String pictures are a fun and simple way of creating your own wall art. Originally popular in the 1970’s, they have recently made a comeback. They require very few, inexpensive materials – many of which you can find at home or can be recycled – and are a great craft project for beginners.

The instructions below are for a picture with a wooden base and nails. However, to avoid using a hammer you can also use a cork board base and pins instead.


  • A chosen design
  • Wooded board – any size but at least 5mm thick (or corkboard)
  • Hammer
  • Small nails or panel pins (or drawing pins if using a corkboard)
  • Embroidery or cotton thread
  • Scissors
  • Emulsion or acrylic paint (if required)



If you want your background to be a certain colour, start by painting your wooden board. It can also be left it’s natural colour.

Start marking out your design. To avoid making marks on the wood place a paper copy of your design on the wooden block and hold it in place. You can also work free hand or print out or draw your design on paper, cut it out and mark around it. To avoid having to remove pencil marks later, mark out your design with dots to indicate where the nails will be.

Start hammering the nails (or pins) into the board, making sure they are not too far apart. As a guide, for an A4 size (29x21cm) they should be about between 0.5 – 1cm apart. For detailed designs they may need to be closer together. The nails should be roughly half way through the board, ensuring there is still enough room to wrap thread around them. Keep going until all the nails are in place

If you have hammered the nails through a paper design, now is the time to tear it off. Tear gently so none of the nails are removed.

At one end of your design, tie your thread around the first nail and knot tightly in place. Trim the tail.

Begin wrapping the thread from one nail to the next to create a web. No need to knot each one! By wrapping the thread around the nail tightly from one to the next it will stay in place. Feel free to use different colours if you wish, knotting at the start and end of each piece of thread.

If your design has a blank space, remember to keep this free of thread. You can wrap thread around each nail more than once

When you have used every nail and completed your design, tie the remaining thread to the last nail (keeping it taut) and cut the tail.

Your picture is now ready to hang!



Return to Get Creative…

Images: Holly at