Make: Nail and Thread State Art (Part 2)

What’s that whooshing sound you hear? Oh, that’s the sound of Wednesday whizzing by in a blur leaving no real gap between Tuesday and Thursday and my Pinterest Challenge deadline in the dust. Deary me, but this is one of the tricky tricky things of blogging in real time, sometimes life happens in between, and that is for sure a good thing too :D.

But, the good news is, 36 hours late, it’s now finished! Our new Maine state outline art for our kitchen is done and dusted and we are very very chuffed with how the final piece looks (actually, it’s not in the kitchen in this photo, it’s in the lounge because the light was better for photos, but it looks just as good over the sink too!)

For those of you who missed our State Art Part 1 post your can find it here. But here is a super quick recap :D:  ‘Previously on cookquiltmakeandbake (he he, makes me feel like The Apprentice, or The Amazing Race (both of which we totally love by the way!) it’s that time of year again and the Pinterest Challenge is upon us, so we decided to renew our kitchen art using this pin, which I found on Pinterest as pinspiration:


By the end of last episode we were tapping in our nails all the way round the outside of our state outline and adding a little dab of glue to any pesky rogue nails which came a little loose. So, without further ado, let’s get this project finished.

Actually, one more thing before we start : Superglue disclosure! So, (please picture me doing a bit of an embarrassed blush here) turns out when they named super glue ‘super’ they weren’t kidding and it was for a reason. Super glue is s-t-icky! Which I found out the hard way over the weekend when, in the process of happily gluing in those few rouge nails, I inadvertently (oh the shame) glued my fingers to the super glue bottle! Phil’s face when I wandered into the lounge with a glue bottle fixed to my hand was a picture (and, bless him, a lot more sympathetic than he should have been!) and about 10 minutes of soaking my hand in warm water with washing up liquid later the bottle had gently loosened off. Phew (because that would have been an embarrassing trip to the doctor!).  So, what I’m really saying is (other than that I’m a total clutz – fact!) be careful with super glue. Its super gluey.

Nail and Thread State Wall Art (Part 2)

White cotton thread

More super glue (be careful!!)

A suitably sized frame 

(See part 1 for instructions 1 – 3)

4) Finish tapping in your map outline pins  Tap in your pins around the outline of your printed map, ensuring that pins are no more than around 1.5cm apart, and use a dab of super glue to affix any especially loose pins.

5) Pin your heart Next you need to tap in the heart outline of pins on the inside of your map. This forms the central point from which all threads originate. I carefully drew the outline of the heart I wanted to pin onto the paper map first, to check that I liked the location and the size of the heart, and then tapped in my pins to make the outline. For my heart I tapped the pins in very very close together (more or less touching). This was a little bit fiddly, but with a bit of patience I got there in the end.

6) Remove your paper outline Now is the time to very very carefully rip away your paper outline from the inside of your map, because once you have strung thread over it, it would become much harder to remove. I say be careful, because when I tugged on the paper too hard in a couple of places it popped my pins out of the board so I had to re-tap them back in, which is fine for a couple of pins, but would be annoying for a lot of them.

7) Thread your string  Even though this is only one point in the process, I would say this is the part of the project which took the longest to complete, partly because I started, realised my method for stringing wasn’t working and so started all over again.

First let me share the method that didn’t work:  I decided to cut and knot each thread separately so tied the thread to the pin on the heart, then stretched it over to the outside of the map, tied it to the outside pin, knotted it and cut it.

There were 3 problems with this method. 1) Having all the threads individually meant that they had a tendency to loosen and sit all floppy, not taught which spoiled the look a little bit (afterall, who wants saggy threads, not me!) 2)  I am a fan of fiddly detailed work but after about twenty teeny tiny knots around each pin, even I was getting sick of it and I still had at least 100 pins to go, so it is very labour intensive. 3) Once you have knotted the string around each pin you have the dilemma of lots of knots and the teeny tiny cut ends from each thread which looked messy. You can see it pretty clearly in the picture above. Not great huh?

So, onto plan B, which did work:  Tie your thread to a single pin in the center on the heart then weave your thread back ward and forwards across the map wrapping it around each pin (rather than cutting it each time) so effectively you are just using one long long long piece of thread to wrap around all the pins. This was muuuuccch quicker and less fiddly to do, and totally solved the previous problems because the wraps kept the thread taught, no more pesky knots and no more loose ends. You can see in the picture below, much better!

