Baby is absolutely wild about Batman and Batgirl. She has a Batgirl cape and a talking utility belt and more than one Batgirl mask. She cried when the Batman animated series was dropped from Netflix.
She went as “Batman-Batgirl” for Halloween — an important distinction. She’ll correct you if you say she just went as Batgirl. She went as both.
Baby and Monster ask to listen to “Be My Batgirl” by Clashing Plaid at least once a day.
So for Christmas 2017, I knew I wanted to build something for Baby, and Batgirl was on my mind. I’d been seeing a lot of string art on Pinterest, and decided to give it a shot. It was a lot easier than I expected! Here’s a shot of the finished product. The blurred section is Baby’s name, done in stenciled glitter paint.
What You’ll Need
A flat board
A Batman symbol template (I used a birthday paper plate)
Paint Your Board
I used a decorative board I found at Target for $6 in their project section. I liked that it still had the bark on the edges, but the bark was prone to flaking off, so I probably wouldn’t use it again. You could use any piece of flat board. You want it to be about a foot wide and tall, but it’s okay if the dimensions aren’t precise.
If you’re using scrap wood, you’ll want to sand it first. Since this was a store-bought piece that came pre-sanded, I was able to skip that step.
I used some coal-black acrylic paint to paint the board. This will give a nice contrasting background to the bright pink string I’ll be using to create the Batgirl symbol.
After painting the board, I left it to dry and came back later. This paint dries pretty quickly, so it only needed an hour or so.
Build The Shape With Nails
As my template, I used a Batman birthday plate. I picked up a pack of 10-15 of them from Target for about $1.50. I used small brass 3/4 inch nails. I felt the brass would look good against the black surface. You can use any small nail you like.
You can see from the photo that I stuck a nail in each of the major points of the bat, then I finished out the perimeter of the shape, spacing nails about every half an inch. Don’t stress too much about precise nail placement — once you start threading the string through, any imperfections won’t be super noticeable.
Here’s a shot of the finished nail template for our Batgirl string art. Once I placed my final nail, I just carefully peeled off the plate, leaving the nails behind.
Thread the String
I used one long piece of string for the entire Batman symbol. I wish I’d taken more in-progress pictures, but it was difficult to keep the string taut and take photos at the same time.
I started by tying a tiny loop to one of the points of the “cowl,” then used the string to frame out the shape. Deciding which side of each nail to wind the string on was largely trial and error — the important thing is to keep the string tight. If it’s too slack, the whole thing will look wobbly. Once I had the outer shape filled out, I simply started connecting nails across the shape of the Batman symbol to fill it in.
I didn’t stress too much about making it uniform. There’s probably some pattern or formula I could have used to make the symbol look very symmetrical, but I liked the messy irregular look better.
To finish it out, I just tied another loop around a nail and cinched it tight, then clipped off the excess string with a pair of scissors.
I can’t really show the last part in pictures, but I left a decent amount of space at the top of the board, and asked Angela to paint Baby’s name there. She used some beautiful stencils and pink glitter paint to add Baby’s name.
I would have added a hanging bracket to the back to hang it on the wall, but since we can’t hang anything in the apartment, I didn’t feel like it was necessary. We just have it propped up on a photo stand in the living room.
Baby loves her Batgirl symbol. Her face totally lit up when she saw it on Christmas morning.
What Do You Think?
I’ll definitely be doing more string art in the future. I love the look of it, and it’s relatively easy to do — just a little time consuming. Monster is hardcore fangirling over Minnie Mouse right now, so maybe I’ll do a similar board with a Minnie Mouse motif for her this year. Have you ever tried string art?