For people of any age, the most thrilling part of woodworking is the projects. What if you have a very young beginner. Start with String Thing! This is an easy string art project with a huge “wow” factor and it’s a great way to get kids comfortable with woodworking skills such as measuring and using a hammer and nails.

Kids can use any kind of string for this string art project — kitchen string, mason’s line, embroidery thread, yarn, or whatever you have in the house. Smaller fingers might find it easiest to use yarn at first, since it’s easy to wrap and tie. Multicoloured yarn gives the illusion of different-coloured string without the work of tying each color separately.

Grip the handle of your hammer with your dominant hand — that’s the hand you write with. You may want to “choke up” (hold the hammer near its head) when starting a nail because it will give you better control of your hammer.

Grab a nail with your free hand, holding the nail shaft between your thumb and index finger. Set the nail point on your board. Keeping the nail straight, tap gently on the head of the nail a few times with the face of your hammer. Tap until the nail sticks into the wood and stands up on its own.

Pulling a Nail

If a nail is bent or in the wrong spot, you can use the claw on your hammer to pull it out.

Hold the hammer upside down and slide the claw underneath the head of the nail. Pull back on the handle so the claw lifts up, pulling the nail with it.

Make a String Thing

Make colorful artwork as you practice using a hammer! Start with a simple design that gives you plenty of room to hammer and to fix. As you gain confidence try using smaller nails and tighter spacing to create your own string art masterpiece. You can even use out photos or hand-drawn illustrations as a nailing guide.

What Do You Need?

Safety glasses

1× board, of any size or shape
Blue low-tack or masking tape
1¼-inch common nails or finish nails

Set Your Pattern

Step 1. Set the pattern you will follow on your board.

If you are planning to center your string art on the board, start by marking the center of the board, using this simple trick:

  • Use a ruler to draw a line diagonally across the board from one corner to the opposing corner. (If your board is longer than your ruler, use a straight piece of lumber.)
  • Repeat with the other two corners. Where the lines cross is the center.

Step 2. Mark the points on the pattern where you’ll put nails. You can use a pencil to mark the points. If your pattern is an image you’ve taped onto your board, mark the points on the image, and then use a hammer to gently tap a nail through the paper and into the board at each point, as shown here:

Keeping at least 1½ inches between nails will make the hammering and stringing easier. Spacing them more closely together is more but allows for more complex stringing patterns.

If you’re working with a circle or other symmetrical shape, you may want the nails to be spaced equally along the lines you’ve marked. If you’re working with an irregular shape, make sure you put a nail anywhere the direction changes, like corners.