Air plants have a very ethereal quality about them: They are unlike other plants because they don’t need to be rooted in soil and they can hang in the air freely. Their ability to live without soil makes them perfect for creative decor and art. If you are looking to add these fun plants to your decor then consider creating DIY air plant string art.
Our DIY air plant tutorial includes easy step-by-step instructions that can be modified to fit your style. To make string art, you just need to create the design of your choice with nails and string on a frame or wood plaque. Once you have your desired string design, adorn the string with air plants to create a unique and fun piece of living art. Use the jump-tos below to skip to your desired section:
Types of Air Plants to Use
Air plants are typically small which is one of the main things to look for when selecting plants for your art. Smaller plants will hang in your string design more easily than bigger plants. Also, keep in mind the color and shape of the plant. Do you want a plant that’s colorful or demure, stout and spiny or thin and wispy? Even though you can include taller air plants because of how light they are, you’ll want to stick mostly to plants that measure 1–3 inches, like these plants:
- Tillandsia ionantha rubra
- Tillandsia ionantha scaposa
- Tillandsia ionantha ‘Guatemala’
- Tillandsia ionantha ‘Mexico’
- Tillandsia ionantha ‘Fuego’
- Tillandsia argentina
- Tillandsia tenuifolia
- Tillandsia filfolia
Materials + Tools Needed
- Wood board, frame or plaque — This will serve as the base for your project, so it needs to be thick enough to put nails in.
- Small nails — Get nails that are about as long as your wood is thick, as they will need to go deep enough in the wood so that they’re stable. Plus, you’ll need at least an inch of the nail exposed above the wood to wrap the string around.
- String — You can use a variety of materials to create your design, just make sure it’s thin enough to wrap and tie around your nails.
- Air plants — We found that air plants with the smallest roots were the easiest to attach but the plants you select depend entirely on the style you want.
- Hammer — Try to use a small hammer for more precision when nailing the small nails in.
- Scissors — Smaller scissors work better for cutting the excess string around the nails, but larger scissors should work fine as well.
- Pencil — Use a pencil that erases well and try to use light strokes on your project so no markings show on the final project.
- Eraser — We recommend a non-smudging white eraser to reduce the chance of leaving eraser marks on the project.
- Paint (optional) — If you decide that you want to paint your wood, we recommend acrylic paint. Let your paint dry completely before starting the project.
How to Create Air Plant String Art
Project time: 15–30 minutes
Now that you have an idea of which plants to use, it’s time to create your own air plant string art! Follow our detailed step-by-step instructions below. Note that we chose to paint our wood plaque white — if you want a colored wood plaque, make sure you leave enough time to paint your wood and let it dry completely before beginning.
Step 1: Mark where your nails will go.
Use a pencil to lightly mark where you want your nails to go. Note that designs with straight edges will be easier to execute than rounded designs because it is harder to create a smooth curve with the nails and string. If you are planning an intricate design, we recommend sketching your design on a piece of paper before marking your wood.
Step 2: Hammer your nails into the wood.
Hammer your nails into the wood and make sure they are secure. Try to nail them into the wood at an even height that you can wrap your string around. Be careful not to hammer them too deep so they stick out the back of your plaque or frame.
Pro Tip: Use a non-smudge eraser to remove any visible pencil marks. It will be a lot harder to erase once your string is on, so use a piece of paper if you want to reference your string design.
Step 3: Tie string to the nail of your desired starting point.
Tie your string to your starting point nail and secure it with a tight knot. We recommend starting on an edge or corner because it’s usually easier to work your way in, but depending on your design you may prefer to start somewhere else.
Step 4: Wrap your string around the nails to create your design.
Take your string and wrap it around different nails to create your design. You can double loop the string around the nail for a more secure hold.
Pro Tip: Use a variety of string colors to contrast with your wood and accentuate your design.
Step 5: Tie your string and cut any loose ends.
Once your design is complete, make sure the string is tight enough between the nails so it can hold up the air plants. Secure your design by tying your string in a double knot, then cut any loose ends.
Step 6: Place your air plants in the string.
Now take your air plants and place them strategically in your string design. Make sure you spread them out enough so your design is still visible. If you are having a hard time making your plants stay in place, try tucking a couple of their bottom leaves in the string.
Step 7: Display your art and enjoy!
Showcase your DIY air plant string art propped up on a table or hang it on a wall. Display your art along with simple decor so your unique design remains the focal point.
Styling Tips for Your Living Air Plant Art
Air plant art can be created and styled in a variety of ways. Experiment with different patterns and colors to find the look that best suits your style. We’ve included three different style ideas below for inspiration.
Minimalist Air Plant String Art
The goal is to go as simple and clean as possible with this style, so try using a natural or white wood frame, matching nails and clear fishing line. Take a ruler and create a precise grid pattern. Attach multi-colored or green air plants — the goal is to make the plants look like they are floating. Once complete, prop it against a wall next to a simple vase.
Playful Air Plant String Art
For a playful style, we chose the color of the year (coral) for the background wood — but use whatever color you prefer! Try white nails and string to make your design pop, then add air plants and display next to another bright decor piece — we liked the whimsical look of this string design and fun plaque.
Bohemian Air Plant String Art
For a bohemian look, tuse exposed light wood, light brown nails, leather string and green air plants. Try using an embroidery circle for an interesting shape and a fun upcycling project. Hang your air plant string art on the wall and style it with a hanging plant or a piece of driftwood.
Air Plant Care: How to Maintain Your Living Art
Because you’ve created living art, you will need to make sure that you give your air plants proper care. They are pretty resilient plants, but these care tips will help keep your air plants healthy and happy.
Water — These trendy tropical plants don’t need to be potted because they absorb moisture from the atmosphere. In their super humid natural habitat, they get all of the moisture they need, but in places that are drier than the tropics, it is important to make sure they receive enough water.
To water your air plants, remove them from the string art and soak their roots in water for 10–15 minutes every week. Once it has soaked, shake off the excess water and flip the plant upside down on a towel. Set the plant in a bright space so it can dry off for about an hour. Some people like to mist their air plants about twice a week. The hotter and drier your climate, the more you will have to water and mist your plant. Make sure not to overwater them or they will rot.
Temperature — Air plants do best in temperatures no lower than 50º F and as high as 90–95º F. They are used to very moist air so that is a plus if you live in a humid climate. You should be careful not to place your air plant in the path of hot or cold drafts because this can dry out the plant.
Sunlight — Air plants need bright, indirect light to thrive. The higher the humidity is in your space, the more light the plant can tolerate. Try placing your plant in a southern or eastern facing window for less intense light, although northern and western facing windows will work too.
Some additional ideas for incorporating air plants into your home include indoor hanging gardens, terrariums and living wall features. DIY air plant string art makes a great gift for a plant lover. Pro Tip: Create their first name initial with the string and then pair it with a cute air plant. Get as creative as you’d like when designing your air plant string art and remember to have fun — the possibilities are endless!