Guitar String Picture Display Tutorial

posted in: make it, marissa | 6

YAY!  The Weekend Warrior is back!  That’s right!  I finished another project!  Not just another project, a WHOLE ROOM!!!

We moved to this house almost TWO YEARS ago and have had the ugliest formal living room ever.  I don’t know what is wrong with the people who lived here before us, but our walls were two colors – a dirty olive green and a burnt sienna brown.  It was so dark and dismal and BLEH!

Yet, for some reason, it is the last room downstairs that we got to (two years later!).  I guess it just took me going back to work to get motivated to finish it.  Why the heck is that?  The less time I have, the more things I am trying to get done!

As you can see, we got rid of the ugly colors and painted the room a nice blue-ish grey. {Aaaahhh…so soothing}  In designing this room I wanted a way to display pictures of family and friends.  However, I am really not a “photo wall” type of person.  I have tried it over and over – all the frames matching, not matching, lined up, not lined up, this way that way, every way.  I just am not a fan of people photos in picture frames.  So I started trying to think of ways to display our pictures, and this is what I came up with!
Guitar String Picture Display Tutorial - ThreadedTogether.comIf you don’t get it at first glance, it is supposed to look like the neck of a guitar with all of the frets and strings (it is also over 6 feet long).  It’s Art meets Function!

Our formal living room has always been our music room.  This was not a room repurpose – just redecorate.  Other than this artwork the rest of the room is all function: it has two electric and two acoustic guitars, a ukulele, small bongo , Cajon (a wooden box that you sit on that sounds different every side you hit it on), electric piano, and a full set of drums.

No, I do not play a single one of them.  My husband plays all of them, my nine year old son plays the drums, and my five year old daughter plays the piano.  I can’t even keep a beat on a triangle!  And no, I cannot sing either.  Well, that’s not true, I am a ROCKSTAR in my car – alone.

So, anyway, this was my grand idea to bring some design and purpose to this huge empty wall that we had.  It looks EXACTLY the way I had envisioned it.  EXACTLY.  I was SO thrilled with the way this turned out and I was SHOCKED at how quick and cheap it was to do.

Guitar String Picture Display Tutorial


  • Guitar String Picture Display Tutorial - ThreadedTogether.com1×2” wooden board cut into TWO of each of the following lengths: 14”, 13”, 12”
  • 8 – 2” silver nails
  • 4 – 2” screws
  • 8 – 2/4” screws
  • 12 black screw covers (the “rare items” section by the screws at you local hardware store)
  • 12 white thumbtacks
  • 3 packs of 26 gauge craft wire, each five yards long (or whatever combination you need to get 6 strings of wire each over six feet long)
  • package of miniature clothespins
  • guitar picks (as many as you want)
  • can white (or desired color) spray paint
  • glue gun
  • screw driver
  • wire cutter


1. Sand and spray paint the wooden boards with the white spray paint.  Do NOT skip the sanding!  It has taken me years to learn how important this step is!

2. Using a wire cutter, cut 6 sections of wire that are about six and a half feet long.  Set aside.

3. Using a glue gun, hot glue a clip on the back of each guitar pick.  Be careful!  Make sure your picks are sturdy enough to not melt under the heat of the gun, and make sure you don’t glue the clips closed.

On a side note, my husband and I debated back and forth as to which picks to use.  He had quite the collection, varying from the first pick he EVER used to play guitar (below in purple) to picks he caught at concerts, got from music shops, etc.  He could tell me where they each came from.  Or, we also had the general, packaged picks purchased from any store.  Which to use?  Well, considering they were all stored away in a box, we went with using the “important” ones.  We have a rule we live by in our house when it comes to keeping stuff.  If it’s important enough to us, we put it where we can see it all the time.  This is one reason we keep very little “crap” in our house.  If it isn’t important enough to display, it isn’t important enough to keep.  Thanks babe!

Guitar String Picture Display Tutorial -

4. On one of the long and one of the short painted wooden strips, put a pencil mark evenly spaced out where you will drill your screws in.

  • On the inside four pencil marks, use four of the short screws and place the screw cover down first.  Then turn the screw until it is all but 1/4” in (the screw cap will be hanging kind of loose at this point).
  • On the outside two pencil marks, do the same but with two of the long screws (you are using the long ones on the outside because these are the ones you will actually be using to screw the wooden piece into the wall)

Guitar String Picture Display Tutorial -

5. Place the 14” wooden block with the screws in it on the wall where desired.  We put ours in the lower left of the wall and angled it so the “neck” would be slanting upwards to the right

6. After that piece is screwed in, measure the space for the next several wooden blocks.  We used a level and a ruler to do this (all have exactly 12” between each block).  The two 14” blocks should be at the bottom, then the two 13” ones, then the 2 12” ones.  I don’t think perfection matters.  I really don’t even think the blocks needed to be cut different sizes, because it’s such an optical illusion on the wall, you can’t even tell in my opinion.  We used two of each of the 2 inch nails to attach the middle four pieces to the wall.

Guitar String Picture Display Tutorial - ThreadedTogether.com7. After all six pieces of wood are attached to the wall, begin attaching the wires to the pre-placed screws.  I found it easiest to start with the wires at the top piece.  I then stretched each wire down to the wooden bar at the bottom.  There is no need for the wires to be attached to the bars in between.  These are just for show to look like the frets of the guitar.

Guitar String Picture Display Tutorial - ThreadedTogether.com8. As you can see above, I tightly (but don’t pull so hard you pull the board off the wall) pulled the wire and wrapped it around the screws (that we did not screw in all the way earlier) underneath the screw cover.  Using wire cutters, clip off the excess wire.  Tighten the screws as far as they will go so the caps no longer move and the wires are secured into place.

9. Close the screw caps over the tightened screws.  For an extra touch to make it more realistic, as well as to add more depth the piece, I stuck a white thumbtack in the middle of each black cap.

10. Clip on the guitar pick clips you made earlier and use them to hang whatever you desire.  Photos, art work, music tablature, whatever!

Guitar String Picture Display Tutorial -

And there it is!  I am SO PROUD of my little creation.  I’m sorry this isn’t a great tutorial at all, but some pieces of artwork are just difficult to recreate.  Or I just do a terrible job explaining it!  Hopefully you get the idea.

Guitar String Picture Display Tutorial -


6 Responses

  1. Chris Cawthon
    | Reply

    I love this!!! My son plays guitar (well, several guitars) and we’re getting ready to move into a new house with bare walls and had no ideas for decorating. I’m doing this! Thanks so much!

    • Marissa
      | Reply

      Wonderful! I hope you (and he) loves the way it looks as much as we do!

  2. Naomi
    | Reply

    This is so cool. My brother is a music producer and is always looking for cool ways to decorate his office. I have a feeling this is going up in there!!

    • Marissa
      | Reply

      Thanks! You should send pictures if they end up making one!

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