no paint artwork in 15 minutes

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Simple white canvases above my bed.

I never really thought too much about these canvases until my cousin mentioned they were his favorite pieces of art in my apartment.


What was once an unsuccessful attempt to make jewelry displays later became an inexpensive way to fill the space above my bed. Nevertheless, I will accept the compliment and now I am excited to share this simple no paint project (read: apartment friendly).

I bought two $22 primed canvases from Blick, a spool of textured charcoal thread, and a foot of charcoal starched linen-like fabric. I cut the gray fabric into 14-18 leaves for each canvas and cut a small slit in the center of each leaf to make room for the thread.

Then, I wound the thread across the canvas front to back about 12-20 times, threading leaves as I went. Once I was out of thread or liked how it looked, I cut the end and knotted it to the first thread. Done.

Can this even count as a project? Seriously?

There are a million ways this could be evolved into even more elaborate artwork. If anyone tries this project, please send me a picture to post!

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  1. Rachel

    Genius! And they really do look lovely.

  2. Danny

    I’m a big fan of these.

    I need to try to do simpler projects like this more often rather than spending so much time working on and changing the same project (which is hanging unfinished on my wall at the moment).

  3. PS~Erin

    It’s the creative thought that makes these art… Yes, anybody could construct them, but not anyone can have the creative genius to pick the materials and put them together in such an interesting way. So cool. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Jess Constable

    @ Rachel, PS Erin, Miss Aimee: Thank you, ladies!

    @ Danny: Definitely might help to tackle something small like this first. But I hope to one day get a little more complicated and start painting myself :). The grass is always greener.

  5. Miss E

    So creative and it sounds so easy! Thanks for sharing…I might have to try it out myself when I get an itch to be creative. Or maybe you should just sell them…? 🙂

  6. Jess Constable

    @ Miss E: What a great idea! I don’t think I have the time to sell them, but if someone takes the idea and runs with it, it could be a nice little Etsy shop in the making.

  7. hello! i came across your string art canvases via decor8 and fell in love! i had been searching for a good way to add color and simple but beautiful design to my living room. i recreated your string art with some color and love the results! thanks so much for sharing your ideas 🙂

    – youngmi

    (i mentioned the project on my blog if you’re interested in seeing how they turned out.

  8. Natalie

    I really love this! I’m going to try this weekend, but probably with blue. What a great idea- thank you for sharing!

  9. persis

    im seriously in love with this DIY!

    just stumbled upon your blog and i have to say its LOVELY! do drop by mine too when you have some time. perhaps we can follow each other. =)


  10. Kelly

    love it! I thought it was birds on wires, but i guess it could be leaves! It reminds me of a painting I saw called birds on a wire, or something like that, lol!

  11. Alex

    Jess, could you please let me know what type of fabric you used to make the leaves? I can’t seem to find anything thick enough that doesn’t bend/curl.

    Thanks a bunch!!

  12. Jess

    Alex, Thanks so much for reaching out about the flowers! I made them a few years ago with pretty cheap fabric. I’m not sure exactly what kind of fabric it was… my guess is a reallllly stiff linen? It was definitely not fashion fabric for clothing. But other than that, I’m not sure.

    Hope this helps!

  13. noliah

    For the past few days I’ve been trying to think of the right image to put across a pair of plain, sheer white curtains. This is it! Thanks! I was getting a bit cranky from not being able to figure something out.

  14. nikki

    this is so great! I think I shall try to make this.

  15. linda.

    love. simple + innovative. just what i am looking for to spruce up my newly painted bathroom. per your invitation, i will indeed try an iteration of this technique. . .and i will certainly post you a pic. thanks for the inspiration!

  16. Ashley

    This is beautiful I think it’d be cute if the leaf cutouts were birds, so it would look something like birds on telephone lines….i think i’ll try that 😀

  17. linda.

    i did it!


    came out great, i’m so pleased. thanks for this wonderful idea.
    i gave you props on my blog. . .hope it’s ok to have linked this post 🙂

  18. I love the contemporary look of the dark string and leaves on a white background. I just painted my bedroom greige (gray/beige) and need artwork above my bed. I think this design is perfect, but I am grappling with a color scheme that will be monochromatic. I want to act a bright splash of yellow here and there when done. Any ideas?

  19. Love the paint chip art! Unlike the Marilyn Monroe in paint-chip-pixels, I might actually be able to do that.

  20. Caroline

    Genius! I’ve been looking for something black and white for my bathroom. I’m going to take it a step further and spray paint the canvas black first and use white thread/fabric.

  21. Which color would be best if we have a wooden textured bed with red bedsheets and a pink wall background?

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