Fundraising Crafts: Nail And String Art


There are at least two major challenges facing parents who are in the process of adopting: fundraising and preparing your family for a new child. String art projects can help with both of these challenges. Although string art originated in the 19th century, it gained popularity in the late 1960s. Like all things retro, string art is hip again.

String art’s popularity means you can create and sell adoption-themed string art as a way to raise money for your adoption. Creating the art is easy and appropriate to do with small children, so it’s also a great way to help prepare your family for a new member. The easiest way to do this is to create a project that showcases the geography of your adopted child’s country of origin.

There are several approaches. One is to use the outline of the continent as the starting point.

These projects start with the outline of Africa, and then they centered the heart over the location of the sending country. Another variation would be to do the shape of the sending country itself, with the heart located over the region of the country the child is coming from.

In order to work, your string art design must include an outline of the shape with a smaller shape within the outline. The string will run from the outside nails to the inside shape and back to create the design.


A wood board of appropriate size (8×10, 16×20) and 5/8” to 3/4” thick

Several dozen small nails

Yards of cotton or polyester craft string

Acrylic paint: base color for wood and accent for heart if desired

Printed outline of the country or continent


Fine grit sandpaper (optional)

Hanger for the back (optional)

Step 1: Sand and paint the wood board in advance, like the day before, so the paint has time to dry.

Step 2: Tape the paper outline of the design to the board.

Step 3: Gently tap in craft nails along the outline, leaving enough room for the string to pass in between, about an eighth to a quarter inch apart.

Step 4: String the nails. Tie the string to a nail on the outside, and then take the string up and around the opposite nail on the inside design.

Step 5: Continue to loop the string around an outside nail and inside nail until all the nails are strung. You will have more outside nails than inside, so just play around with how you distribute the string on the inside nails. There’s no rules on that one. Tie the string off on the last nail.

Step 6 (optional): Paint the nail heads of the interior design and/or exterior design.

Step 7 (optional): Attach a hanger to the back of the art (tabs from pop cans work well).

I’ve seen similar string art for sale from $50-$60, in case you do decide to use this craft as a fundraiser!

For more information about MLJ Adoptions’ international adoption programs, please click here.

MLJ Adoptions is a Non-Profit, Hague-Accredited adoption service provider located in Indianapolis, Indiana, working in Africa, Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Pacific Isles. We are passionate about serving children in need.