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If I’m being honest I have a love hate relationship with Christmas decorating. I HATE fluffing up the Christmas tree itself but I LOVE trimming it but then I HATE when I feel like I have to move 10 different ornaments around 10 different times to get placement I’m happy with. Do you do that? Put an ornament on only to take it off and move it here, there, everywhere and even, quite possibly, back to the place it originally started because you’ve moved them around so much that you don’t even have a clue where it freaking started out at anyway?!? (I’m legit making myself a bit panicky, here :)
Well I also have a love hate relationship with string art. You know that business where you drive a bazillion nails into a piece of wood to wrap string around those nails to create a picture? I’ve done the traditional gig on a piece of pallet wood but then I put lights behind it to illuminate it and I’ve gone the more non-traditional route making a string art zombie on a fresh pumpkin <– equally awesome as it was depressing when the pumpkin started to rot and get gross but fake pumpkins weren’t quite as popular in those days and they were STUPID EXPENSIVE.
Well, I love the idea of string art and I’m gung hot to get started because I just love the way it looks. But about halfway through tapping in all of those little nails I’m OVER IT. And then when I’m wrapping the string around all of those little nails I have flashbacks to scratching my fingers when trying to floss my teeth with braces. But you know what? Even though I HATE those aspects of it (basically the creation, I suppose :) I LOVE the way it looks. But I have to say in all honesty, though I love these finished string art snowflakes, this DIY kind of suuuuucks. :)
Before I remembered that I don’t like it once I get started, I found a couple of big wood plaques I decided to turn into BIG Christmas ornaments and do them up with some string art. At their biggest, my string art snowflake Christmas ornaments are 7 inches in diameter (which in all honesty is better suited as wall decor than on a tree because of the weight). Once I started making the 2 big plaques I had in the stash, I decided that I wanted a few a bit smaller to accompany them and I hit up the craft store where I got a set of 4 for $3. Now I’m trying to be cheap this Christmas DIY season but I really wanted to make these so I think it was probably the most expensive project on my to do list this year. It’ definitely the one I bitched about the most as I worked on it, poor Mr. Rob :)
But in the end, these BIG ornaments (not big enough to be giant like these suckers from a few weeks ago but larger than the typical Christmas ornament) turned out to be some of my favorites. Would I make them again? Heck yes! Would I whine and moan while I did it? Definitely. Am I hoping you’ll make them anyway? Heck, yes!
For this project you will need:
- Round wood plaques (mine are 4″ and 7″)
- Rounded corner rectangle wood shapes (mine are 3 x 2″ and 3.5 x 4.5″)
- #18, 5/8″ Wire nails
- Small hammer and needle-nose pliers
- Sturdy ribbon/string
- Hot glue
- Aleene’s The Ultimate (optional)
- Snowflake shapes printed (find online or use my snowflake design here)
First up let’s talk nails. In order to wind string around these guys they need to have a decent sized head. As such do NOT buy wire brads because they have no head to speak of, like trim nails, and it would be a disaster. These nails are perfect for those traditional round wood plaques you can get at any hobby store.
Yup, those guys. Paint or stain your wood plaques and give plenty of time to dry. Also paint your rectangle pieces a metallic color (mine are silver), they will act as your ornament toppers.
Print out a snowflake shape to size and place in the center of your painted plaque.
Begin tapping wire nails into the design, outlining the shape.
These nails are tiny and my fingers are fat and clumsy so I hold onto the nails with a pair of needle-nose pliers…
Holding the nail in place I can smack that business with a little lightweight hammer without damaging my fingers. Now my hammer is actually a toy from Lowe’s but for little projects like this with repetitive hammering, this tiny hammer is amazing and doesn’t wear my arm out as quickly as a regular sized hammer.
As you tap in the nails be careful not to overcrowd them around the shape. You’ll need to be able to get in between them easily to wrap the string around and complete the string art design.
Once the design has been lined with nails remove the paper template and tie on a piece of string. This is actually crochet thread.
Begin wrapping the string around the nails, following the shape of your design.
You can fill in the design by randomly connecting the string over nails…
… or you can simply go the opposite direction winding the string around to make a double edge around the shapes.
I prefer this method when the design is small, limiting the number of nails available to fill the inside shape with. Once the design is done tie off the end of your string, using glue if you need to keep it in place (see my glob, ugh, be more careful than me :)
To finish grab a sturdy glue (because wood plaques can be a bit heavy) and and apply it to the bottom front portion of the wood rectangle.
Set the plaque on top and give the glue time to dry (according to package directions).
Once that has dried heat up your hot glue gun and run a matching metallic cord (this is from the Christmas ribbon section of a craft store) and begin adhering it to the edge of the plaque on top of the rectangle.
Using the hot glue (carefully!) trace the edges of the rectangle, sticking the cord to it. Once you reach the middle, top of the piece create a large loop to act as the ornaments hanger. Continue gluing it down around the edges and around the plaque until it meets up with its beginning.
Now isn’t that super awesome?
Utilizing a variety of sizes of plaques and different colors you can repeat 1 or 2 snowflake designs but still have some nice variety.
The smaller plaques (4 inches) do okay on the lower, stronger branches of a Christmas tree but the biggin’s at 7 inches are better suited for wall decor. But no matter where you put them, they’re super cute, right?