String art is an arrangement of coloured thread around a grid of nails that create abstract geometric patterns. While the string art consists of straight lines, the intersection of the lines with each other creates angles that take the form of shapes and curves. The practice became popular in the 19th century when teacher Mary Everest Boole was looking for a way to make math ideas accessible for children. Now string art is both a popular craft project and an activity that can be used in explaining how to graph and plot points in geometry.
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The string art project that you create will be different depending on which pattern you use. The traditional string art pattern uses a square with pegs going all around the outside. There are many other patterns available as well though. You can use an L shaped pattern, which is essentially the square with two sides missing. You can use a cross pattern, a hexagon, really any shape that you desire to try has the ability to look like an intricate pattern.
This complicated shape can look quite amazing if you follow the steps to the letter. You will need a circle with 21 nail points and you have the option of making this on waxed paper so that you can remove the design and hang it on the wall later. The design starts with a simple shape between six of the pegs but continues with a formula that skips pegs in order (first tying it off, then skipping one, then skipping two, and so on until 9 pegs are skipped).
3-D String Art
Using wooden dowels you can create a three-dimensional piece of string art when you have tired of the flatter models. One example is a three-dimensional pyramid. Create notches in the dowels for the strings to go in and then go to work. You can make each side into a different pattern or you can do the same pattern. Strings can go between upper triangular edges and the square base to truly give the project a three-dimensional base. Other shapes than a pyramid can be used like a cube to give further variety.
Choose Your Own
Sometimes the fancier designs and patterns are too intimidating for kids to accomplish, especially younger kids who have not developed all their fine motor skills. For those kids, you can simply give them some string, give them the shape and nails to work with and let them go. Even if a shape doesn't look as fancy as the geometric curves design, children will be proud that they have accomplished something on their own. They may quickly beg you to take a picture so they can show it to everyone.
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