Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Pinterest Challenge | Summer Edition

I almost didn't do the Pinterest Challenge this time around.  With this bathroom renovation coming down the home stretch, I didn't think I would be up for it.  But, that's the whole point of the challenge in the first place.  Stop pinning, and start doing!

So, I sucked it up and picked a string art project that I pinned ages ago, (50 weeks ago to be exact - why does Pinterest have to remind me that I'm so behind!):

(From Reason to Read and pinned here on Pinterest)

There are so many different things you can make with nail and string art, but I already had something in mind, (where I was going to put it was a whole different story!).

Since Mike and I have the same first initial, I've always wanted to do something with a play on the fonts - a very girly M next to a masculine M.  I figured this would look good in nail and string, so I started by using Photoshop to come up with a design.  I tried a couple different fonts together but ultimately ended up with modified versions of Antrokas and Sketch Rockwell:    

After finalizing my design, I went to the garage to look for some wood that would work.  Mike keeps a scrap pile of wood, (actually, he has numerous scape piles since he likes to keep all left over pieces, but he has one that fits in a small trash bin that I can easily dig through), and I was able to find a piece of pine that was from the bathroom renovation, (reduce, reuse and recycle baby!), that I cut down to 11" x 8".  Since it was pretty old, (most likely from the old 1970's vanity) it needed a lot of sanding.

Since it was dark and hot outside, I didn't get any pictures, but I did use one of the leftover pieces to see which stains I liked better and you can see how discolored the wood started:

I just used what stain we had in the garage, which was mahogany and ebony.  After the stain comparisons, I chose the ebony, (bottom).  I stained the wood, then added a layer of shellac, (again just what we had already), for an extra layer of protection.  I love how beat up the wood is and how little marks are more noticable with the stain.

Some people on the internet cut their designs out, but I opted to just tape the whole paper on.  The only downside to this was, there were a couple of pieces of paper that stuck to the nails after ripping it off.  Nothing a little tweezer action couldn't handle.

For the nailing, I eyeballed them about 1/2" apart and fudged a little on the thin line parts.

Then you just keep hammering...and hammering.  I got bored and a little tired of the hammering sound so I did it in a couple shifts, but it probably took me about an hour to an hour and a half to finish the nails.  For the hard to reach parts, (like inside the ampersand) I used a pair of flat head pliers to hold the nails in place while I hammered them in.

After tearing the paper back I started wrapping the string by tying a little knot and outlining each letter.  After I made sure I got the outline right, (I had to redo a couple parts on the fancy M because I kept wrapping the wrong nails), I started filling in by crisscrossing and generally going in any direction I felt like.

One tip that I found online was using a mechanical pencil to guide the string through the nail heads.  I just took out all the insides of the pencil and threaded my sting through.  I held the pencil in my right hand like I write and held the sting in my left to keep it tight.  Of course I couldn't do all that and take a picture so I held the pencil in my left to give you an idea:

This is the way it was threaded though after I took the insides and clicker out:

This little handy tool helped out a lot, and made the string threading a lot easier.  I threaded everything while we watched a Netflix movie (Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol - eh).  After I was done with each letter I would twist it around one nail head and then tied a little knot.

The block M turned out a lot better than the cursive M.  The thin lines didn't translate as well, but I still like it.

I even think I've found a place for it on top of the guest room dresser.

If you want to check out what everyone else did for the challenge, go check out the host's pages!

Kate (Centsational Girl), Sherry (Young House Love), Katie (Bower Power), and Michelle (Ten June)


  1. I love all the fine detail in the string - and the font that you chose is awesome!

    Is that the West Elm Hive vase that I spot on your guest room dresser! Love it! (And I see that Young House Love is coincidentally having a giveaway for it now too!)

    1. Thanks Amanda!

      It is the West Elm hive vase! My mom got it for me for Christmas, and I totally entered the YHL giveaway, because who doesn't need two more hive vases for the house!

  2. I love how string art looks, but I thought there would be no way for me to execute something like that! I may just have to try it because you're looks so awesome!

  3. Adorable! I have also been thinking about some string art for god knows how long. Maybe someday......

    Nikki Kelly @ the ambitious procrastinator

  4. I love this so much. I have seen these string arts floating around but wasn't loving them until I saw yours. So cute!

  5. I love string art so much & yours turned out perfectly! I think both of the M's look really great. Genius idea with the pencil!!

  6. Very cute! My hubby and I have the same first initial as well, and that is such a good idea to play on the two letters!

  7. Love this!!! I can't wait to try one!!

  8. This is gorgeous! I'm 100% sure I'd never have the patience to finish it though...

  9. I definitely want to try this! I love the texture and color!

  10. So cool! I did a very simple monogram art too.

  11. Love this idea! It really turned out awesome!

  12. I just did a nail and string project recently and I love seeing different versions! I too hammered through the paper. http://greekwife.blogspot.com/2012/06/nail-and-string-love.html

    1. What a cute idea for a present! Homemade, personal, and inexpensive!

  13. I love this so much! Turned out great- wonderful job!