A while back I pinned a heart made out of nails and string on Pinterest.  I loved the rustic simplicity of it, but hadn’t had an opportunity to apply the method to a piece of art until now!

I made this nail & string cross art for my office where I do my daily reading.  You can apply this method to any shape you’d like!


  •  a piece of wood
  • a print out of the shape you’d like to make
  • nails (small with heads)
  • string
  • a hammer
  • paint pen

When choosing nails for this project, small finishing nails would work well.  Choose nails that have heads on them so that the string doesn’t pop off.  I chose a little bigger nail because I wanted to incorporate some of my grandpap’s nails into this project.

He passed away a few years ago and my grandma had to move out of their house last year.  When she did, she offered my grandpap’s tools to my husband.  He had made this huge tower of drawers by hand many years ago that is 16 drawers high by 4 drawers across.  It was full of all kinds of nails, washers, nuts, and bolts, etc. My husband rehomed the tower of drawers to our garage and I chose some from there to use on my project.

Once I had decided to make a cross shape for my project, I looked for one to print out to use as a guide for the nails.  I found this one, which was perfect and already had dots that I could use as a guide to place my nails!  You can get it here and print it for free!

Once you print your shape and adjust the size using a copier, tape it to the wood in the position you like.  Then start hammering in your nails, using spacing that you like.  It will work just fine if you space them a little farther than I did.  I chose this spacing because there were already dots on the template.


It may not look like it, but there are a lot of dots on that paper…which means a lot of hammering nails.  I did this project throughout the day and in between another project, so I took little breaks in between hammering.

Hammer the nails right through the paper and once you have all of your nails in, carefully tear the paper away.

Now it’s time to add the string!  I chose a multi-colored string and white string.  To start, tie a knot around one of the nails.  Then randomly wrap the string around nails back and forth.  This will start to fill in your shape.

Be sure to hold the string snugly to prevent it from coming undone.

I picked this string up near the embroidery floss.  I did not use embroidery floss because it is made up of several strands that would probably get all knotted up.  This string is made up of a single strand, so I didn’t have to worry about keeping it together when wrapping it around the nails.

You can do as many layers as you’d like depending on how much you’d like your shape to be filled in.  I did a colored layer, a white layer and then another colored layer for a total of three layers.

There was a space left at the bottom of my cross, so I decided to add the word faith to balance it out.  You can freehand your word or you can print it out using a font that you like.

If printing your word, tape it onto the wood in the position that you like.  Then use a pencil to trace over the word.  The point of the pencil will make a small indent into the wood.  When you remove the printed word, you should see the outline of the letters.

Use a paint pen to paint the word onto the wood.  This wood really soaked up the paint, so I went over it a few times until it was the shade I wanted.



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