Sunday, April 10, 2011

DIY: Subway Art

I am so, SO pleased with how my subway art sign turned out! Seriously, I can't stop looking at it. Reading it over and over again. And I was pleasantly surprised with how easy it was to create my sign!

Here is how I arrived at my "master piece"

Originally, I was going to use plywood or canvas as the base for my sign. But then I came across this PERFECT beach artwork at my local Beverly's Outlet store. It was originally priced at $49.99, marked down to $15, and then 50% off on top of that. So I paid a mere $7.50! And it was the EXACT size that I needed. 12" x 3'. Talk about hitting the jackpot!

I applied two coats of black paint to the front. The sides and back were already painted black. Again, SCORE!

This next step was KEY to the design of my sign.

I printed my inspiration piece onto a piece of copier paper and drew and numbered how many lines there were.
There were 19 lines total.
I then divided the length of my sign by the number of lines: 36 / 19 = 1.89.
This gave me a general idea of how tall each line was.
There were three different sized letters in my inspiration piece.
Small, Medium, and Large.
After playing around with my Cricut Expression (die-cut machine). I came up with the following sized letters:
Small = 1", Medium = 1 3/4", Large = 3".

I used Vinyl sheets from Cricut to cut my letters out of. It is important to remember to purchase both the Vinyl and the Transfer paper, as you will need the transfer paper to pick up and transfer the vinyl to your piece with.

I love how the Cricut Expression allows you to spell out a word and view the image prior to cutting.

So as not to waste too much vinyl, I cut out a block of 1" letters, then moved on to cutting out a block of 1 3/4" letters, and so on. I then cut out a strip of the transfer paper, placed it over the vinyl letters of one word, and lifted the word off the cutting pad.

I used two rulers to get the spacing just so. It was key that the first line be level.

For the words where the letters were spaced far apart, I cut each letter out of the transfer paper before laying it down along my guide. Once I had the letters spaced just so, I peeled the backing off letter by letter and laid them down onto my sign.

Using the popsicle stick that came with the vinyl, I rubbed each letter into place before peeling off the transfer sheet.

Voila! The first row is 18 more to go....

As I continued down my sign, I measured the space beneath the last row of letters to figure out where I needed my next row to start. This part took a "good eye" and a lot of double checking. As carpenters like to say "Measure twice, cut once". This same rule applies when creating your Subway Art.

I decided to hang my sign on the wall between the family room and kitchen where I could appreciate it.

And so that  I could be reminded that "Here lives the most magical of creatures and super heroes living the greatest love story of all time."  I LOVE THAT LINE.

Project Cost Breakdown:
Sign Base - $7.50
Vinyl - $9.99
Transfer Paper - $9.99
Black Paint - leftover from painting the front door
Total Cost of Project  = under $30. 

I hope that your weekend was great :)



  1. WOW! You did it! You need to add "math whiz" to your long list of talents. It looks really terrific, Jenny, and I LOVE the quote too. Thanks for explaining how you did this.

  2. Wow so cool. I want one, not sure where I'd put it, but I know I need one. Hmmm my b-day is next week LOL. Thanks for showing how you did it, maybe I'll save it for a summer p project. Where did you find the quote?

  3. My un-crafty self is beyond impressed with your latest project. I can honestly say that I will never tackle something creative that involves any form of math (yes, rulers and division and such scare me). I continue to admire (be envious of) of your talents.

  4. Jenny, it turned out great!!!!! And a bargain too! Love it!

  5. Wow, glad you gals like the sign! I can see if from the couch while watching TV, and I swear I am having a hard time focusing on the TV...because I keep glancing over at my sign :)

    I added a link to the inspiration piece in my post, but here it is also:

  6. SUPER impressed! DIYers, I am constantly in awe. :-)


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