Friday, December 9, 2011

Giant Thread Art Goodness!

Previous to this post is the introductory one, but sure to check it out:  Peruvian Thread Art.

Now for a lovely photo tutorial, without much adieu!

This tutorial is based on what I did for my first piece, therefore it later may be turned into a video (which we'll feature on our YouTube Channel) or updated with more information.  For now this will suffice, so I highly suggest you check out other string art tutorials.  Although I'll try to add any helpful notes at the end and note pitfalls I noticed in my own work.

Gather your materials!

  • 12 g aluminum wire (or any large gauge wire pliable enough to bend into a frame)
  • mold (to wrap & shape large gauge wire, eg. a coffee mug)
  • 22/24 g wire (or some smaller gauge wire of your choice for coiling, we used Fun Wire)
  • wire cutters (to cut wire of course!)
  • US 2 knitting needle (to coil wire, needle should be approximately chosen to suit gauge of frame wire, using a needle gauge to check wire gauge then go up a size)
  • worsted weight cotton yarn (this is just what i used, you may use any weight you like, but I do not suggest anything larger than worsted as the strand will be too bulky; this also will be relative to your frame and coil wire size)

Some additional tools that are optional and helpful but not direly necessary:
  • Round nose pliers (for creating eyelet to hang pendant)
  • Bent nose pliers (for wrapping excess wire)

And now to the directions...

Wrap frame wire around the larger end of your mold.  This will make a circle (use if you like), to make a more teardrop shape as is traditionally seen with this art form move wire to smaller portion of mold and pull gently.  [Important note:  DO NOT coil your ends more than once to hold as you will have to uncoil to get the coiled wire on the frame.  This is a faux pas we noted and made our design process a little tricky as it was necessary to abuse the frame to unkink the wire.]

Hold end of wire parallel to needle and begin wrapping around needle.  We kept our coil wrapped loosely to allow space for the yarn and so that we didn't have to stretch out the coil too much.  [You can see our coils are not precisely evenly space, but this is okay.]

Gently slide coiled wire onto frame wire, making sure to keep spread coils evenly spaced (as much as possible!)  If you have trouble with this you can manipulate the coils some before and during wrapping, but not after.

Starting at the top, wrap yarn from some point in a straight line across frame.  There are a number of ways to do this and your choice will greatly affect how your finished piece looks.  As you see from the finished picture below it would have been better to not start out where we did, but for a first run through.  Experiment with this!  [It's also suggested that you stick to one yarn when using worsted as it's too thick to effectively use more than one, however with a lighter weight yarn or other fiber it may be possible.]

To my version I did not use any sort of adhesive to affix the thread, but it's highly suggestible to consider this.  Nail polish (clear) works well I have been told.

A final note, I did not measure anything, as I prefer to really eyeball my work as I'm doing it.  So my suggestion is to get a small skein of yarn (50 yards or so is more than enough), and about as much yardage on your wires.  This ensures that you will have enough to make at least one piece, without running out.

Happy Wrapping!

Aradia Goseling
Faith Works

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