My take on Subway Art - a tutorial

 In one of my last posts, I mentioned that I had several fun things I was working on and couldn't wait to share. I wasn't kidding.  I am currently somewhere between "wow, this is really going to look great in 20 minutes" and "this project is NEVER going to end", with 9 separate projects!!!  I get it - WHAT WAS I THINKING???  To tell the truth, it's completely typical of me (imagine Husband rolling eyes in agreement here)!
Part of the problem is this cold snap (hello, 33 degrees? what happened to Fall?) and therefore an unanticipated halt to all of my painting!  Another issue? I need to re-teach myself how to sew.  Um, yikes.  I'll get to that next week.....

So, here's today's finished INDOOR product!!
I love all the subway/text art out there right now.  I've been trying to find a way to make my own without shelling out a million dollars $500, or burning out my Cricut cutting vinyl letters, etc.  I stumbled upon a great tutorial at A Thoughtful Place and it was just what I was looking for!!  I'm going to try another process as well, but we'll get to that on another day.  (**update on 11/8, see bottom of post)

Hubby and I decided that our favorite vacation spots would be just the thing to put on our bedroom wall (of course we thought of 2 more after I'd already ordered the print!).

To make the art: I designed the print simply using Microsoft Word, varying the fonts and capitalization.  Make sure you change your background color to black and your font color to white (or whatever you prefer.)  Then I uploaded it to the Staples print center as an architectural drawing.  You'll have to upload it differently if you use anything other than black and white.  Also, it may help to determine the ratio of your saved document to the canvas or wood you're covering to make sure that none of your words will overlap the sides of the canvas.

  Props to the sweet ladies at the 135th St. Staples in OP, they printed and sent Hubby home with 2 of them last night because the first one had a few flaws!  Little did they know, I was going to give it a few more!! 

So, that meant I'd either have 2 identical prints or 2 chances to get one of them right!

I painted the sides of a 2' x 3' canvas black for a more finished look.  Then I Mod Podge'd the print onto it.  It helps to start on one edge, paint the Mod Podge on and just lay the print down a few inches at a time.  Don't worry about the wrinkles, most of them will smooth themselves out and any that are left just add character.  Once the print is done, go over the top with another layer.

Then when it was dry I coffee stained and glazed with both a black and a brown glaze and sanded it using the Dremel Drill I got for my birthday (dances a little jig here!).

This is the end result - on my first try!  I couldn't be happier!

I should also mention that because I already had everything but the print itself on hand, the whole project cost me $3.15!  Love!

Here's a close up showing a little more detail, the large photo doesn't quite do it justice.

Sometimes the least expensive art is the best, wouldn't you agree?

**11/8/11 Update:  I had a heavy piece of wood that was the perfect size for a narrow wall in our great room and I wanted to see if the outcome would be similar using the wood vs. the canvas (above).  I was able to add a few cities as the wood was longer, but the process was pretty much the same.  I actually did less distressing this time, but sanded the edges with a palm sander so that the wood would show thru.  I love the result (again).  I truly think this is the easiest and least time-consuming way to make Subway Art!!

Pin It
I linked my art here:


  1. Love this..creative idea!

  2. This is great! I was just playing with this idea today and now I have the instructions about how exactly to achieve it.

  3. @CathyCathy, I'm so glad it helped! I'd love to see your creations!! - Lori

  4. Well I stumbled upon you! Not sure how anymore, but could of been via DebbieDoos. Anyway, this project is terrific, and one I can do. I can't paint, can't sew barely a stitch, so when I find something like this I do the happy dance (and I didn't even get a Dremel for my birthday!).


  5. Well, I'm so happy you found me!! I love to paint, but I'm with ya on the sewing!! I can't wait to see what you create!! - Lori

  6. This is fabulous! I found you on Pinterest! Any tips on coffee staining and black/ brown glazes you used over the modge podge? I'd love to try my hand at this!! Thanks so much! -Stephanie

    1. Stephanie, thanks so much! Both of the glazes I use are Valspar glazes from Lowes! I use them for so many things and even the small bottles seem to last forever! Good luck! - Lori

  7. thank you so much! - Stephanie in Alaska!

  8. Hi! So I have all the supplies & couldn't wait to start but I couldn't figure out how to use the same ratio as the canvas! If I have a 2' by 4' canvas what ratio do I use? I don't have word publisher as I heard this is the easiest approach! I have word '07. Any suggestions? Thanks!!


Thanks for visiting! Leave a comment & say something dramatic (you know you want to)! I may not always reply, but I read and cherish every one!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...