String Art Trellis

by The Ladies of Foret

Two things we love: string art and flowering vines. Many of our favorite vining flowers or vegetables, such as sweet peas, morning glories or cucumbers, need a building or a trellis of string and poles to support their upward growth. Cucumbers in particular do better when lifted off the ground and are away from the susceptibility of rot and diseases. Upward vining plants also allow more ground space in a container, flower bed, or garden to plant more beauty and variety. Trellises can be made or bought and usually consist of a combination of thin poles of bamboo or wood, plastic netting, clothesline, or metal structures. We wanted to bring a little more visual interest into the garden with a decorative trellis made of hand-dyed twine– creating something bright and aesthetically pleasing before it’s been taken over by vines and growth. Also, there are some new hands in the photos– welcoming our first intern, Charlotte, to the team who travelled all the away from Lyon, France to work by our side (nothing like learning a little French while working with flowers)! -the Ladies of Forêt

Full directions after the jump!

First, know where you plan on planting your viney friends whether it will be in a planter, a raised bed, garden, etc. This will help you to know how big to make your structure. We’ll provide the dimensions we used but you may want to vary and adjust them depending on your space. Secondly, decide what you’ll be planting– if you’re doing cucumbers, for example, you’ll need to make some modifications to support the weight of the cukes. The structure we made is great for the flowers listed below.

Materials and Tools

For trellis:

  • natural hemp or twine
  • fabric dye (we choose 3 colors for ours: dark green, chartreuse, and orange as a pop)
  • plastic buckets
  • scissors
  • garden stakes
  • ruler or measuring tape
  • chop saw or hand saw
  • nail gun or screws and a drill
  • wood glue

For planted elements:

  • garden or container for flowers (our container was 2′ x 8″)
  • soil
  • flowers vines: morning glories, african sunset black-eyed susan vines, or sweet peas
  • for containers, complimentary flowers to vines such as euphorbia, calibrachoa, or petunias

1. Start with dying the string, since it will need time to dry before it’s strung through your trellis. Cut and coil your hemp string or twine into 6′ segments.

2. Make 3 separate dye baths in plastic buckets using hot water and salt (follow the instructions on the dye package as there maybe be variations between different brands).

3. Soak twine bundles for 15 minutes or until desired hue is reached. We dyed 10 bundles of each color (30 bundles total). Remember that when the string dries it will be slightly lighter in saturation. Remove string from dye baths and rinse until water runs clear and then set out to dry.

4. For the structure, we used 4′ garden stakes. We left two stakes intact and cut a third stake into 2 @ 20″ lengths.

5. Measure 1″ increments down the length of both of the 20″ wood stakes; at these measured increments, drill a hole using a 1/8″ drill bit.

6. Building your frame: using either a nail gun or a drill and wood screws tact together one of the 20″ segments in between the two taller stakes at the top of the stakes (non-pointed side) creating an upside down “U”. Make sure that the holes in the small segment would face up towards the sky if the pointed ends of the stakes were stuck in the ground. To finish your frame, attach the second 20″ segment inbetween the “U” somewhere between 10″- 16″ from the ends or pointed side.

7. Begin threading the dyed string through the holes in vertical formations. We focused on doing a loose gradient of dark to light and then dark again with the orange as our central pop color. We also went back in and added additional holes to create variety in the density of the parallel strings. Play around with the different patterns and then secure the string tautly by tying knots at each of the ends on the outside of the frame.

8. Plant your seedlings or starts in your container or bed. Insert your frame into the soil directly behind your vines. As they start to grow assist the vines onto the string and then they can take it from there!



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