Feather String Art

Summer Round Up – Part 2

All Strung Out

Welcome back to my Summer Round Up! I hope you gave ‘This Way To The Lake’ a go. If not, you can go here to catch up! I’ve got you covered for another crafty installment of summer time reminiscing.

I’m gonna be straight with you. This project is much more time consuming. But don’t let that put you off. This is one that again, you can opt out of a step or two without impacting the overall look. It’s just a preference thing. It’s also one that you can start and stop at any time. Part of it you can do while watching your favourite show – or football. Whatevs! I will also warn you that you will feel like a demented woodpecker! Haha!


The Summer Round Up series is inspired by crafts reminiscent of our childhood, woven with memories of our summer. Today we’re reliving the ‘70’s with string art. Now before you turn away, remember we are being inspired and putting our own modern twist to it.

What kid hasn’t found a bird’s feather and pocketed it? I love the shapes and hues of feathers. The beauty of this subject is that you can make it look as realistic or fanciful as you want, simple colours, brights, metallics or patterns. They sky and your imagination are limitless.

Ready? Let’s gather our supplies:

  • Wooden board (soft wood)
  • Hammer
  • ½” wire nails 19 gauge (I found these in Walmart’s hardware section)
  • Needle nose pliers
  • Embroidery floss
  • Clear nail polish
  • Fine point scissors
  • Optional – stain, polyurethane, paint, tissue paper, picture hangers, tweezers


I’ll leave the size and type of wooden board up to you. Why? Let’s not be too literal here. I want you to use your creativity. Maybe you have a piece of barn board begging to be used (and if you’re not using it, can I have it??!!). Or maybe the idea you have would look great with a painted background. Or maybe you have a little case of OCD and want to be able to dust it with ease (not that I would know anything about that….:|) So, use whatever you like, just make sure it’s a soft kind of wood like pine to make hammering in nails easier. I stained and then polyed my board.

Cut a piece of paper the same size as your board and sketch out your pattern. Add colours and patterns. This will be your reference drawing.

Do as I say and not as I did! Using Tracing Paper, copy the outline and tape it to your board. You will be hammering the nails into this copy on the board.

Use the pliers to hold the nail in place and hammer away. The width of the plier tip is a great depth for the nails and will ensure all your nails end up at the same height. Just try holding one of the nails while hammering. Yeah, you’re welcome! The more nails you use, the more detailed your image will be. Just make sure you space your nails as evenly as possible (eyeball it). Follow your outline. Depending on how detailed your image is I strongly suggest you remove the tissue paper now!

Because the end of the feather had wispy edges, I needed the paper to make sense of the nail outline. Hindsight is a wonderful thing…. I should have removed the paper after the initial threading of the wispy edges. *sigh*

To tie the embroidery thread to the nail, I made a loop with a long tail. Tighten the loop to the nail, dab a little nail polish on the thread and then complete the knot. The nail polish helps the thread from slipping and keeps it tight while you complete the knot. Cut the tail off as close to the knot as possible and dab the knot again with nail polish.

Because my image was a feather, I wanted very straight, clean lines just like the individual filaments. This required a little fore thought to where I started each colour, and how I looped and what direction I looped the thread in.

This does not mean that if you chose a feather pattern as well, you need to be so precise. In fact, I encourage you to try it another way. Generally speaking, you loop your thread around one nail and then somewhat higgledy piggely loop to another and then another. You may even loop around a nail more than once. That’s the beauty of this kind of art. You really can’t mess it up. And if you don’t like the pattern you’ve created with the thread, it’s easy enough to unloop and start again. You want the thread to cross over and overlap each other. Do this for each colour if you have more than one

I know it hasn’t escaped you that you are (possibly) looping thread over a piece of tissue paper, basically trapping it. Remember when I said use tissue paper? Well I didn’t. Trying to rip regular paper out from between tiny nails and not disturb the thread required the use of tweezers and a whooooooole lotta patience!

Once you’ve finished looping, and cursing me if you didn’t heed my earlier advice, stand back and admire your amazing craftiness! You rocked it! I knew you could. And you didn’t even get strung out….. !


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