Guest ReFab: Guitar String Flowers... {Stringcycle} | the ReFab Diaries

My guitar was my great love from around age 10 until a few years ago, when a bum wrist forced me to hang it up. I know I've thrown out miles of old strings along the way - what did I know?!  Anyways, when I stumbled upon Stringcycle about 4 years ago, I was smitten for obvious reasons... and my "musical bouquet" has been in a vase on my dining-room table ever since (these babies don't wilt!). On a whim, I asked Julia if she'd be interested in doing some kind of stringcycle demo for me.  When she agreed I believe I did a little dance.

So, I'm beyond excited that today, I get to introduce Julia Friend as my first-ever guest blogger.... and, along with you lovely folk, finally learn how to make her tuneful blooms!

Julia gives a second life to used strings rescued from musical friends and instrument repair shops.  Why instrument strings?  "Because they're beautiful and infinitely useful!" Julia's a fan of homemade music and most things DIY, especially when it involves reclaiming used materials. She's been crafting with instrument strings for a decade, on and off, and sells her work at music festivals, craft fairs and on Etsy.  She stays on her toes by "refining designs to accent the properties of the strings and display good craftsmanship".  Be sure to check out all the beautiful pieces in her store or through Facebook ...  {Tutorial after the jump!}

Guitar String Flowers - Tutorial 
{Link with Love! This tutorial is for personal use (not personal profit) and should not be distributed/republished* }

What you need: 
- wire cutters

- craft/binding wire (available at hardware or craft stores)
- 1 thickish recycled guitar string
- 3 thinner recycled guitar strings
- a :)

Start with the thick string. Bend the bead end 90 degrees and loop the string into 3 coils.  Bend the tail end 90 degrees in the opposite direction. Each coil will become 2 petals - the ball end will be the stamen, the tail end will be the stem.

Press the coils flat with your fingers.

Loop the first crease around the stamen to make the first petal.

Continue stacking the creased parts around the stamen, to make a fan of petals.

Make 5 petals.

To make the 6th petal, feed the end of the string through the first petal from the underside. Then feed it through the stack of petals alongside the stamen, so it comes out the bottom.

Cut 1.5' of binding wire and wrap the end around the stamen.

Wrap the wire around the guitar strings where they cross one another. Your flower will look awesome no matter how you secure the petals! Lots of wire looped all over makes for a colorful center.

Here is the bare minimum of wire wrapping. The end of the wire is sent down through any gap in the middle in preparation for wrapping the stem.

Feed the three skinny strings through any holes in the craft wire loops and bend them where you'd like the bottom of the stem. Then bring them back through any loops at the top, pull them 'til the stem is straight and fold them again. You'll have three layers of stem string. Cut the ends of the strings a little before they reach the crease at the bottom of the stem.

Wrap the craft wire around the stem starting right under the flower and spiraling down. Make sure the craft wire covers the poky ends of the string at the bottom of the stem.

And .... you're done!  These instructions only tell you how to make simple, uniform flowers. Embrace the quirks in your first attempts! Use more binding wire to get things where you want them or to add flare. You can pinch the ends of the petals to change their shape, add more flowers lower on the stem, add a leaf, flatten or puff up your flower, etc. Put them in a vase, stick them in your hair or button hole, give one or several as gifts, or tease your cat.

*This tutorial is free for personal use (not personal profit or gain) and should not be distributed/republished without the express consent of Julia Friend and/or Candice Caldwell. I love getting shout outs from around the web, but please, link with love. Do not copy this post, publish more than 2 photos or outright steal this idea for commercial publications. If you have any questions, please email me. Thanks!

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  1. I love the tension of guitar wire; i have made the bird's nest brooch (with beads for "eggs") with it. It became a brooch for a friend who is also a music teacher. five beads represent her five kids. lovely.

  2. What a great way to re-purpose otherwise useless materials! You've got it down to a science, I can tell...very impressive. Thanks for the inspiration and tutorial!

    - Molly

  3. Wow, these guitar string flowers are so creative! Love the idea of giving old strings a new life as beautiful decor. Great job on the StringCycle concept! 🌸🎸 #UpcyclingMagic


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