Once I had finished wrapping all my pins with thread a used a dab of super glue to attach the end of my thread neatly to the inside edge of its pin so you it was fixed but out of sight.

8) Frame and Hang All that’s left to do is frame and hang your picture, then admire your hard work. Ta dahhhhhhh 😀

So, that’s all there is too it. I’m not going to say it was a quick / easy project because truth be told it wasn’t. It was a bit fiddly and took a little while. But, I would definitely encourage you to have a go and learn from my mistakes because the end product is super pretty in person. I think my favorite part of it is the way the threads cast shadows when the light is shining on it. Very neat.

We have loved spending the last couple of day’s having a peek at all the other Pinterest Challenge entries too. There are some very clever projects out there so I encourage you to go and have a peek.

Yay Friday!

About Cook Quilt Make and Bake

Hi, I'm Sam, he's Phil. Welcome to our blog where we share our fun down time projects. We're just a young couple, happily cooking, making, quilting and baking our way through life and love. You're welcome to stop by and share the good times!
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20 Responses to Make: Nail and Thread State Art (Part 2)

  1. Pingback: Make: Nail and Thread State Wall Art (Part 1) | cookquiltmakeandbake

  2. k.m. says:

    I love your version, it’s so elegant and pretty!

  3. Janette says:

    So you don’t have to remove paper pattern after you’ve applied all the nails use one nail to make a starter hole all round then you don’t need to leave the paper on the board, also did you know you can use the same idea on card with a needle and thread

    • That’s a great tip. Thanks! We will try that next time 😀 Also, I like the idea of a card one, I bet you could even make it into a greetings card. Oh dear, so many ideas so little time. Thanks for stopping by, Sam xxx

  4. kay says:

    Did you use the same number of nails on the state and the heart or did you wrap the string around multiple nails in the heart to match up with the number of nails in the state? (that made sense in my head, hope it made sense to everyone else)

    • Hi! Yep, that made total sense. I used lots more nails in my state outline (around 130) than in my heart (only around 30) so I wrapped each heart nail with 4 or 5 strings from the outline nails (if that makes sense?) 😀 Hope that helps. Sam xx

  5. Christina says:

    You might want to pick up a bottle of pure acetone if you use a lot of super glue. I have glued my fingers together as well and have found the acetone to be quicker at ungluing them!

  6. I love this project. I can’t wait to try it.

  7. Hello! My name is Erika and I blog over at Our Cozy Cubbyhole. The Texas String Art is actually from my Etsy shop and I am so flattered it was your inspiration! I have done a bunch more if you want to check them out on the blog 🙂

    Your Maine string art came out great! And your blog is awesome – I am looking forward to adding this to my reader.

  8. Tiffany Jade Ashcraft says:

    were is the best place to get an outline for a state? and exactly how to you transfer it to the board? I am doing Mississippi. 🙂 I want to give it to my in-laws for Christmas because they moved out of state (Hawaii) away from all family to serve the Lord as Missionaries but want them to know they always have a home (heart) in Mississippi!

    • Hi Tiffany! 😀
      We found our map outline by Googling “Maine State Outline” and then picking the largest image and printing it out. We never actually transferred the picture to the board, instead we pinned around the piece of paper and then once we were done just lifted the paper out (that way we didn’t get pencil lines on our painted board). I wasn’t sure if you had seen it but there is a Part 1 which might be helpful if you are just starting.
      Let us know how it goes! 😀 Sam xxx

  9. I love this! Thank you so much for sharing 🙂
    I’ve just started blogging and you guys are a real inspiration.
    Thanks x

    • Awww, your very kind and good for you for starting a blog! In the beginning the going was pretty slow but give it a few weeks and you’ll wonder why you didn’t start earlier 😀 Sam xxx (ps. I had a peek and your cookies look great! Keep it up xxx)

  10. Nicole says:

    I’ve been looking to do this as a christmas present. my question is what kind of frame did you use? How thick does it need to be in order to hold the back board and the nails that are sticking up?? Thanks!

    • Hi there,
      We framed ours in a standard Ikea frame, but just didn’t use the glass on the front to allow the nails to stick out. We tried a few different styles of frame which would have allowed the nails to be behind glass but having the glass in front meant you lost the nice effect of the string. So our advice would be to use whichever frame you like best, but skip having the glass in it.
      Hope this helps! Sam x

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