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Square or Circle Burst

Materials Tools
1/4 x3x3 inch wood
5/8 inch nails
colored thread
PVC ring
Hot Glue
Paint brush
Drop cloth

See the String Chapter for more instructions, hints, tips, and ideas.

  1. Cut out the piece of wood, sand the edges smooth.
  2. tape the pattern to the piece of wood
  3. put a nail at every point indicated by the pattern
  4. remove pattern
  5. straighten nails with pliers
  6. paint (I prefer white because it makes most colors stand out. Use whatever will look good. Let paint dry thoroughly.)
  7. tie thread on first nail
  8. follow pattern to complete design
  9. tie thread on last nail
  10. place a small drop of glue on knots to hold them tight
  11. cut off excess thread
  12. hot glue PVC ring on back

The Circle Burst and Square Burst are very similar. The idea is to run a thread from one central nail to every other nail in the project. A special case of the Circle Burst is where the central nail is one of the nails in the circle itself.

Make sure that the thread is always kept tight. Looping the thread completely around each nail will help to keep tension in the thread.

Start by tying (use a square knot) the thread to the central nail.

Put a drop of glue on the knot, let it dry and trim off excess thread.

Now you need to make a decision. There are two methods that can be used to finish the project. These are described separately below.

In method 1, the pattern goes from one nail on the perimeter and continues around the perimeter in one direction (1, 2, 3, 4, ...). This results in the thread going up the central nail in a spiral.

Method 2 goes from one nail on the perimeter and alternates going clockwise with one then counterclockwise with the next (12, 13, 11, 14, 10, 15, 9, 16, 8, 17, ...). This results in the thread going up and down the central nail smoothly.

It does not matter which perimeter nail you start with. The thread goes from the central nail to the perimeter nail, is looped once around the perimeter nail and goes back to the central nail where it is looped around. Then proceed to the next nail (either in one direction for method 1 or alternating directions for method 2).

You will want to push the thread on the central nail down toward the wood so that each new loop is above all previous loops.

When you have made the loop around the last perimeter nail, run the thread back to the central nail, loop it around the nail, and tie it to itself using a square knot and a drop of glue. Trim off excess thread.

Here are some variations to try:

Copyright © 2001 Vincent Hale