Simple DIY String Art

So, our apartment is…quirky to say the least. We have a window to the kitchen in the bathroom (no, seriously. hi! i’m peeing!), our bedroom fits a queen size bed and nothing else, and our living room walls are basically warped plywood panels over brick. We sometimes have attacks of what we facetiously call “friends,” or sprickets. Tiny suicidal spawns of satan, they are. Did you know they jump TOWARD perceived enemies as a defense tactic? Cute.

But hey, the rent is cheap and our location couldn’t be better. We somehow managed to make this place cute with a little paint and some ingenuity. We have a little back patio that faces Rock Creek Park and a DRIVEWAY (almost unheard of in the city), so we deal with the quirks and everything is peachy keen.

Anyways, because we have plywood/brick masquerading as drywall, we really can’t hang pictures. I don’t really trust those command hook things with our framed art, so we’ve been living with blank walls for a year. So. Boring. Since I spend most of my waking hours in our living room/batcave/home office I’ve been staring at these dumb plain walls a lot lately, and finally was pushed over the edge and into action.

Years ago I lived in an apartment with a huge amount of wall space, and was young and poor enough at the time that I didn’t have any artwork big enough to suit the space. So, I hammered some thumb tacks into the wall and played around with blue string until I had a neat geometric string…thing.

A few months ago I was reminded of my previous endeavors by this post on Panda Head Blog. I love Morgan’s use of contrasting colors and layering!

Today, I finally got around to taking the time to un-dumb my walls.

Behold, the least expensive thing you can do to spruce up any wall, big or small!


10-15 map tacks, more if you’re working with a large space

String or yarn in a color that accents your walls, thinner is better

Acrylic paint (optional)

That’s IT. Seriously, this is the easiest thing ever. You absolutely cannot screw this up. I have faith in you. My DOGS could do this. And they’re…special. So.




string-mural-1If you’re not a fan of the color of your map pins, stick them in a scrap piece of cardboard and paint them! I had some leftover paint in the same color as our walls so I used that to hopefully help the pins blend in and disappear. This was just the particular effect I was going for. Gold or another bright complementary color could also be super cute.

Start jamming pins in your wall. Typically the goal here would be to make your design fairly abstract and geometric. I have plans in mind for a future complementary lighting project so I’m making my string-thing vaguely cloud-like in anticipation. I started by placing a few pins to mark what will be the outline of my design. [Now, I have to apologize for the gross lack of decent lighting in my living room. These photos were taken between like 12 and 3pm and yet I still receive <1% sunlight in my cave of an apartment. Incandescent lighting sucks ass. I futzed around with these in Photoshop until my retinas detached out of sheer boredom, so it is what it is.]


string-mural-4At this point you’ll want to tie your string to one of the pins and start mapping out your design. This part honestly takes a lot of winding, standing back and pondering, jamming more pins, re-winding, and hemming and hawing. I suggest taking pictures of your progress along the way to help you decide what works and what doesn’t; this really helped me visualize and plan more efficiently than just staring blankly at the wall, especially when working on a larger chunk of space. As an aside, I find that this whole “take a picture” method of analyzing/self-critique to be MAJORLY helpful when creating. This probably exists as an actual Thing or Method, but who knows. Maybe it’s just me, but taking a photo of something I’m working on helps me to see things more objectively, or in a different light.

Note: this is kinda a pain, but the OCD in me is telling me to tell you to avoid doubling the string over itself because it just doesn’t look as clean that way (but, maybe you dig messy, and that’s okay). I’m weird and wouldn’t let myself cut the string and start over again to avoid double strings because art, but feel free to just cut the damn string and start over if you’ve strung yourself into a corner (ba dum TSH). I won’t tell.

If you’re me, you’ll continue doing this for, oh, 3 hours or so until you’re finally satisfied.

If your brain has the proper chemical balance, this should only take about 20 minutes.


Reward yourself by attempting to look smart while reading WIRED or perhaps The Economist in front of your new fancy wall. Go ahead and post that “dudes look what I made” selfie on Instagram with zero shame. You earned it, baby.



  • Blue

    06.01.2017 at 14:36 Reply

    LOVE melissa shoes! I have the ones in the top right corner.. they are so comfy!Love your blog, by the way!I also wanted to let you know that I’m hosting a faieson-themhd contest on my blog right now, you should totally enter!check it out!

  • Doug

    01.08.2014 at 01:47 Reply

    That is a really cool idea! I need to find an open wall to do that on here.

    • Elizabeth

      01.08.2014 at 16:19 Reply

      Glad you liked it Doug! It’s one of those super simple (and inexpensive!) projects that packs a punch design-wise.

  • Kendra

    31.07.2014 at 15:59 Reply

    I’m thinking this would look great in that big empty space above my headboard. Now to convince the husband…

    • Elizabeth

      31.07.2014 at 17:41 Reply

      This is the PERFECT project for that awkward above-headboard space!! Almost like a giant modern dreamcatcher :)

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  • Amy

    31.07.2014 at 08:04 Reply

    Good idea!

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