Pulled String Art is Mesmerizing and Addictive!

How to Do Pulled String Art with Kids

We have tried quite a variety of art activities using string and yarn in the past, but never pulled string art before now.

It’s amazingly mesmerizing and addictive!

Daphne and I were at it for much of a morning, making artwork after artwork and exclaiming over each new pair that we revealed.

We’ve made mirror image string prints in the past, and this is similar, but takes the idea to a whole new level.

The idea came from an old kids’ art activity book that a friend found at a thrift store and bought for me.

A Handbook of Arts and Crafts

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The book, A Handbook of Arts and Crafts, is originally from 1968 and is written by Phillip R. Wigg and Jean Hasselschwert.

I’ve been having so much fun going through the pages and marking activities I want to try with my kids. Many are tried-and-true favorites (monoprinting and styrofoam printing), but many are new to me or are variations that have me excited to try (tempera resist and colored tissue transparent discs).

We’ve tried a stained glass craft so far and now the pulled string painting.

Here’s how to do the string art…

Pulled String Art with Kids

Pulled String Art


Covering string with paint for the pulled string art activity


First, cut a piece of string (ours were between 12 and 18 inches) and add it to the bowl of paint. Use a spoon or your finger to stir it around, covering the string in paint. Then lift the string out of the paint, running your thumb and forefinger along the length of the string to remove excess paint (make sure to do this part; it makes a big difference).

Note :: In case you’re wondering, the art mats you see pictured here are from this set of 6 Keep-It-Clean Plastic Art Mats.

Arranging paint-covered string for the pulled string art activity

Next, arrange your paint-covered string on a sheet of paper with one end of the string reaching off the edge.

At this point you will probably want to wash the paint off your hands. We kept a bowl of warm soapy water and a cloth rag in the studio for washing hands in between steps.

Placing 2nd paper over paint covered string

Now set a second sheet of paper over the paint-covered string…

Adding weight for pulled string art

…and then place a flat weight of some sort over the paper (A book or box or something would work. We used one of our art trays, which is not strictly a weight, but placed our hands on top of it to hold it down.) and then slowly pull the string out from between the two sheets of paper.

Revealing mirror image string prints

Remove the weight and lift the top paper to reveal your new mirror-image string art!

Mirror Image Pulled String Art

Admire the super cool designs and details the string made as it was pulled between the two pieces of paper.

Mirror Image Pulled String Art on Floor

Daphne and I exclaimed over each new string print as we made them and soon our floor was covered with the drying string art.

Mirror Image Pulled String Art on Drying Wall

I hung them all up on our art display/drying wall (and then we covered the floor with even more).

Preparing to do a large pulled string art piece

Finally, Daphne asked if we could make a really big one, so we got out two pieces of poster board and cut longer lengths of string. We decided to use a couple of different paint colors on the large string art.

Detail on Large Pulled String Art

The large artworks turned out beautifully!! Here Daphne’s pointing out a detail that she said looks like a knot in the string.

Large two-toned pulled string art

I love how the string art looks with two colors! And look forward to experimenting more with this super cool art process.

Large two-toned pulled string art

I highly  recommend giving this art activity a try!

More String Art Activities for Kids

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How to Do Pulled String Art with Kids

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I recommend to use different colors on one string. For example one third red, one third yellow, one third blue! The result is awesome :)

I thought you were going to say this came from my book, Scribble Art! LOL! It’s an *old* activity book — I still love it. I learned to do this when I taught kindergarten in 1971. The good ol’ days of what we called “individualized teaching” … taking a child from wherever they were to wherever they could go. It worked too. Testing was not a big deal then.

Your string paintings are fantastic!

Another way to do it is to use a large paper that you fold in half. Put the painty string on just one half, fold the page over it, hold down the page with one hand and gently pull the painty string out with the other hand.
So much fun….however you do it!

Beautiful!! Have read about this art before but have not yet tried it – looking at your work (s) I will definitely catch up on that!
Love it,

Hi Jean… I don’t have kids, but I am a mixed media artist, which basically means I have never seen an art form I didn’t want to adopt. Looking forward to trying this out in my own art!

My daughter is almost two years old. She has a nice hardcover sketchbook that we use for our experiments. Everytime we try a new technique on paper we also do a page in her book. This makes a beautiful keepsake. This morning we tried the pulled string technique. We simply placed a string between two pages and then closed the book. We used three different colors and let the paint dry a bit after each color. This really is my favorite page in the book so far, what a fun and beautiful technique! Thanks for sharing.

I’ve done this before and had the kids turn the paper and observe what it reminds them of (kind of like looking at clouds for identifiable shapes). After that, they use a variety of media – pastels, crayons, colored pencils, etc – to add details to bring out what they saw.