Tuesday, July 3, 2012

7th Grade String Art

These designs were created by using push pins to "punch" in the dotted pattern on to a 6x6  piece of poster board.   Once their design is punched through, they thread a sewing needle...tape the end on the back (because it will go through the hole, even if it has a knot at the end)...and start stitching their design.  They LOVE this!

I take a pretty simple approach to this project.  We begin with a 1/2 sheet of graph paper.  The students follow along with me (I use a document camera) as I number dots from 1 - 9 on a vertical "line" and then 1-9 on a horizontal "line".  (see below)  Using a ruler, they follow my lead and draw lines from "dot 1" to "dot 1" .... and so forth.

Worksheet #1 --- Same process as what we practiced together ---- now they try it on their own.

Worksheet #2

I am working on some new worksheets for this....these are ok, but I feel like I could make some improvements.  Basically, I'm trying to get the kids used to the idea of connecting lines in a specific numbered pattern.  Once they start connecting them they can see the design come to life.  

Now we have to make the transition from pencil/paper to thread/needle.

Below you will see two photos of a basic practice design.  I require them to do this before they start the final string art project.  These were made with tagboard.  The holes were punched using the binding machine (for punching holes for a spiral bound booklet) in the library.  This worked well -- I tried using a hole-punch at first, but I couldn't quite keep them even down the side.  ;)   

Each card was numbered and yarn was attached with masking tape.  Notice I also wrapped the tip of the yarn with masking tape so as to create a smooth "point" and avoid shredding.

Now for the final project.
I have about 15 designs for the kids to choose from .  Here is a good link for lesson & design options: http://www.mathcats.com/crafts/stringart.html

The designs are photocopied a set out in numbered folders.  Each design is put up on the board with a number (corresponding to the folder they can get it from) and an example project.

See below:

 <-----Here is a copy of the directions that the kids get.  I go over it with them, but it's nice to have this when they "forget" what to do.  ;)

Once the kids select a pattern, they check out a  push pin/needle set from me.  This has been the best solution so far for not losing needles and push pins.  I have a class roster sheet that I use to write down the number of push pin/needle set they check out.

This was made with 2 cut pieces of foam sheets (approx. 2 x 3") stapled together.  Each one is labeled with a number using a sharpie, and each contains one push pin and one needle.
Next step, select a background color.  These are 6x6" pieces of different colored posterboard.  The background piece is placed on a sheet of foam board, then the pattern on top.

Now the push pin is used to puncture the pattern in to the background sheet.  The foam sheet underneath helps to push the pin through ----and protect the table!  :)

After they have punctured the design in they get their thread and begin "sewing" in their design!
They usually need a few reminders of where to start, but once they get going they're pro's at it!
Some students might benefit from numbering the dots, but even my lower level kids catch on pretty quickly.

NOTE:  Tying a knot at the end of the thread will not work...it goes right through the holds.  We end up using tape to secure it to the back.  The back looks messy, but it's really the front that's most important right?  ;)

Here is one of the spools of thread I use.  JoAnn Crafts is my resource for these. I buy other colors as well.  
Fluorescent colors, silver, gold, multi....etc.

Finished Projects:


  1. Could you please share the directions to this project? Thanks!

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  2. Aloha,
    Can I please get the attachments to your design pages for this project? I would love to be able to use them. My e-mail is noelledoan@hotmail.com.
    Mahalo : )

  3. Is there any way that you could post the attachments or full directions for this activity?

  4. Awesome project and wonderful instructions!

  5. Hi. I am a new Teacher. Could you please contact me regarding this project. Would appreciate the help.


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  7. I would love this lesson plan. If you are willing to share, my email address is: archavolt@gmail.com

    Thank you

  8. Hi there, I am a relieving (I believe it's called substitute teacher in the USA) in New Zealand and would love to have a go at this with some of my classes that I revisit a lot. Would you mind sharing all the way down here? I think your progressions are amazing as well - very well thought out and planned. My email is: rawiniatw@gmail.com

  9. Would love to get some help! I am having an art plus maths project to display based on linear equations and string art. Would like to know if you can mail me the templates for some of your designs. Thanks My email: sanjeevanichindarkar@gmail.com

  10. Ooh, I just love this as an art activity. I love the variety of patterns the students created. Much better than just doing these designs with pencil and graph paper like I did in school.

    Thanks for sharing.

    :-) Jenny

  11. Great! I'll try this year with my kids!

  12. If you have time, would you email me the lesson plan/directions as well? I'll look more closely to see if I can get it from here, but so far I can't see it. I'm a brand, spanking new art teacher and this looks awesome! Thanks for sharing!

  13. This is such a great project. I'm getting ready to start doing something like this with my 8th graders! I was going through your directions and noticed that worksheet #1 (L shape) has the numbers switched around. You've probably already fixed it, but just a heads up!

    Thanks for all you do!

  14. Hi, do you have a file of your patterns you can share? I have a few that I've found but would like some more challenging variety. emily.meranda@depaulschool.org

  15. Would you mind sharing the instructions with me? The images are not showing up on the site. It's a great lesson Thank you! julie_guerin@wrsd.net

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