String art for kids is possible! This is a quick and easy way for kids to create by making it cardboard string art (and without using nails)!
Did you know string art started as an educational tool to teach children math concepts? Now, it is quite popular and viewed more as a form of art.
String art usually involves creating a shape on a piece of wood using nails and string.
I love the way it looks and thought it would be fun to try with my daughters.
So, I created my own version of string art. No wood cutting or hammering involved… and without nails. Adult assistance is still required, though.
(If this string art is still too technical for your little one, try one of these simple threading activities for young kids. You can do more than just threading beads with toddlers! See how to thread buttons, straws, egg cartons, leaves, pasta, pool noodles, and more.)
To make string art for kids to do, gather these supplies:
- 2 rectangles cut from a cardboard box*
- wide tape
- flat tacks
*Any thick cardboard should work. I used a razor blade to cut rectangles from a cardboard box. Each rectangle was the size of a piece of computer paper. Two rectangles were needed for each string art craft, so I cut a total of four rectangles for my two daughters.
Kids Help Prep for Their String Art Project
First, paint one side of one cardboard rectangle to make it look a little nicer. This isn’t completely necessary, but a nice colorful touch.
We painted a side that did not have any words. One of my daughters used a foam brush to paint her cardboard pink.
My other daughter used a foam roller to paint the cardboard for her string art black.
Then, let the paint dry.
Place the painted piece of cardboard paint-side-up on top of the piece of cardboard that was not painted.
Tape all of the edges together to make a thicker piece of cardboard. (You’ll need it to be two layers thick due to the depth of the tacks. I made a mistake we ran into later with this.)
We used blue painter’s tape for our project. Any wide tape should work as long as it sticks to the cardboard.
I made the mistake of doing this step towards the end, which caused some difficulties.
The easiest way to get the tape to wrap around the edges was to cut a piece of tape the length of one side.
Then, put half of the width of tape on the top piece of cardboard and flattened it out.
After that, I folded the tape over the bottom piece of cardboard and smoothed it out.
The tape held the two pieces of cardboard together and added a unique frame.
The Kids Can Start Creating Their String Art!
Next, draw or trace a shape on a piece of paper.
Then, cut out the paper shape.
Next, gently push tacks about halfway into the cardboard around the piece of paper. The tacks should be spaced about 1 to 1.5 inches apart. But, they don’t need to be exact!
One of my daughters traced and cut a cross shape to make an Easter string art. Then, she added her tacks.
My other daughter made a heart shape. Which also works well for a Spring craft.
Any shape should work.
There is some crazy string art out there! Be inspired.
Once you’ve completely pinned around your shape, you can then remove the paper shape (very carefully) without pulling away any tacks.
If the tacks fall out, you can just put them back in. It won’t be the end of the world.
Next, to begin the string art process, tie the end of a piece of string to one of the tacks. (I did this step.)
Then, you’ll gently loop the string around each of the tacks on the outside of the shape.
And continue on, wrapping the string across the inside of the shape if desired.
This is great fine motor practice!
It’s easiest if you apply slight pressure to the top of the tacks while looping around them.
This helps keep them in place.
Keeping the string a little tight also helped.
When you’re all done, cut the string. Then, tie a small knot on the last tack.
We didn’t cut the string until my daughters were done “stringing”. I didn’t want to accidentally cut it too short and have to tie multiple knots.
Your String Art can be Simple or Intricate!
One of my daughters decided to only do the outside of her shape before she was done with her string art. So, I tied it off at the end.
My other daughter decided she wanted the string on the inside of her cross shape.
Again, I offered assistance when needed.
When she said she was finished, I cut and tied off her string, too.
After you’ve tied off the strings of the kid’s string art masterpiece, have them push the tacks in all the way.
Unfortunately, this is when we added our tape on the outside. I wish I would have added the second layer of cardboard at the beginning of our project!
The tacks went right through the first piece of cardboard since it wasn’t thick enough. Oh well. Lesson learned.
My daughters enjoyed pushing all of the tacks into the cardboard.
Go ahead and show it off! Display your kid’s string art masterpiece! No one will even know it’s made out of cardboard.
Making it out of cardboard makes this a fast and easy craft to do with the kids, and takes out a lot of the prep work traditional string art would take.