I don’t want to brag or anything, but I mean, you know, I totally knew about this technique before it was pinteresting (read: cool) as I’d seen it on craftzine: a massive piece by Dominique Falla. Inspired by it two and a half years ago, I made one of my all time favorite projects, a large-scale sign reading “authenticity” to be hung across from my bed. Because I wanted to see it every night before I went to sleep, you know? At the time, I was running a site called Uncommon Flock with my friends, but entering our senior year of college, it wasn’t feasible to keep up with once summer ended. So I’ve scrounged through my old photos to re-write my how-to for this string letter project!
Time and Difficulty
I spent a lot of time pouring my heart and soul into this project, and admittedly it’s challenging! Helpful tips: you could easily buy a thinner, lighter, board for the back and have it cut down to size if necessary, but I was working with what I knew – and anyway, this was cheap! Also, smaller scale projects are obviously less tedious. Anyhow, read on to see how I hacked this project into being easy(-ish)!
- (2) 2×4 Wood
- Paint or Stain
- Hand Saw (or fancier)
- Foam Brush
- Wood Glue
- Paper + Printer (or not)
- Small Nails
- Empty Pen Shell
- Embroidery Thread
- Nail Polish Top Coat
- Screwdriver (or fancier)
- Mounting Hardware
- Wood Scraps
- Long Nails
Total cost? I really wish I could remember! I think I paid $5 for the wood, something like $7 for the nails, maybe another $3 for the mounting hardware… I had everything else on hand. Except possibly the stain. I grabbed a small can for less than $8. Less than $25? Success.
OK, if the materials list hasn’t scared you off, I commend you! Now just get ready for the to-do list… I did this project over the course of many days, only working while watching TV, so I didn’t really get bored. It definitely took me hours to complete!
- I bought 2 two-by-fours and stained them gray, which really looked more like a paint so I’d recommend just painting it. It saves time! You’ll need a foam brush and some rags for the staining, as per the instructions on the container. Stain takes hours/days to dry, and you usually need 1-2 coats, so plan your time accordingly!
- Next, cut them in half, offsetting them from each other and then gluing. I didn’t have clamps! I just pushed them together and pretty much made sure the glue set before letting them finish drying.
- Use your mounting materials to get the back set up. You don’t want to have to figure out how you’re gonna hang this after you’ve done all the hard work! You’d have to start drilling into your project and just hope nothing gets messed up? I’m not down for that kind of anxiety. Anyway, I used some scrap wood to double-secure the wood. I knew I’d be hanging this – and it was heavy – so I didn’t want to take any chances, thinking that the stain might make the wood less adhesive to each other.
- Using the font “Lobster” (I can’t remember which version… 1.4?) to print a huge “authenticity” (it took like 5+ sheets of paper, landscape) I nailed around the letters and slowly pulled the paper off, tearing it around the nails.
- Next, grab and empty pen or pencil and use it to help you thread around the letters (this is a crucial, helpful, step!) making sure that you pay attention to colors and patterns. You can be all haphazard or you can follow a sort of pattern. You can layer similar colors on top of each other or you can create a gradient effect.
- When you’re finished with each color, twist it around a nail a bunch of times, tightly. I believe I tried to tie a small knot around the nail. Cut the string as close to the nail as you can, then use nail polish to secure it. Elmer’s glue would probably be fine too, it dries clear. Any glue more intense is overkill.
- Hang! Enjoy!
Here’s a close-up of what my letters looked like. :) Past tense, because this piece had an unfortunate run-in with my mother. Not to worry though, I’m just excited that I can make a new one in the future. :)
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