February 23, 2011

Nursery Subway Art (& Tutorials)

A verse for baby Ian...
I've been seeing this trendy thing called "subway art" all over the place in the blog world, and as I considered all the possibilities of what kind of art to put in the baby's room, I decided I wanted to give this a shot!  I originally hoped to make the letters appear "printed," but I just didn't have the time, so I went ahead and just painted it on by hand, but I still really like the way it turned out!

I had a hard time finding all the different options for DIY subway art, so this post is dedicated to all y'all who want to try it out.  Here I'm listing a few different ways you can go about it. 

Tutorials for Creating Your Own Subway Art:

Option 1
Freehand the words.  This is what I did simply because I didn't have the time to invest in going the other routes.  If you decide to freehand, you'll need a good paintbrush (with a very small and sturdy tip), a steady hand, a ruler, and patience :-)  There's also transfer/tracing paper that you could use to trace the words onto the canvas, but you'll still have to have a lot of patience to paint in each letter!
Create a document in Photoshop (or similar application) that matches the dimensions of your canvas.  For example, my canvas was 16x21 so I created a document that was 16x21 inches and set it to 150 pixels/inch.

Then I created one line at a time using the "justify all" paragraph setting.  

I adjusted sizes, spacing, and styles within the Helvetica font family to get different looks for each line.  Once I arranged each line like I wanted it, I printed the document (scaled to fit the page - see image below) and used that as a guideline as I freehanded the words.  A ruler is a must for this project b/c it's very hard to keep the lines straight otherwise. 

Option 2
You can create a document (as I described above), blow it up to actual size at a copy store, and use contact paper to create a very crisp printed look for your subway art.  This option is tedious and time consuming, but looks fantastic!  To go with this method, check out the tutorial at Lil Blue Boo's blog.
you can also take a look at 33 Shades of Green's blog for another tutorial using contact paper

Option 3
Another option is to print the document to actual size, cut out and paste the words onto your canvas, and then paint on and around the paper as seen at Jen's TT&J Blog - check it out for a full tutorial
Jen is actually one of the Queens of subway art!  She's got a neat post here where people have shared all of their subway art projects - definitely check that out for some inspiration!

Option 4
Of course, if you have a vinyl cutter, please, use the vinyl cutter to cut out your letters!  This is a super quick and easy option - that's what the Two Vinyl Chicks did.  
But another good option is to actually order vinyl lettering that you can transfer onto your canvas.  You can design your wording as I described above (under option 1), save it as a jpeg file, and upload it to an online store to order your custom lettering.  Etsy has several vendors who do custom lettering or you can google "custom vinyl lettering."

Option 5
Design it, print it, and frame it!  Check out Fabulous Finds' blog for free Thanksgiving prints & inspiration. 

Options 6 & 7!
Okay, so there are a million and one ways that folks have come up with for making subway art, but here are a couple more neat options...

Use rub-ons!  You can find them in scrapbooking sections in craft stores.  Here's a cute one that Jane of All Crafts put together...

And you could also print out words onto different pieces of scrapbook paper, cut them into strips, and modge-podge them onto your canvas - that's what Lindsey did at the Pleated Poppy

and here are some other subway-art-esque projects I really like...



So there ya go!  That should help get you inspired to try your own!  Bloggers have come up with some really neat ideas such as family chores, family values, New Year's resolutions, holiday word themes, meaningful quotes, special messages to your sweetheart, and on and on!  You could put your wedding vows, Bible verses, blessings, names of family members...the possibilities are endless.  

What would you put on your subway art?  Are you gonna try one?
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