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How to Make Captivating Pulled String Art

Make a pulled string art painting with paint, paper, liquid watercolors, and string. The process is captivating and the results are beautiful.

captivating pulled string art for kids

A couple of years ago, my daughter and I joined in on Rachelle’s ArtStart Challenge and instantly became complete and total process art addicts. Messy or clean, wild and crazy or calm and thoughtful, rainbowy or brown sludge, we love it ALL! We make up our own methods and search Pinterest and Instagram for new ideas regularly, but recently we tried one that we had seen on Facebook: pulled string art.

Have you seen that video? Kinley and I gave it a go with our beloved liquid watercolors and it’s just as amazing and irresistible as it looks — we could NOT STOP! Wanna try it, too?

It’s easy-peasy but the paint does tend to fly, so make sure you get your smocks or paint clothes on before you get started.

Note: This post may contain affiliate links

Supplies for pulled string art

    • small jars or cups
    • string, cut into 18 inch pieces
    • a book that you don’t mind getting a few paint splatters on, we used an adult coloring book
    • printer paper

How to make pulled string art

pulled string art liquid watercolor paint

Step 1: Pour watercolors into jars

Pour your watercolors into the small jars and plop one string in each jar leaving about two inches hanging over the edge to hold onto.

how to make pulled string art

Step 2: Fold your paper in half

Fold your piece of printer paper in half and put it in the middle of your open book.

Step 3: Coat your string in paint

Choose your first color, make sure the string is coated in paint, and pull it out of the jar. You’ll want to drag it through your finger and thumb to scrape off the excess watercolors — you can wear gloves for this part or earn your process art rainbow fingers badge of honor and go without.

Step 4: Move the string into position

Arrange the string on the side of your paper that will stay on the table when you shut your book. You can make loops, squiggles, whatever you want. There’s no wrong way to place a string!

Step 5: Close the paper in a book

Shut the book and, while pressing on the cover firmly with one hand, use the other to pull that string out of the book.

Step 6: Check out the results of your pulled string art

The first time you go hunting through your book to find the art page, you’ll be hooked guaranteed. It’s like a gorgeous surprise!

You can do it all over again with a different color on the same sheet. Repeat over and over with as many colors as you’d like and then make more and more until you’re out of paint and your finished art stack is so high it’s threatening to become an artalanche!

Don’t be afraid to try your own spin — different paints, different kinds of string. Our new favorite way to make string art is to use photo paper instead of printer paper. (See an example of this in the image above “Supplies for String Art.”) That stuff makes every art project extra magical!

More string art ideas

String painting with tempera paint

Make abstract art critters with string and markers

Stringing beads for toddlers and preschoolers

About Cara

Cara Huff is a homeschooling stay-at-home momma of one with a passion for picture books, hands-on learning, & ALL things creative! If you like this project, you can find all of Cara’s other rainbow-colored ideas on Instagram, her blog RaisingKinley.com, and on Facebook.

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43 Comments

  1. What kind of string do you use.

    • i used yarn and it works but you coud probobly use any kind

  2. Thanks for the article. are these the type of water colors that you used? The affiliate link has only 6 colors in that box, and it doesn’t have a hot pink color that you used.

    • Hi Eva, I updated the post with links to both primary colors and the hot colors shown here. Thanks for asking 🙂

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

  4. Can this be done on a canvas? Would liquid water color or tempera work better then? I’m looking for an auction piece my preschool class can do.

    • You could definitely try! The texture of canvas will likely change the effect. Tempera would be a better option than watercolors.

  5. Beautiful!!! I want to experiment on paper and then Transparencies. So reminds me of Chihuly. Any thoughts?

    • Yes – I can see the Chihuly resemblance for sure. I used to work at a museum with 3 of his chandeliers, and they look just like this!

  6. The instructions and supplies necessary for the wire drawing art you share are very interesting and attractive. I appreciate your sharing.

    • It looks like a lot of fun. My question is about drying time. After you pull your first string, do you have to let it dry before you place your second sting or do you continue with everything wet.

      • Wendy Lee,
        Either way will work, with different results. If the paint is still wet the areas where the paints intersect will create a new color (red and yellow will create orange, etc.) If you let the paint dry before adding the second string the colors will remain more distinct. My experience has always been with tempera paint rather than liquid watercolor, so the results with that paint may differ.
        My advice: try it both ways and see which you like best.
        Dena

      • Hi Wendy,
        Drying time is pretty quick, but if you can’t wait, go ahead and pull another color while it’s wet. the colors will likely bleed together a bit, which would also be beautiful.

