Monday, August 15, 2011

Patience + Hardwork = Appreciated Beauty!

Who would pass up Personalized Subway Art??

Subway art is EVERYWHERE right now!  And in most places it costs a pretty penny!  (For example, I saw one in ZGallerie this weekend for $400!!)  That's right, and because I refuse to buy art that I could possibly make,  I have decided that this shall be my next project!  And why not??  I would rather have a piece of subway art that is personalized to myself or my family rather than the generic "NEW YORK...FIFTH AVE....." type art that you see everywhere!  

As I've mentioned in the past, I'm not a painter, so I knew this project would be a bit of a challenge for me. After doing a lot of research on a technique I could use, I landed upon one using contact paper for a Letter Transfer!  I thought this would work perfectly since I have a fear of painting perfect letters!

I have an image in my head of what I want the art to look like.....I want it Large, Textured, Vintage Looking, and Slightly Mulitcolored!  So, with that in mind, let's start creating!!

STEP ONE:  Make a plan!  You need to have an idea of what size canvas to use, and the words you want on your art!  I chose to do words that describe our family!  I used many of our family values, our last name, our colleges, birth dates, wedding date, house number, state we live in, near by highways, our favorite football team....etc  The possibilities are endless, you can do ANYTHING!!!

STEP TWO:  Buy your supplies....
Molding Paste
Spray Adhesive
Contact Paper

STEP THREE:  Take the molding paste and spread it around the canvas to create a rough texture.  I used the tip of my finger and brushed it on!  There is no special technique here...just get messy and have fun!!

STEP FOUR:  Select your paints for the "first" background....this will be the colors that you see THROUGH your letters!  (We are kinda working backwards for this project!!)  Don't you just love how my mind works!!  :)

STEP FIVE:  Mix and apply your paint to the canvas.  It doesn't have to look perfect.  I used 5 or 6 different colors, creating light and dark areas all over the canvas!  (This is how I'm creating my "multi-colored" look.)

This is what it will look like when it's completely painted!  Don't freak out....remember, this will only be showing THROUGH your letters!  Make sure you have variation in your paint!  You want definite light and dark areas so the final outcome will look very textured and vintage like!!

Here is an up close picture of how the paint looks on top of the molding paste!  Pretty cool huh!  

STEP SIX:  Create your word layout on the computer program of your choice.  Print it out the same size as your canvas!  I took mine to Kinko's because it was VERY large!!

STEP SEVEN:  Attach contact paper to the back of your print out with spray adhesive.  WARNING:  make sure you glue it to the font of the contact paper....NOT the side that peels off!!  (Later you will want to peel off the back to stick the letters to the canvas.....)

After it has been glued and trimmed it should look like this!

STEP EIGHT:  This is the part that takes a while....and when I say awhile, I mean days!  Get a pair of very sharp scissors and cut out each letter!  YES, you heard me exactly right!  EACH LETTER!!!  Now, I know a lot of you will want to throw in the towel by now, but stick with me here!!  Believe me, in the long run this technique is sooo worth it!

STEP NINE:  After each letter has been cut, place it on your canvas where you want it to go.  Make sure to position every word before you start sticking the letters down, in case you need to adjust!  (I had to adjust mine 3 or 4 times until I was happy with my placement.)  Now, once every word is in place, peel off the contact paper from the back of each each letter and stick it to your canvas.  You have to press really hard to get it to stick because of the textured molding paste.  

STEP TEN:  Once you have all of the letters stuck down, start painting over the entire canvas with your black paint!  This does seem a little scary at first, but trust me!!!  Again, I mixed a few different paint colors for this. Black, brown, and dark red.  I didn't want just a flat color on top, so I created a little variation....

Work your way down the entire canvas with your "black" paint.  It's okay if the paint accidentally gets under some of the letters!  In the end it will give it more of the vintage look which is exactly what we are going for!!

This is what your canvas will look like when you have completely painted over all of your letters!  Don't forget to paint the sides of your canvas!!

STEP ELEVEN:  After your canvas has dried, start to peel off each letter!  They will come off really easily!

This is what you should be seeing as the letters are peeled off!  I absolutely LOVE how the paint seeped under a few of the gives it a great vintage look, without me having to do a thing!!

Don't freak out if your letters or numbers look like my "8"....You may see the "8" as a mistake....I see it as really cool texture!  This technique makes each word appear as it has been stamped!  I LOVE IT!

And here is the final outcome!!  I couldn't be more happy with it! It's exactly what I had envisioned!! If you look close you can see how the different shades of color come through each letter!  

I have the perfect spot for this little masterpiece!  On our dining room wall!  It is so satisfying seeing a piece of art that YOU created, and that is personalized to YOUR family!  I just smile every time I walk by!!

To see the parties I'm linking to go HERE!!!


  1. That is amazing! Loved it! new follower!
    visiting from

  2. I love the way that turned out. I need to make something like that for my house. I just created some free back to school subway are on my blog if you're interested. Thanks!

  3. very cool! thanks for sharing:)

  4. That would look great at Eric's house! Heeeyyyy

  5. This is awesome!! I love this..I too love this art but do not want to pay $400!! haha umm I am totally doing this...


  6. Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a comment! I love the premise of your blog and this subway art is awesome!!! I love it!! I am now your most recent follower. I hope to see you back at my blog again soon!


  7. Oh this is lovely! I love the size too; what a lot of impact!

  8. Wow! That's quite a project! I would need to hire someone who was verrrrrrrrrrry patient to do something like that!

  9. This is so gorgeous! I adore subway art, and this is just beautiful! Great job!

    By the way, I am hosting my very FIRST link party and I would love to have you link this to it--

  10. I absolutely love your idea! It turned out fantastic.

    visiting from Debbiedoos

  11. wow GOOD JOB! Thank you so much for linking this up to mine and Lindsays Party Show and Share! I am your newest follower come follow me :)

    A mommy's life...with a touch of YELLOW

  12. Love this! I'm a new follower:)

  13. Love this! You have some patience! What a process! So worth it though!!

  14. You did a great job! I don't know if I could commit to such a long process but it was definitely worth it.

  15. Hi. I love this project and have been dreaming of doing my own. What computer program did you use? Is it a free download? I wouldn't want to put a lot of money into a program for one project. It really does look great!

  16. wow...totally amazing girl! I hope you will link up your subway art here...

  17. Awesome job!

    I think you could also use vinyl letters and a Cricut or similar machine to get the words, but it might be a little more difficult to figure out how to get the right placement that way.

  18. Wow! Great job, and you must have some amazing patience! I know it's worth it though when you get what you were envisioning. Visiting via Simply Link Party.

  19. I'm thinking no one can pass up beautiful subway art- well maybe my husband who is oblivious to most things... WorkShop Wednesday.

  20. Cute! I love your subway art! Thank you for linking up to Sew Woodsy last week. We hope you will join us again!

  21. Featuring YOU over on my blog today. Love this! :) Feel free to drop by & grab a button. :)


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