Geometric – String Pattern Art (Weekly Unplugged Project)

By , August 30, 2009 9:55 pm


The theme for this week’s Unplugged Project was geometric.

Inspired by this article from Family Fun we made geometric string patterns.  However, not being able to resist changing instructions, we did it a little bit differently.

The article uses wood panels and nails.  While this would certainly produce a sturdier and probably more striking result, I didn’t want to mess with wood and nails, so I came up with a simpler alternative: foam board and straight pins.

You’ll need foam board, colored yarn, scissors, and pins.

Cut the foam board into a 12 inch square.  The edges were messy so I bound them with red duct tape which actually made a nice frame.

Trace around a dinner plate onto a piece of paper to get a perfect circle.  Cut out the circle.  This will be your pattern for placing the pins.

Fold the paper circle in half four times and unfold.  You should have 16 evenly spaced creases.  Lightly tape the circle to the center of the foam board.

Stick a pin in at the top of each crease touching the edge of the circle.  The pins will be sticking out pretty far, but that will give you lots of room to wrap the yarn. (NOTE:  We experimented with cutting the pins in half to make them shorter, but they kept falling out and didn’t leave enough room for multiple strands of yarn.)

Remove your paper pattern and choose your yarn.

Tie the end of the yarn onto the top pin (the “12 o’clock pin”, let’s call it number 1).  Create a repeating pattern and wrap your yarn.  For example, moving clockwise, skip two pins and wrap around number 4, then go back to the next pin over from the “12 o’clock pin” (number 2) and wrap, moving clockwise, skip two more pins and wrap, etc.  This pattern would be: 1, 4, 2, 5, 3, 6, 4, 7, etc. (NOTE: Pattern in the photo below is different, don’t get confused!)

Work all the way around the circle.  When you are finished you should have a nice design.  Cut the yarn and tie the end onto the last pin (should be the 12 o’clock pin).

Tie a new color onto the 12 o’clock pin and proceed with a different pattern.  Any pattern at all is fine as long as it repeats itself all the way around the circle of pins.  We found that three different patterns were all the pins would hold comfortably.

My 9 year-old daughter loved this so much that she made two other little ones in the corners of her board:

My 3 and a half year-old enjoyed it too.  I gave her a small piece of foam board, stuck pins in for her, and told her to do whatever she wanted.

This was the result:

She was very proud and couldn’t wait for me to take a photo!

USEFUL TIP: Remove all cats from the room. Much to everyone’s aggravation, Pita The Adventure Cat enjoyed this project tremendously:

OTHER IDEAS:  You don’t have to use a circle.  Try triangles, squares or rectangles.  Try different numbers of pins.  If you really want to get fancy, you can even make these in three dimensions!


  • History of string art
  • Bézier Curve – String art takes into account the mathematical ability to create a curve from set points using a series of straight lines. When straight lines are put through at least two points in a pattern, Bezier Curves emerge, giving the illusion of rounded shapes, when in fact no curved lines are used.  If you are really into math (or computer animation), Google “Bézier Curve” for lots of technical information on this string art-related topic!


As always, if you did a geometric Unplugged Project, then please leave the link to your actual post below.  If you didn’t do a geometric project, then please do not link.  You can read more about how to join in here.  We’d love to have more participants!


The theme for next week’s Unplugged Project will be:


Have fun and please join us!


7 Responses to “Geometric – String Pattern Art (Weekly Unplugged Project)”

  1. Claire in Tasmania says:

    What beautiful patterns.

    DS (2.333) is just getting into threading, so our project for this week was to make a toy for our cockatiel (small parrot) by threading 2-in, coloured buttons (in several shapes – triangle, circle, square) onto string. We added a couple of bells and hung it in the cage. Haven’t seen the bird play with it yet, but he has to get used to new toys.

  2. Mom Unplugged says:

    Great idea! We have cockatiels too (two of them) and they are a lot of fun. We have never tried to make toys for them though. Thanks for the inspiration!

  3. […] Geometric – String Pattern Art (Weekly Unplugged Project) | Unplug Your Kids – view page – cached The theme for this week's Unplugged Project was geometric. Inspired by this article from Family Fun we made geometric string patterns.  However, not — From the page […]

  4. All week long I thought we’d do a string art project, as it was the first thing that came to mind when I saw geometric – but I didn’t quite manage to get it together, so we went another way instead. Glad to see your project – it warms my child of the 70’s heart.
    .-= almost unschoolers´s last blog ..Cardboard Geometric Building Shapes – Unplugged Project =-.

  5. […] anything in mind when I chose the theme (it was the first thing that popped into my head as I wrote last week’s post), I decided we should try an art technique that I have been wanting to experiment with for some […]

  6. Corne says:

    I am just getting into ceramic jewelry and this gives me great ideas… Thanks!

  7. Mom Unplugged says:

    Oh good, I am so glad you found some good ideas! It sounds like an interesting crossover. Have fun!

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