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N is for Nails

A-Z of Craft

Welcome back to our ongoing series A to Z of Craft! This series showcases the different materials, tools and techniques our artisans use to create their one of a kind pieces. From traditional to innovative, by highlighting how our makers create, we are here to celebrate craft in all its wonderful iterations.

This time we spoke to Andrea of Blissful Days Designs who works from her studio in Brooklin, Ontario. Like many of our makers, Andrea transforms the seemingly mundane into the extraordinary, transforming every day items such as string and nails into beautiful, unique and inspiring art. She tells us all about how she started, her process and how string art has made a comeback.

Although Andrea is a regular customer at the One Of A Kind Show, the 2019 Winter show will be Andrea’s first One Of A Kind Show as an exhibitor and we’re so excited to have her! Be sure to come say hi and get your tickets today!


Photos by Petra King Photography.

For those that are not familiar with Blissful Days Designs, could you tell us about your craft?

I make string art. It's created using a piece of wood as the base, nails and string. It was a popular craft in the late 1960's and early 70's and made a comeback a few years ago.

What inspired you to start creating?

I've always been crafty. When I was little I once converted our garage into an art gallery and taped all my drawings to the wall. To me there is nothing more rewarding than making something for someone and seeing the joy it brings them.

How did you start working with nails?

I wanted to work with wood. However, I'm not the most handy person and power tools scare me. When I saw string art on Pinterest, I loved how it used wood, but no power tools were involved. Once I created my first piece I was hooked. I used hundreds of nails for each design. I love seeing the design take shape with only the nails before I add the string.

Could you give us some insight into your making process?

I start with a design that I created in my design program. I make sure that the lines aren't too close together and the details aren't too small. I print out the outline and tape it to the piece of stained wood I selected. I prefer to pre-drill the nail holes through my paper outline because I can then reuse my outline over and over again. Once all the holes are drilled, I nail in to each one of the holes. I try to keep the nails as straight as possible, pre-drilling helps with this as well. I love to see the design take shape as hammer the nails in. I find this process quite therapeutic. It helps me get out any frustrations. I can't say that it's my husband's favourite part though, it can be quite loud!

I use 3/4" wire nails. I like that the nail heads aren't too large. I have silver, gold and rose gold coloured nails. The coloured nails add a fun detail to my designs. I usually use on average between 200 and 400 nails for each string art design. The next step is selecting the string colours I want to use and start randomly filling in between the nails of each section. I have over 40 string colours to choose from so selecting the colours is sometimes not an easy task. I outline each section with a specific pattern that gives a nice clean edge to my designs. Once the design is complete I hide all the loose string ends and add a sawtooth hanger to the back.

Check out the ‘Welcome Spring’ bunny tutorial below to check out my process!

Tell us why your use of nails is One Of A Kind!

I use hundreds of nails for each of my designs. I make sure they are closely spaced so that each curve is smooth and not jagged. It's important to make sure the nail heads follow the shape of the design. I take the time to straighten any that don't. I create most of my designs digitally making them One Of A Kind.

Winter 2019 is your first One Of A Kind show! Could you tell us what it means to you to take part and become a part of the One Of A Kind Community?

I have been attending the One Of A Kind show for over 20 years. It is a Christmas tradition for my sister and I. I love walking around and seeing all the beautiful handmade creations and meeting with the makers. I still can't believe that I will be one of the makers this year showcasing my work at the show. It's a dream come true. As I explained to my husband, One Of A Kind is the super bowl of handmade shows. I'm honoured to be a vendor.

Do you have any new products to look out for?

I'm working on DIY kits. This way people can try string art with some guidance and direction. Each kit will come with a link to a tutorial video. I believe people need to visually see how to make each string art design. Written instructions wouldn't be detailed enough. I'm also working on a jewellery organizer that will have some fun designs or inspirational quotes.

Inspired? Shop Blissful Days Designs here!


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Would you like to have your OOAK craft showcased in this series? Click the link here to submit your entry!