Monday, September 3, 2012

Location Subway Art: A Tutorial

Good friends are hard to come by.

And we have been blessed with some great friends in the past.  Sometimes they leave and sometimes they stay.

I forget this source??  :/

And although it breaks our heart when God sends them through, it's important that we always remember that... 

Some good friends of ours are trading their Pacific Northwest roots for some Midwestern boots.

So I thought I needed to help them remember where they came from.

I've seen these all over the local markets and antique stores.  The only catch - they cost about $150!

I love my friends....but not THAT much. :)

So I tried my hand at creating one of these myself.

1. Headed to our local Home Depot and found the perfect 12x20 piece of MDF in the scraps section for a whopping $0.50!

2.  Coat with black paint and let dry.

3.  On the Silhouette, I created my own subway art.  These are all locations of their past residences, including where they met, an in betweener apartment number, and all the homes that their life has taken them on.  You can obviously do anything that has meaning to you, I just chose addresses and cities.

    A.  This is what my settings were for the Silhouette:
     -Cutting Mat: NONE
     -Width: 12"
     -Height: 20"
     -Grid View: OFF

4.  Once the vinyl has been printed, and properly placed on the painted board.  It's important to tape off the edges so that no paint remnants escape out to the black.
*Note make sure to scrape vinyl with a credit card or special tool to get rid of any air bubbles.

5.  Painting time!  I used a flat white spray paint and let dry.  Then did a coat of Krylon's Flourescent Yellow.  Super cool.

Anxious to see what it looked like, I ripped off the tape and vinyl and my heart SANK.

One of the fun parts about being a blogger is that I get to experiment, learn my how-to lessons the hard way, then blog about how I should've done it differently.

What I should've done:
used the same strategy that I use when painting in our home (like I did with the entryway stripes).  After vinyl was stuck on there, I should've done one coat of black paint again to have it seep under the inevitable bubbles.  Then, when I painted the white and yellow, it would've looked perfect (like how the yellow WASHINGTON looks).


Craft and learn right?

I was determined to salvage it though, and ended up spending WAY too much time placing all the individual letters BACK on the board and painted around them in black to touch up.


End result was just what I wanted though!

Once totally dry, I distressed it a little and sealed with some satin polyurethane.  And I love it!

So excited to send our friends off knowing that they have a piece of art to add to their new Midwest home that reminds them of where they came from!

Cost Breakdown:
Board $0.50
Black paint - had it
Flourescent Yellow - had it
Vinyl - gifted from mi madre

TOTAL: $0.50!!! but the thought and meaning....PRICELESS.

Linking to:
Thrifty Decor Chick
Delightfully Inspiring
The 36th Avenue
Fingerprints on the Fridge
Design, Diapers & Dining


  1. Looks great Ashley! I love the touch of yellow :)

  2. Love it Ashley! What program are you using for the design, and can you tell me more about printing on vinyl? All of that is new to me, but it seems pretty easy once you have that!

  3. I'm on the verge of trying my hand at subway art, and I appreciated you sharing your fail and your fix. You're making me wish I had a Silhouette rather than a Cricut, but we'll give it a try. Thanks for sharing!
    Dannyelle @

  4. 50 turned out great..and you're right that the meaning behind the graphics is what makes it so special...xo

  5. OH I need a silhouette now. Love it great work. came over from fingerprintsonthefridge and I can't wait to see more of your projects


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I married my best friend in 2006, and we started a family in 2010. Our house is still a work in progress in becoming a home - who knew there would be so many projects with new construction?! I love flavored coffee creamers, reality TV and anything Husky sports-related. My confession is that I only make boxed cookies, don't do grocery delivery (they don't have samples!), and am slightly obsessed with being a mom to boys.

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