Llama Nail Art Tutorial by Christine Leech

Who is it that decides what is going to be the Next Big Thing? Who says it's flamingos or pineapples or copper and marble? I think whoever it is is trying to big up the Llama this season as I've seen a few greetings cards and notebooks decorated with our little fluffy friends. And I for one am happy to embrace this emerging trend and help the little Llama gain worldwide attention. 

For this tutorial I have taken the ancient (at least from the 1970's) art of nail and string work and given it a fun colorful twist with this Llama and pom pom piece of wall art. 

Initially I was thinking of using drift wood or old floorboards for the wood part of this project but then I thought who actually have these lying around and it's a bit of a faff to sand all the edges and drill the hanging holes before you even get to the fun crafty bit. When I was out shopping I noticed there were lots of wooden chopping boards and serving platters that were interesting shapes, with ready made hanging holes and I thought they were perfect for this project. The one I've used is from Matalan but Tiger and Sainsbury's have good cheap versions too. 

You will need:

A wooden chopping board or serving platter, small 15mm pin nails plus one slightly larger nail for his eye, a small hammer, long nosed pliers (optional), Puppets Eldorado cotton yarn size 10 in various colors, a black Sharpie pen, and the llama template below.

I sketched the Llama shape for this project but you can right click on the template below and save it to use for your project.

llama string art

1. Take the template and tape it to the wooden board.

2. Starting anywhere on the template begin tapping the nails into the wood, keep going till you've done the whole outline. If the nails get fiddly to hold you can grip them between a pair of long nose pliers which will make it easier. Hammer the larger nail in place for his eye.

3. Rip the template from the wood, make sure you get all the paper bits away from the nails. 

4. Take the white yarn and tie it to one of the nails, begin winding the yarn around the nails, wind the yard around a nail, pull tight and then move on to the next, wind all around the outline. 

5. As you reach his tail, wind the yarn between the nails to create a star shape then wind the yarn back down the tail nails in the opposite direction to create a thicker outline.

6. When you have completed the outline start filling in the shapes with different colored yarns. There's no rhyme or reason to the way I have wound the yarn in his legs - it's like one of those games you used to play with pens and dots and seeing if you could reach every dot without taking your pen off the paper. Wind back and forth till you are happy with the pattern, to accentuate the outline also wind the colored yard between the nails as you did the white outline. 

7. Fill the legs and neck with yarn. When you reach his face there is a slightly different technique to use. Tie the white yarn to the eye nail and then working your way around the circle of nails that make up his face. Wind the yarn around one nail, cross it over and then wind back around the eye nail. Keep going around the circle till the face is complete. Repeat the technique around his muzzle. This little video may help 

When finished color the top of the nail black with a sharpie pen

8.  Make seven pom poms using a small pom pom maker or even around a fork and using a glue gun fix them in place in the body space. 

9. Add some extra nails to make clumps of grass or extra decorations. 

Voila! All ready to hang on the wall! 

llama nail art

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