How to make: nail-string-art with driftwood and brass wire

I know, I know, there are already so many tutorials about making beautiful nail-string-art with nails and string on a wooden board. I must admit, I just wanted to try it myself.

I had this amazing piece of driftwood lying around for a while, couldn’t decide what to do with it. I found it at a beach in the Cape Point Nature Reserve, close to the Cape of Good Hope that you might know by name. I really like the bits of green and blue paint that is still on the piece of wood. I wonder what it had been in its former life…


nail string art driftwood


Finally I got an idea that felt right: I wanted to combine my love for lettering with that beautiful piece of driftwood and make a nail-string-art piece out of it.

As the driftwood is quite small I decided to only put one letter on. I decided on the “&”, which I somehow find fascinating as it puts two different words together, it links them and creates a new “whole” out of two single words.


nail string art driftwood


So let’s get started.

You need:


  • a piece of wood/wooden board
  • hammer
  • lots of nails (bigger heads prevent the yarn from slipping off) – I used 46 nails
  • yarn in matching or contrasting colour
  • template printed/drawn on paper (I just copied the “&” of a font I like)
  • two pushpins
  • brass wire Ø 0,30 mm
  • pliers
  • tweezers
  • tape



1. Clean the driftwood properly and let it dry completely.

2. Draw dots on the template where you want to have the nails. The nails should be quite close to each other, but it depends on the size of your picture. The smaller, the closer the nails. I opted for ca. 1,3 cm / ½ ? apart. And: position nails closer around curves to make them smoother.

3. Tape your template onto the wood. Start hammering the nails into the wood through the marks on your template. Make sure the nails stick out the same length. If you have difficulties holding the nail with your fingers, use the pliers to hold the nail, so you won’t get hurt. My advice: turn the wood as you go and start hammering the inside nails first; then continue to the outside.



4. Keep on hammering until your template is covered with nails and all the marks got a nail in.

5. Carefully rip the template out, use tweezers to get to the bits around the nails.

6. Tie the yarn to one nail and start stringing. Zigzag around the nails, but don’t forget to do the outlines as well. Make sure to remember the borders – it helps to have a copy of the template to check on. After stringing around all the nails, tie off at the end and cut off excess yarn.04start_stringing05stringing

7. Repeat again with brass wire to give your nail string art piece a shimmer.

8. I did another round with white yarn to make the “&” more visible. Just experiment until you are happy with the result. You can’t do anything wrong. I actually wasn’t happy with the first result, so I did another round stringing with the yarn and the brass wire, 3 times white and 2 times brass in the end.

9. For the hanger: now turn the wood around and press two pushpins into the wood, 2 cm / 1″ away from the upper edge and ca. 3 cm / 1½ ″ apart from each other. Wind brass wire loosely around the two pushpins, twirl the wire ends together and cut off.

10. Done.


5nail_stringnail string art driftwood


I really like how it turned out. The white yarn and the brass wire compliment the maritime look, the lack of contrast to the whitish paint on the driftwood board makes it look very gentle. I am happy with my first piece of nail-string-art. What do you think?



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