I’ve seen them everywhere, and it was finally time to give it a try myself. I wanted a large orange piece of subway art for my family room, with fall words on it.
I researched the steps involved -there’s lots of ways to make one of these babies, but I decided to use my Cricut to cut vinyl letters. I was inspired by Shelley’s version at House of Smiths, see it here, and did something similar. First things first. I thought about trying it with pallet wood, but thought the vinyl letters would stick way better to a good old piece of plywood. I went rummaging in my sister-in-law’s basement and struck gold a perfect piece, even the right dimensions, and free for the taking -thanks Keers! I gave it a couple of coats of white paint, just some I found in the basement.
The next step was the lettering. Pretty much every time I use my Cricut cutting machine I have some issues -maybe because I don’t use it all that often, maybe because the machines are tricky. I started out using the Cricut software to create my words. This program is always a little frustrating to use too, but through trail and error I got it figured out. I used my 12 x 24 mat, and did two, to create a 24 x 24 piece of art. The materials for this project were already a little pricey, so I worked really carefully since I didn’t have extra vinyl to waste. After researching the blade depth and pressure (depth 6, pressure 3 -if you happen to be trying to make one too) I got everything ready and hit cut!
I couldn’t believe it didn’t actually cut…blade in upside down! Seriously. No harm done, attempt number two was successful -mostly. As usual I did have a little trouble. On the text that was smaller, the vinyl came away from the backing in a few spots and didn’t cut properly. I fixed it up with an exacto knife. Next attempt, I made sure to burnish it all really carefully with a credit card…still didn’t work perfectly. Good enough though, and again I fixed it up with an exacto knife.
Next step was weeding the letters. Nothing really worked like it did in other people’s youtube video’s for me. As I weeded, some of the letters came off, the vinyl just didn’t seem sticky enough to stay attached to the backing. I rearranged and eventually got everything lined up on the backing where it was supposed to be.
The next step was applying the transfer tape. Relatively easy, and I am glad I used it, it did mean all the words were perfectly lined up when I applied them to the plywood. I drew a few straight guidelines with pencil, and used the transfer tape grid to line things up. Next I was supposed to burnish, then peel off the transfer tape. The tape came off with the letters. It was really fiddly getting them off of the tape and onto the plywood board.
Finally it was time to paint! I found some miss-tinted paint in the clearance section at the hardware store for $1.50 -score! I tried to make sure the letters were down on the board really securely before painting over them in the orange. I did three coats of paint.
When the paint was still tacky, and not quite dry I used a little tool to pull off the vinyl letters. (People who do crafts everyday have bad fingernails -job hazard.)
When the letters were all off, it was magic time! It looked amazing, and was worth all the fiddly steps to get there. I heart it.
I did get some seepage under some of the letters, but we’ll call it rustic. 😉
I thought about sanding it a little to make it more rustic, but then went with the old, less is more, leave well enough alone, and decided to leave it.
I put it in my family room. I really love it, especially the personal touch of being able to use words that are special to our family, like the near-by fair I’ve been going to since I was a kid.
Would I do it again? Not anytime soon, but I have to say I do really like how it turned out, so give me time to forget how many steps were involved and I just might…or just order one at etsy. 😉
With fun orange personalized subway art, life is a party!
This post is linked up at Centsational Girl, The 36th Avenue, Somewhat Simple, Craftberry Bush, French Country Cottage, Tatertots and Jello, Tidy Mom, 52 Mantels, The Inspired Room, and the Thrifty Decor Chick.