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DIY string art has always been a fun looking craft that I’ve always wanted to try. So for Valentine’s Day this year, I decided to make a string art heart shape. I figured doing a simple shape as my first attempt was a good choice. So let me share the instructions with you all. And I just want you to know that string art looks super simple but there’s a little bit of work involved.

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Supplies Needed for DIY String Art

  • scrap piece of wood
  • wire nails
  • cotton string or yarn
  • hammer
  • drill and 1/16″ drill bit (if your wood is a hardwood you will want to pre-drill)
  • Stain (if you choose to stain the wood background)
An unfinished wood block with a yellow paper heart on top laying next to a drill, a hammer, a red ball of string and a small plastic box of nails

The first step was to cut my template. I used my Cricut to cut my heart shape but you could just free hand a heart shape too. I would suggest using cardstock as it will hold up to the nails against it. I used a piece of painter’s tape to attach the template to the wood. In my head I thought well this is going great and started trying to put the nails in.

A yellow paper heart with a green piece of painters tape on the back
A yellow cardstock heart on top of an unfinshed wood piece

Well, my wood ended up being very hard (it was a piece of scrap I found.) And so the nails started bending when I tried to nail them in. So I decided to pre-drill the holes with the smallest drill bit I had which was a 1/16″. This actually ended up working very well.

An edge of a yellow paper heart on an unfinished piece of wood with a drill and small drill bit on the right side

I didn’t measure in between each of the holes where the nails would go, I am more the type that just eye-balls it. But I did find that you will want the nails with a little space in between and not having the nail heads touch each other.

A side view of a cardstock yellow heart on an unfished piece of wood with small drill holes around the outer edge of the heart

Once all the holes have been pre-drill, I took off my template. And then hammered each nail into the holes, sometimes you will have to hit it just a little bit harder so that it sets into the wood and isn’t loose.

An above view of a heart shape on an unfinished piece of wood with nails in part of the board in the shape of a heart
An above view of a finished heart out of nails in a piece of unfinished wood

Now comes the fun part: the string. I used this string that I found on Amazon, you could also use yarn, although yarns can be a lot thicker. If you use the yarn I would suggest spacing the nails further apart, since you will have to go around each nail multiple times and with yarn it could be challenging due to the thickness.

A close up of the bottom corner of a nail heart with a red string attached

To start I tied a double knot to the the nail at the bottom and left a tail of the string, keep that there till the end. I then started wrapping the string randomly around on all the nail heads. Another tip: keep the string tight as you wind it around, otherwise it will start unraveling (I found this out the hard way and that is why there are no picture of progress while doing this. I just kept going around and around in a random pattern until I got the look that I had desired.

A close up of the edge of a completed string art to show the tie off of the last piece

Once I got to a desired stopping point I wound it back down at the bottom, and wound it around the same nail that I’d started with multiple times. And then tied it with the small tail that I had left at the beginning. I again tied a double knot, and then cut off the ends and tucked, the knot, as best as I could inside the string art so that it’s hidden.

A pink string art heart on a dark brown piece of wood sitting next to a red string art heart on an unfinished piece of wood on a wood mantel
A pink string art heart on a dark wood board sitting on a mantel with wooden beads and a plant behind

And then now I have my completed DIY string art heart. I ended up making two and did one with the wood surface stained and also did the one with the unfinished surface. And I think both look great. It is definitely a personal preference to stain the wood but I do think it helps the lighter color stand out against the wood.

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