Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is the history of this art form?

A. String art has been around for a while, having its origins in the ‘curve stitch’ activities invented by Mary Everest Boole at the end of the 19th century. It is popular in the craft world – a search on Instagram turns up hundreds of thousands of beautiful examples. Over the past few years, computer-assisted artists applied their skills to expand this art form. In early 2016, Marek Gibney published a post on Reddit of an eye drawn in 2013 with nothing but straight lines. Later in 2016, Petros Vrellis got a lot of interest with his series of string portraits inspired by El Greco’s paintings. Since then, many artists and developers have contributed with their take on this art form. We are inspired and humbled by this community.

Q. Will the physical string product look exactly like the digital preview?

A. The physical product will have the same number and position of lines (strings) as the digital preview. However, there will be minor variations between the two because of

  • Color: We do our best to match screen colors to the real world. However, because of differences in lighting and displays, the colors in the product you receive may not match what you see on your display.
  • Depth: The digital preview is a two dimensional image. Because of the number of overlapping string passes, the physical product has an inherent three dimensionality. This makes the look of the product change on viewing angle, light and shadows. We have added actual product photos to some product pages, for example this one. The light here was from the left, you can see that shadows of the thread and frame on the wall change the look of the product from its digital preview.
Q. My input image looks great, but the converted digital preview does not! Why?

A. The act of converting an input image to its string version inherently leads to a loss of detail. This gives the string image an ambiguous and slightly mysterious feel, which works really well for some images but not for others.

Do try out different levels of brightness and contrast, and change the number of strings in the digital preview. You may see an improvement in the result.

Q. Does more string mean a better product?

A. Not always. Increasing the number of string passes will increase the amount of detail seen. However, it also makes the product more dense. This could make viewing the image in the strings difficult unless the lighting, viewing angle and background are just right.

Q. How large is the frame?

A. The frame is 58.4cm (23 inches) in diameter.

Q. What are the materials used?

A. The frame is made of chrome plated mild steel. This is coated with a layer of lead-free red oxide primer and then with synthetic enamel paint of the chosen color.

The screws are steel “cheese head” machine screws. They are mounted on the frame with a thread-locking fluid to keep them in place.

The string is spun polyester thread.

We ship the product in corrugated packaging made from brown kraft paper (typically made from bagasse pulp / recycled paper).

Q. Can I modify an existing product in the shop?

A. Because of the way our website is built, you cannot modify an existing product. However, you can create a new product using the images of an existing product in the shop.

If you want to change the pan or zoom attributes: Go to the product page and save the unmodified image to your computer or device. Then upload that image back into our image converter. You may need to fine-tune the brightness, contrast and invert before you hit Convert.

If you want to just change the colors or number of strings on an existing product: Use the modified (grayscale) image on the product page. Zoom it out completely in the converter and hit Convert. You can also checkout an existing product and add a note mentioning your preferred string and frame colors if they are different from the ones shown.

Q. I just created a public product. Why do I not see it on the ArtRapid homepage?

A. Due to the potential for abuse, we screen products before showing them on our website.

Q. Can I make the physical string product myself?

A. Absolutely! Every product page has a link to its corresponding pin sequence CSV file. You can open this with a spreadsheet software, and see the sequence of pins / screws that will generate the image. The pins are numbered as follows. Please tag us when you post your work on social media! ?

Pin sequence numbering
Q. Who is the lovely lady in the image converter?

A. We wish we knew! We came across her portrait on Pixabay and were struck with how well it converted into string. If you know who she is, please tell us. We would like to thank her.

If your question is not listed here, please contact us.