DIY Fall Subway Art -tutorial on how to make your own subway art, make it with custom words and phrases, any size, any colour.
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I love the look of subway art, so today I’m sharing my DIY fall subway art with you. 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.
- plywood base
- Cricut vinyl
- transfer tape
- white paint
- orange paint
How To Make DIY Fall Subway Art
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. I found a perfect piece, even the right dimensions, and free for the taking! I gave it a couple of coats of white paint, just some I found in the basement.
Prepping The Vinyl Words
The next step was the lettering. I used my Cricut machine, and used Design Space to design my words. Because this piece is so large I used my 12 x 24 mat, and did two, to create a 24 x 24 piece of art.
I made sure to burnish it all really carefully with a credit card before cutting. It didn’t come out perfectly so I fixed up a few spots with an exacto knife.
Next step was weeding the letters -a little time consuming with a piece this large, but pretty easy.
The next step was applying the transfer tape. The purpose of the transfer tape is apply all the letters at once, instead of one by one. It makes it easier to keep everything lined up and spaced evenly. It’s 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 on the painted plywood, and used the transfer tape grid to line things up.
Next I was supposed to burnish the letters to the wood with a credit card, and then peel off the transfer tape. The tape came off with the letters. Fail. It was really fiddly getting them off of the tape and onto the plywood board. Play around with the angle at which you peel it back.
Paint Over The Vinyl
Finally the letters were all lined up and on the plywood and 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.
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. You could touch these up with a little of the white paint.
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.
With personalized fall subway art, life is a party!
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