One blustery fall day two years ago I became suddenly determined to create a string-art Idaho board all in one day. I rummaged through a pile of scrap wood and found a perfect piece of plywood that I stained, hammered and tied, all in one-day. After that epic adventure, my enthusiasm wore off a bit, but I wanted to recreate a few more state boards for birthday gifts.
The Oregon and Colorado boards that I made eventually became horribly belated birthday gifts but I figured it’s the thought that counts, right? These boards make perfect birthday gifts, secret santa gifts or even just an easy DIY gift for yourself (because everyone needs to gift themselves once in a while). And the best part about these is that they involve two of my favorite craft essentials: gold & glitter.
For all you glitter haters out there, or if you live with someone who doesn’t think glitter is the bee’s knees, (especially after you spill it all over their new work backpack), I have a life-saving tip for you and your relationships. You can somewhat seal glitter to any surface if you spray a clear gloss finish over it once dry! The clear gloss allows you to enjoy your glitter on any surface all while keeping it contained. Now all of the boyfriends and husbands all over the world can rest easy next time you bust out your glitter…
- Find a suitable soft wood board for the state that you want to make. A bit bigger than 8.5×11 inches on all sides works perfectly.
- Sand the sides and edges of your board to make them as smooth as possible.
- Find a paint or stain that you like and paint/stain the top and sides of your board. I did three coats of a darker wood stain and let each coat dry before the next.
- Print out your state of choice on a piece of printer paper (8.5×11 inches) or trace from a larger atlas type book.
- Break out your ruler or eyeball it and make marks all the way around the state print to mark where to hammer your nails in. I make my marks between .25 to .5 inches apart depending on how large the state outline is.
- Once dried to your desired color/stain, center your paper with your state of choice on the board.
- Using small nails with a larger head (to hold the string), hammer in the corners of your state to hold the paper down.
- Starting at one corner, hammer the nails individually at each marking to complete the outline of your state. To assist in holding the small nails, use pliers to hold the nail as you hammer.
- Once your outline is complete, create a heart or other shape of choice on the part of the state you/your friend is from.
- Once again, hammer in nails to outline the heart. Attempt to make these nails a bit closer than the outline nails as you will use each of these over-and-over.
- Tie your string onto one corner of the outline of the state. Thread string around one of the heart nails that is relatively directly across and bring back to the next nail in the outline of the state. You will use only one continuous string for this entire process so make sure you have enough.
- Double wrap string around this outline nail to ensure it will remain if a string comes loose along the way. Thread string to the same heart nail so that it now has two loops around it.
- Continue wrapping around the outline nails. Each heart nail will have many loops on it. Move on to the next when it gets quite full and as you move away from that nail on the outline.
- Once you have completed your state in string, tie off the string on the same nail that you tied onto. Trim the excess string as necessary.
- Decorate the sides as desired! I painted each side gold and then covered with gold glitter. To “contain” the glitter, I sprayed each side after it was dry with a clear gloss finish.
- Hang or display your board to show your state-pride!
TIP: Use a softer-type wood for the board. The first couple of boards that I made I used plywood because it was readily available to me. It was very difficult to hammer into and my mom (who is brilliant I might add) suggested I use a softer wood. Using a soft wood made it so much easier to hammer into and cut the headache and project time down.