, there was a large number of string art programs for a wide range of age groups, which will soon be finding their way into the stores.
I designed a number of string art kits for a manufacturer a few years ago, but my favorite technique is to use string art to make embellishments for paper crafting. I taught this technique at a Camp Memory Makers over 10 years ago and still remember how much fun we all had. Easy to master, it becomes quite addictive, you can’t make a mistake and the results are truly amazing. Here’s a sample of string art embellishments on a scrapbook page:
So, you may be wondering – how do I do this? You start with simple shapes like these.
Shapes are usually round, but they can also be square and you’ll want different sizes for layering. Once cut, the shapes are then wrapped with your choice of thread.
You can use one or more colors of thread on each shape, layer with additional shapes and mix patterns. There are endless possibilities. I like to layer different sizes and shapes using small, adhesive foam pieces then add a button, brad or jewel at the center of the top one.
This technique is also referred to as Spirelli™, named by the European manufacturer who developed specific punches to cut out round, notched shapes. The punches are still available and can be used with lightweight card stock. You can also purchase dies which work really well for string art.
Finished embellishments can be used on scrapbook pages, cards, mixed media projects and more! Not just for circles and squares, you can also use the same kind of wrapping technique with triangles, ovals and even hearts. The only requirement for a shape is that it must have a notched edge to hold the wrapped thread in place. Use punches to create the notched shapes, or cut out your shapes with decorative edge scissors. You can also cut notched shapes on a digital die cutting machine. There are complete instructions and more ideas on my blog, Life in the Craft Lane. There’s also a jpeg of shapes that is free for you to use to cut your own shapes for your personal projects on a digital die cutting machine.
What would you make using this paper crafting technique?