Semi-DIY State Nail and String Art

After seeing state nail and string art popping up on Pinterest last fall, I was sure it would be one of my Christmas DIY presents. Unfortunately, Princemas preparations took up my November and December crafting mojo. :-/

But when this wedding save-the-date came in the mail, I was inspired to make a Texas version for the bride and groom.


  • Piece of wood (I bought an 11×11 inch piece from Michael’s since I don’t own a saw and sander)
  • Map of state
  • Scissors
  • Painter’s tape
  • Small nails (I used 3/4 inch nails)
  • Crochet thread (any strong thread will do, e.g embroidery twine)
  • Paint
  • Paintbrush/ foam brush
  • Hammer
  • Pliers
  • Optional: sawtooth hanger

First, sand your piece of wood to ensure all surfaces are smooth. Paint the wood, use a primer if you’re painting with acrylics. (I had to paint seven coats because I didn’t prime the wood beforehand).

Search the internet for an image of your state. Cut out the state and a heart (at least 1.5″ tall) over the area you want to highlight. (My Texas printout was about 9 inches tall and the heart was over Austin.)

Using painter’s tape, tape the state onto the piece of wood. Begin hammering nails around the state and heart with about 3/8 – 1/2 inch protruding. If nails are not perpendicular, use pliers to bend them into place.

Using the crochet thread, tie a double knot around one nail. Begin threading each nail on the state outline to the heart and then back to the next nail on the outline. (I wrapped the thread around each heart nail about 8-10 times). If there are tough corners like the areas circled below, wrap the thread among the corner nails in the same direction (pointing towards the heart), but not actually to the heart nails. Continue threading back and forth between the state outline and heart until you end up back at the nail you started with. Tie a double knot and trim the excess.

Optional: add a sawtooth hanger to the back.

It took me about four hours to complete the hammering and threading steps; however, it was partly due to my poor choice of working on the floor instead of a table and using 5/8 inch nails for the first half which was a lot more challenging than when I switched to 3/4 inch nails.

Although this is a high effort project, I really liked the finished product. I may make another one soon but on a table. πŸ™‚

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34 Responses to Semi-DIY State Nail and String Art

  1. Kristen says:

    love it! it’s on my to do list too πŸ™‚

  2. I’m in love with this project. It’s going on my list of must do projects!

  3. Kim Dao says:

    Thats so awesome Linda!!! Can u make me a Vietnam one????

  4. Toni says:

    I’m going to make this one with the Texas Flag inside the shape of Texas. Great Idea! Thanks.

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  6. Lisa says:

    I love this. It is a gorgeous craft that can be done for a great price. I plan to make a couple of these as gifts this year:)

  7. Julie says:

    I’m making it right now! Only with San Antonio in the heart. Born and Raised! Woot! i’m stuck in Europe for now and can’t get the tools I need to do it like you did but I’m making it work. πŸ™‚ Thanks for the post!!!!!

  8. Jordan Friedman says:

    I absolutely love these! Could you please make me one with Pennsylvania and the heart going over the capital city Pittsburgh? How much do you want for it??

  9. Brie says:

    Love Love Love this! Could be done with shapes other than states and the heart could be pretty much any shape too. Wonderful tutorial and gives me tons of inspiration. Thank you.

  10. Shannon says:

    My husband is in the army so we move around a lot! I would love to do this for each state we have been stationed in! We lived in two places in Virginia though…could this be done any way with two hearts? Thank you!

    • semidiy says:

      That’s awesome that you would do it for each state. I’ve tried it with two hearts and it didn’t look as good. You just have to go around the two hearts a lot more so make sure they’re nailed in well.

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  13. Beth says:

    Thanks for the tutorial! How much string did it take?

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  15. Mary says:

    This is excellent. About how far apart did you place the nails from each other?

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