How to make string art with 100+ kids

The actual Art of Giving event happened on April 11th. It was a super fun event where kids (patients from the hospital and from the community) made collaborative art projects with local artists, and each piece of art was sponsored by a local business. Y’all, a business actually paid $10,000 for the piece of art that me and 100+ kids made together! Crazy freakin’ town. The money raised benefited the Child Life Art and Music Therapies Endowments at Dell Children’s Medical Center. How awesome is that?

The challenge was thinking up an art project that could be made with 100+ kids, and be worthy of hanging in a fancy office building! Here’s what we did (I say we because my mom and Andy helped a lot with the prep work!):

How to make string art with 100+ kids!

What you need to make string art:

  • 3/4 inch plywood (possibly a saw or ask Home Depot to cut your board down to size)
  • 4 boxes of Linoleum nails (Easy to find in the hardware section at Home Depot)
  • Drill with a 1/16th drill bit
  • Template (
  • Triple Thick Polyurethane
  • Hammer
  • Yard stick
  • Embroidery Floss
  • Sharpie
  • Paper plate or card stock (to make a string holder: only necessary if you are working with kids so that the floss doesn’t get so tangled)

String art is so fun and fairly simple to make. First, you need a board. We used a scrap piece of 3/4 inch plywood we had leftover from another project and cut it down to a 3 feet by 3 feet square. Andy sanded it to make it nice and smooth. Depending on the quality of your plywood, you may or may not need to sand. Then, I used this awesome new Triple Thick Polyurethane Rustoleum product and painted a clear coat over the board. Literally one coat and it looked like 3 coats, thus the name, Triple Thick. Freakin’ greatness.

So, now that your board is prepped, you need to decide what you want to string. In my opinion, simple is better and easier.  We did “Q2” because that is name of the company that was sponsoring my art piece. Next, you have to make a template so that you know where to place the nails. is a free site that allows to enlarge any image. Once all 8 pages were printed and taped together, I centered and taped them on the plywood board, like so:

How to make string art

Now, it’s time to put in the nails! I measured and made a dot every half of an inch. I decided on half an inch because I wanted to make sure the curve of the “Q” and “2” were well defined. If your are planning on stringing something less curvy, you can probably space the nails out more. While I was measuring, Andy used a 1/16th drill bit and pre drilled holes for the linoleum nails. Then, we used a hammer and nailed each nail into the pre drilled hole. We ran out of nails mid “2”, and…

How to make string art

… I left to go to Snap. It’s a blog conference for creatives that happens every year in Salt Lake City. My mom came to town to watch Max for the night and I was waking up super early to hop on a plane to go to Salt Lake City. Andy and Mom to the rescue! They finished up the nails on the outside border so that it would be ready to go when I got home late on Friday night. The kiddos were showing up to craft at the Art of Giving on Saturday morning at 10am! A note about the border of nails, I did what is called reverse string art. So the string is in the negative space, and the “Q2″ is plain. I decided to do this so that there was more space for kids to string! Right before the kids starting pouring in, I decoded to do a strand of floss as an example.

String artAnother last minute detail that made a huge difference was making these little string organizers out of paper plates. I just cut a butterfly shape in a paper plate and wrapper an entire strand of embroidery floss around each one.  I did not want to deal with untangling floss all day. These little guys worked perfectly. These little organizers also helped with crowd control. I had 4 of these ready to go and set one up on each side of the board. So at any one time, I could have 4 kiddos working on string art.

How to make string art with kids

I mean how cute is spiderman working on string art? (All of the pictures below are from the Zachary Conley Photography!)

How to make string art


It was so interesting to see what kind of “stringer” a kid was. From my 8 hours of observation, there were 3 types 1) Orderly: Some kids liked to string a very orderly method, see the red diagonal lines above the “2” in the bottom right corner of the picture? 2) Crazy:  Some kids (me!) are spider webber’s, just zig the string every which way. 3) Borders: A few kids liked to loop the string around the border nails to make straight lines.

String art

And here is the finished product! I also really like how it ended up being color blocked, basically in rainbow order! The red starts in the upper right hand corner, and then blends to orange and yellow. And then Green is in the lower right hand corner, and blends to blue, indigo and violet in the upper left hand corner! That was not the plan at all, just a happy little accident! Oh and tomorrow, I actually get to go to Q2’s office and be a part of presenting the art piece to the entire company! (I’m sure I’ll share a pic or 2 via insta, if you are interested.)

String artHave you ever done a collaboartive art project? With Kids? Adults? I’m all about it! So fun :) I mean what an awesome idea for a fundraiser, right?! Oh and for tons more pics, check out the Dell Children’s Trust facebook page!

DIY Birthday Gifts {+ free printable}

Maxwell’s babysitter’s birthday was last week and I whipped her up a cute, little something. (She’s also an awesome wedding invitation designer, just in case you’re in the market!) I’ve actually been giving friends candles for their birthday a lot lately. I just write my cheesy little saying in the card instead of using a cute, free printable.

Free printable birthday gift idea for anyone!


{Download Free Printable HERE}

All you need is a candle, a piece of card stock, ribbon or string, and the free printable. Download the printable, print, add a hole punch, and tie it up! Voila. Since 4 printables come on a sheet, I actually made up all four and have 3 more candle gifts ready to go. So, invite me to your b-day party. OK :) Oh and I rounded the corners of the printable. But, clearly, you can do whatever you want. And did you see the name of the candle: Crazy Cat Lady. Ha! Love it. And it smells really good. Megan is not a crazy cat lady, I just love how this one smells! The Burlap Bag is a store that sells all handmade goods in Austin. (I’ve hosted a few events there, remember this one?) Anyhow, the Burlap Bag also makes and sells their own candles. And they have silly names, like The Queen of Farts and Unicorn Puke. Just for fun, you can see them all here.

DIY Birthday Gifts

Another fun, DIY birthday gift idea with a free printable: “I hope your birthday is a whole lotto fun!

diy birthday gifts

And for 100+ more DIY birthday gifts ideas, check out this post:

101 Birthday Ideas for Friends