String is a great art medium. Use it to make lampshades, holiday decorations and more. The cost is minimal, materials are widely available and all you need to add is your imagination and personal touch.
You will need:
- · Styrofoam shapes or balloons
- · LED lights, battery operated tea lights or strings
- · Leftover craft wire or hardware cloth and tin snips/wire cutters
- · Cotton string- package twine, crochet cotton, jute twine, sisal twine or other natural string
- · Stiffener- commercial crochet cotton stiffener, paper mache paste, white glue or other stiffener
- · Scissors
- · Waterproofing spray for natural fibers if making outdoor art
- · Wine glasses, dollar store glassware, if desired
- · Small glass pebbles, if desired
Basic String Art
Decide on the item you will make and gather all your materials. Place stiffener in bowl and insert your string. Ensure that you have one end of the string clear so that you do not have to fish for it. Allow the string to soak in the stiffener, but not dry yet.
Purchase paper mache past or make your own.
Mark your shape and attach the first string end with tape. Slowly wrap the string around the shape, keeping the string out of the marked area. When the object is satisfactorily covered with string, glue the end in place and allow to dry for 24-48 hours. Remove the shape.
For outdoor art, spray with waterproofing before using and allow to dry.
After 24 hours, the art can be spray painted while it is on the form.
Party Favor/Snack Bowl
Wrap a round metal bowl with plastic wrap and secure with tape. Tape one end of the string around the edge and wrap around the rim several times. Begin turning the string to the sides, across the bottom and back up to the side. Create a pattern or use a random wraps. When dry, remove the bowl and the plastic wrap. Spray paint if desired. To use as snack bowl, line with plastic wrap and fill.
Tea Lantern Lampshades
Choose a Styrofoam cone large enough to make a lampshade for each glass. For fun, use different sized glasses and make a lampshade for each one. Mark the cone, wrap with string and allow to dry. Remove and place over glass; a straight lower edge is not necessary. Place the cone on a stand and make a lacy-looking edge, glue on a crocheted lace edge or use hot glue to attach a beaded edge to the shades.
Place small glass pebbles in wine glasses to provide a surface for tea lights. Insert a battery-operated tea light in each glass.
Use a balloon that matches the size of globe desired. Mark the top in a circle that allows your light bulb to pass through. Wrap the balloon, keeping the string out of that area. Hang the balloon to dry. Untie the balloon; this allows the air to escape and reuse the balloon.
Gift Box Or Bag
Mark a Styrofoam block 1/3 of the way from the top. Mark all the way around, creating a placement for a lid and bottom. If a block of wood is used, cover with plastic wrap first and then mark.
Any box shape will work such as rectangles, squares, hearts and so forth.
Wrap the string around the block, ensuring the string does not cross the marked line. After the bottom is removed, make the top or use two molds. Use decorative ribbon to create hinges for the back and to make a tie for the front. Fill the box with a gift wrapped in tissue paper.
For a bag, use a Styrofoam block or wood that resembles a bag, mark the top and proceed as before. The top does not have to be straight; unusual edges are spectacular.
Decorate the box or bag with beads, ribbons or other embellishments.
Make three round shapes with balloons, leaving a small opening at the top. Once balloons are removed, glue together in a snowman shape and decorate. For fun, leave the openings large enough to insert battery-operated tea lights. A top hat can cover the top opening.
There are two basic ways to make a string art pumpkin. The first is to use a round balloon and make a basic shape. When dry, paint to resemble a pumpkin.
Carve a Styrofoam shape to create a pumpkin and draw a circle around the top, taking care to press the string into the grooves on the shape. When dry, carefully carve the Styrofoam to remove.
Alternatively, fill a plastic wrap bag with Styrofoam beads and press into a pumpkin shape. Tying the shape with string helps it to hold the shape. Wrap as before, but do not remove shape yet. Measure the top opening and make a shape to create a string top that overlaps the opening by a half inch. Remove the beads from the shapes and pour into a container. Remove the plastic wrap and paint the pumpkin. Paint eyes and a mouth or carefully cut them out with a pair of sharp scissors. Soak more string with glue and paste on the pumpkin to outline the cutouts.
Place blinking or changing color battery operated LED lights inside.
Create two small shapes with small balloons or plastic wrap filled with tissue paper. Wrap as with other shapes and allow to dry. Create two shapes and glue together for abdomen and thorax. Attach pipe cleaner legs or create legs from string and glue.
Insert battery operated LED lights, if desired. Be sure to leave enough opening for this if desired.
Decorated Party Lantern
Single-ply string is not the only item that works with this art form. Wrap a balloon with various crocheted cotton laces or trims filled with beads. As each horizontal trim is added, tie each in place at various points with string. This takes the most time because keeping the trims in place while tying the strings can be cumbersome. Make the last piece of trim touch just the edge of the marked circle at the top. Allow to dry and proceed as for the light globe.
Christmas Tree Ornaments And Decorations
Use holiday cotton manufactured with glitter strips for Christmas tree ornaments. Use various sizes of Styrofoam cones to create string trees to display on mantelpieces or hang on the tree. Small balloons are great to use as shapes for ornaments.
Use balloons in any unusual shape to create party decorations. Cover balloon animals to create a lasting decoration to display on a shelf or hang from a hook.
- · It is not necessary to use plain white cotton string. Any color will do, including multi-colored or variegated colors.
- · Blow up all balloons and tie the ends before wrapping with coated string.
- · Use sisal and jute twine for rustic or outdoor art. Allow the size of cotton string to match the object. For example, gift boxes, tea light lampshades and Christmas ornaments look daintier made with regular or fine crochet cotton. Regular cotton twine works best for large globes and objects subjected to wear and tear.
- · If untying a balloon is not an option, for example, a zigzag shaped balloon, pull the tied end and insert a pin into the balloon near the knot. This allows the air to escape instead of blowing it up and possibly damaging the string art.
- · Place small string art shape such as bells, balls, spiders and other shapes over LED string lights; creating custom light strings for parties, weddings and celebrations.
- · Make a hanging light by purchasing a light socket, extended power cord, hanging hooks and switch from the DIY store. Make the globe with the opening large enough to fit the light socket and a bulb inside. Use spare craft wire or hardware cloth cut with tin snips to hold the globe in place over the light bulb.
- · Because the string is natural cotton, heat may cause damage. It is recommended that LED or CFL lights be used instead of incandescent bulbs.
Create custom decorations for graduations, home décor, gift giving, the holidays, weddings and more with string art. It costs pennies and the results are fantastic.
Source: The author of this article has over 40 years of experience in diverse subjects and skills such as DIY, home improvement and repair, crafting, designing, and building furniture, outdoor projects, RV’ing and more.