  7. This can be done on fabric using acrylic paint thinned with a textile medium. Heat set once it’s dry by covering it with paper and ironing it for about 30 seconds.

    • What a great suggestion – thanks so much, Lydia.

  8. I have done string art for years with all ages. When I started, liquid watercolors were not even available. I used easel paint and large sheets of construction paper. My favorite part was the looks on the kids faces when they saw what they had created!

    • I’m so glad you shared this memory, Dena. The process is pure magic, like printmaking.

  9. These are beautiful! I have done something similar with string. I folded the paper and cut a small hole on the folded side. Then we put the string in the paint keeping both ends dry and getting paint on the middle part of the string. We then laid the wet string down on the paper with the two dry ends sticking out the hole. When we pulled the string through, we had butterflies.

    • Wow – that’s such a cool idea, Marilee. I’m glad you shared it. Thank you!

  10. Hey Rachelle! So excited to finally get to this project, but I have had ZERO success…. I have tried little paint, lots of paint, little water added, just enough water added, printer paper, watercolour paper, 3 different brands of liquid watercolours & still just end up with a BLOB of paint stained paper … it’s very disappointing to fail in front of the kids lesson learned everything I see on line, try prior to kids being there :/ So, If you could help me figure out WHAT I am doing wrong, I’d appreciate the help. I have done a TON of your activities & I haven’t failed as bad as this before…. Anyone else with recommendations are welcome too. (I’ve posted my results on my instagram)….

  11. Prettiest thing out there. Going to make more now. I stick the completed masterpiece in with every article I give away. Flowers. V
    Cookies. Masks. Have you tried hydro dipping. Thanks for sharing your love.
    Kathy

  12. […] Pulled String Art. This art project resembles a colorful bouquet when finished — perfect for Mother’s Day. Fill some jars with watercolor paint and dip a string into each. Meanwhile, fold a blank page of paper in half, then unfold it and lay it inside an old book you don’t mind getting splattered. Choose one string and lay it on the folded paper in any form of loops and squiggles. Shut the book on it, press it firmly closed, and have the kids pull the string out. Get the full instructions on TinkerLab. […]

  13. […] Pulled String Art. Dieses Kunstprojekt ähnelt einem farbenfrohen Blumenstrauß, wenn es fertig ist – perfekt für den Muttertag. Füllen Sie einige Gläser mit Aquarellfarbe und tauchen Sie jeweils eine Schnur in jede. Falten Sie in der Zwischenzeit eine leere Seite Papier in zwei Hälften, falten Sie sie dann auseinander und legen Sie sie in ein altes Buch, das Ihnen nichts ausmacht, bespritzt zu werden. Wählen Sie eine Schnur und legen Sie sie in einer beliebigen Form von Schleifen und Kringeln auf das gefaltete Papier. Schließen Sie das Buch, drücken Sie es fest zu und lassen Sie die Kinder die Schnur herausziehen. Holen Sie sich die vollständigen Anweisungen auf TinkerLab. […]

  14. […] Pulled String Art. This art project resembles a colorful bouquet when finished — perfect for Mother’s Day. Fill some jars with watercolor paint and dip a string into each. Meanwhile, fold a blank page of paper in half, then unfold it and lay it inside an old book you don’t mind getting splattered. Choose one string and lay it on the folded paper in any form of loops and squiggles. Shut the book on it, press it firmly closed, and have the kids pull the string out. Get the full instructions on TinkerLab. […]

  15. […] Pulled String Artwork. This artwork mission resembles a colourful bouquet when completed — good for Mom’s Day. Fill some jars with watercolor paint and dip a string into every. In the meantime, fold a clean web page of paper in half, then unfold it and lay it inside an previous e book you don’t thoughts getting splattered. Select one string and lay it on the folded paper in any type of loops and squiggles. Shut the e book on it, press it firmly closed, and have the youngsters pull the string out. Get the total directions on TinkerLab. […]

  16. […] May 6 – Mindful Mediation with Jeff Krisman (12:15 PM via Zoom) + Art21 Video  Thursday, May 7 – Pulled String Art + Living Arts Happy Hour (4:00 PM via Facebook Live)  Friday, May 8 – Archival Video (Tatsuyani […]

  17. […] Pulled String Art. This art project resembles a colorful bouquet when finished — perfect for Mother’s Day. Fill some jars with watercolor paint and dip a string into each. Meanwhile, fold a blank page of paper in half, then unfold it and lay it inside an old book you don’t mind getting splattered. Choose one string and lay it on the folded paper in any form of loops and squiggles. Shut the book on it, press it firmly closed, and have the kids pull the string out. Get the full instructions on TinkerLab. […]

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