DIY String Art: State with Heart

I recently upped my game in home decor – I figure it’s time to fill my bare apartment walls with something cozy. String art came to mind immediately, as it is both easy to make, and looks very impressive.

String art can have many looks – it can be rustic, glamorous, colorful, or minimalist. The best part is that you can’t really go wrong while making it. There are many different materials that can work for this. Choose between thicker yarn or thinner strings, wooden or cork board background, small nails or large thumb tacks. It doesn’t really matter what exact materials you use, as long as you like the way they look.

Another great part about string art is that it can be anything – and it can be personal. I decided to make the outline of New York State with a heart in the city I have many fond memories of (Rochester).

string art new york state

String art works well with any geographic outlines, as long as they’re recognizable.

String art is also pleasantly cheap. The materials cost me less than $20 and now I have a unique piece of “art” that never fails to impress my guests.

Here is how I made my New York state string art.


  1. The board. I used a plain black  24in x 18in mounting board (it’s kind of like Styrofoam on the inside), but you can use whatever you like. Wood works really well (and gives it that nice rustic look), so do cork boards. Basically, any surface that would hold nails or tacks in place.
  2. The string. I used a medium thickness roll of yarn in an off-white color. It was about 300 yards, and I still had some left over. Any string/yarn would work, but I don’t recommend going too thin as that can easily tear.
  3. State outline. I simply Googled “new york state outline” and downloaded the first image I found.
  4. The nails/tacks. You will need to place these around the outline of your state. I actually used flat earring posts (3 packs)! I couldn’t find any nails or tacks in the right size/color, so the earrings worked well in that regard. But basically anything with a pointy end and a flat top would work. It needs to be long enough to pierce your board, stay in it, and hold the string wrapped around it.
  5. Super glue. Just in case. Depending on your materials, some nails might need a drop of glue to ensure they don’t fall out of the board once the string is wrapped around them.
  6. Hammer (optional). A hammer would be necessary if your board is made of wood. If you’re using cork board or any other softer board, you will be fine without the hammer.

State String Art Instructions

  1. Find your state outline online and download the image. Blow it up using Photoshop, Preview, or any image editing software. Make it a few inches smaller than your board: e.g. my board was 24×18, so I increased the size of the map image to about 20×16.
  2. Print it out in actual size, it will probably take up several pieces of printer paper. Tape the sheets together (don’t worry about precision, it’s not super important) and then cut out the state shape along the outline.
  3. Figure out the location of where you want your heart to go. Typically, this would be a meaningful city or region in your state. Use a heart stencil or draw a heart in that area. I printed out a heart I found on Google and outlined it because I’m terrible at drawing hearts!
  4. Carefully cut out the heart from your state stencil.
  5. Place the state stencil on your board and center it. Start placing your nails/tacks around the outline (use the hammer if you’re using a wooden board). Try to keep them at an even distance from each other. They should come out at least 1/4 inch from the board. Do the same for the inside of the heart.
  6. Carefully remove the paper stencil. You should be left with a perfect outline of your state with a heart outline made out of nails.
  7. Check to see if your nails are sturdy. If they’re easy to pull out, as was the case with my board, you might want to dab a drop of super glue at the base of each one. You wouldn’t want them falling out once you’ve wrapped the string around them! string art nail glue.jpg
  8. Begin wrapping the string. Tie it around one of the nails in the heart to secure it, and then wrap it around each of the “outside” nails, returning to the “heart” nails between each “outside” nail. I used this helpful Youtube video as a guide.string art state heart.jpg
  9. Once you’ve gone around the entire outline, secure the string by tying a discreet knot around one of the “heart” nails. Cut off any visible loose ends. You’re done!
  10. Hang it up and enjoy your new work of art!

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