String Art Heart

String Art Project
Last weekend I went on a mini road trip and visited an old friend of mine, Jenny, in her new house 2 hours away from here. She is one of those friends that, despite distance and time, our friendship always takes off again where it last left off. I love friendships like that — no initial shyness, just being-ness. She has always been a crafty soul and this is one of the reasons why I think we have always connected so well.

Jenny's String Art Star
While sitting in her front room, I spied a precious little treasure on a shelf nearby (pictured above). The hand-crafted object looked like one of those antique relics one might find in a colonial arts museum.

Inscription on back
After further investigation I discovered that this object — made up of nails, wood and string —  was actually made by my friend when she was young. Flipping it over and reading the words on the backside I realized that it was a present to her "Mumsie", AKA, Grandma. How cool! I can only imagine how touched her grandmother felt to receive such a thoughtful gift from her. I knew right away what my next project would be with my son. Because Valentine's Day was right around the corner, I thought positioning the nails to form a heart shape would be just perfect.
This project turned out to be a great way to introduce my 4-year-old son to using a hammer and nails. I do, however, think that it might be better suited for older kids (7 and up) as they will be able to do more of the steps by themselves (like holding nails, hammering them in, and tying knots).

Materials needed:
  • 2x4 piece of wood cut into a square
  • medium grain sandpaper
  • hammer and nails (I used an 1.25" length nails with a head on them: "bright nails")
  • paper
  • scotch or masking tape
  • scissors
  • string
  • ribbon

Step one: Sand down edges of the wood block. I had to show my son how to do this by placing my hand over his and showing him the back and forth movement.

Step Two: Cut out a symmetrical paper heart that fits well on block. Center and place tape on the back and secure it down on wood.

Step Three: Hammer nails down around the edge of the heart spacing them about a half inch apart. I had to hammer in the nails first so they were secure and then I let my son hammer them in more. He was afraid to hold the nail at its base but I encouraged him to, explaining that if he focuses and he is careful he won't hit his hand. He was able to for awhile and then just ended up wielding the hammer with both hands.
Heart shape finished
Step four: Remove paper heart. Tie string around a nail leaving a tail so that you can tie the other end of string to it when done. Wrap the string around the heart a few times to define an outline (I did this part). 

Weave the string back and forth every direction using nails as anchors. My son had a great time doing this part as I expected he would (his favorite pastime is stealing balls of yarn from me and stringing up the house). When finished, adult neatens it up by tightening string and pulling stray strings that wound up on the outside of the heart into the inside. Tie the two ends of string together and cut tails with scissors.

Step five: Center and wrap a ribbon around the edges of the wood block. Then tie a knot at the top as close to the wood as possible. Tie the 2 tails of the ribbon into another knot about 6 inches from the first knot. Hang and enjoy!

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  1. Carolyn,
    Found your blog via the Valentine's blog hop. This is such a lovely heart craft. I remember doing something similar as a kid. Would love to try again with my daughter. Following your blog now... :)
    Love and light!

  2. oh, i love this. i wonder if we could do this times 45? maybe!!!

  3. Super cute! I would like this as much as my kids :-)

  4. So cute! I can't wait to give it a try!


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