Pulled String Paintings

Pulled String Paintings

Want to create some art that will surprise you? Create unique pieces of artwork by pulling strings across a piece of paper! 

Ages:
5 - 16
Est. Time:
<30 mins

How we did it:

Materials List

  1. paper
  2. picture frame - empty
  3. liquid watercolors
  4. small containers
  5. yarn
  6. scissors
  7. transparency
  8. paper towels
  1. Step 1

    Gather your materials. 

  2. Step 2

    Cut a piece of string about 2 feet long. Then, dip the string in one of the liquid watercolors.

  3. Step 3

    Lightly blot it on a paper towel. Then, gently lay the string down in the middle of the paper. 

  4. Tip!

    Leave a few inches of string at the end to hang out of the bottom of the paper. That's the string you're going to pull on later. 

  5. Step 4

    Place the transparency sheet over the paper, sandwiching the string between the paper and the transparency. Then, place the picture frame over the thread. 


    If you don't have a transparency sheet, it works just as well to sandwich the string between two sheets of paper - you just won't be able to see the string as you pull.


  6. Step 5

    While you press down on the frame, pull the string out in one swift movement. 

  7. Learn More!

    Watch the way the string moves as you pull it. The lines that you see forming are a result of the string being pulled while under pressure! Experiment further by trying to pull the string without pressing down on the frame. What happens? 

  8. Step 6

    Gently remove the frame and the transparency. 

  9. Step 7

    Repeat steps 2-6 with as many colors as you'd like! 

  10. Step 8

    When you're happy with your piece of art, frame it and hang it up!

  11. Learn More!

    This kind of art making technique is called process art. It's an non-traditional method that focuses on the process of making instead of following a predetermined composition or plan. 


    One reason process art is so fun is the element of surprise. You, the artist, don't get to choose exactly how the string will land or how the colors will streak on the paper. This means you get to discover the artwork as you create it. That's why we used the transparency sheet, to allow you see see what the string is doing as you pull. Have fun creating - and discovering - cool, colorful art!