As the Christmas season approaches like a malevolent glacier, you may find yourself with many cardboard boxes, most likely from Amazon. I must urge you in the strongest terms to make box forts. Failing that, I have a few ideas for you, if you have the time, scissors, and string.

materials for string art project

As I was cutting the unsuspecting piece of cardboard, I was reminded of the days of my youth, where I cut slits into the edge of a piece of cardboard. Such nostalgia. Back then, I only wrapped the yarn around vertically, making a small loom. I then put together some Legos for a shuttle, and set about weaving. That was a terrible idea, and it came out squished looking. If you are going to make cloth out of string, you should knit, or possibly crochet. Speaking of which, that light blue string is in fact, crochet yarn/string/whatever, that I bought mostly for the color.

Seamless segue, perfect. So, cut slits in the sides of the cardboard, and try to keep the same number of slits on opposite sides; it looks better. After that, just mess around a lot, try out different angles, see if you can’t get a pattern going.

String art in progress

You don’t need to confine yourself to mutilating the sides of cardboard; pushpins provide nice anchor points for all sorts of designs. This would be a good time to dig up any middle school and/or high school papers and mine them for doodle design inspiration. That is more or less the source of the header picture, that lovely curve made up of entirely straight lines. If you are ambitious, you can use that same technique on a larger scale to make the sails of a sailing ship.

string art in progress

If you are having traumatic flashbacks to geometry, you have my sympathy. Maybe I could try something a little less abstract, like a tree. In some ways, you can be a bit more casual about your pushpin placement, since it doesn’t depend on even spacing for effect. However, this takes more planning, and a certain vision, like x-ray vision. In fact, look back up at that picture. Think about how it will look when the string is played out.

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string art

Is this what you imagined? Yes? No? Kinda? Honestly, is this how Dora the Explorer writers feel? I’m just going to assume you agree with me, because that is a comforting illusion.

string art back

Now, face the harsh reality that when you put pointy things in cardboard, they stick out the back. This can work for you, if you don’t mind many, many holes in the wall when you hang your art proudly. Otherwise, you might want to get several layers of cardboard, and make your art on that. Tape those suckers together, and it feels oddly substantial, as if it was actually a canvas frame painted with fine art. If you are like me, and didn’t think of this until too late, it isn’t too troublesome to push the tacks into the other layers, but it does mess with the angles somewhat. At that point, you should carefully lift the tack, and push it into a slightly different spot.

string art spot

That windowsill is the new Louvre. Speaking of fine art, if you are so enamored with what you made, try using polished wood, nails, and wire to achieve the same effect. I’m pretty sure you could sell that stuff to both pretentious youths and amiable old people; it has a wide appeal.

string art

Depending on your subject matter, I would recommend packing tape, or duct tape for the frame and to keep the cardboard layers together. Packing tape has a certain elegance and minimalism, all the better to focus on the string art. Duct tape is incredibly shoddy looking, and I encourage you to use flame decal tape. I must admit that normal duct tape framing lends an industrial, blue-collar edge to the composition, and everyone loves duct tape.

While I heartily endorse following my example, that of finding art in the miscellaneous drawer of life, I must urge you once more: Build a box fort, they are the best.

Brandon Quist About Brandon Quist
Brandon is originally from Olmsted Falls, Ohio. He has studied both at Baldwin Wallace college and Brigham Young University, and is currently pursuing Chemical Engineering, among other things. He considers himself a jack of all trades, and a master of none. In his spare time, Brandon enjoys knitting, guitar, reading, origami, writing, and photography.

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