I think it's so cool that Man Podger David is bi-coastal – he's spent amounts of time in both Los Angeles and NYC! In this post, David will show you how to make subway art to commemorate his fave cities – and you don't need a fancy die cutter! I like the panels that raise the names of the places up a bit, giving the subway art a lot of texture. These would look smashing on my wall (how about in dark teal??). Here's David to tell you how to make subway art. PS – you don't need a die cutter to make these signs. You just need Microsoft Word!
I’m perhaps a bit late to the party, but I’m totally hooked on subway art. I wanted to create something that represented my two “home” cities (LA and NYC) and I wanted something a little different than what I’ve seen. The goal was to create something fun and spend as little as possible.
-For the Backboard – Plywood cut to 2’ by 16” rectangles
-Black and white (not pictured) paint
-For the street signs/slats I used strips of composite wood cut into 3”x14” strips. (You could use craft wood from Michaels, MDF, anything that was fairly sturdy and thin.)
-Four more strips of scrap wood ¼ thick and 22” long – any wood will do – you won’t see them
In addition I used:
-An old candle
-80 grit grit sandpaper
-Mod Podge Matte
-Matte Acrylic spray sealer
-Glue (I used a glue gun)
-A scanner and printer
-Electric Sander (optional)
Step 1: Prep the Boards
• I painted the edges and sides of the composite wood signs/slats white.
• After the white paint dried I rubbed my candle over the white using varying pressure.
• I then covered the entire face and sides of the slats with black paint and painted the plywood backboard and backing strips black as well.
• After the black paint dried I used my 80 grit sandpaper to sand the edges of the slats. The black paint won’t stick to the candle wax so you end up with nicely weathered edges.
Step 2: Make the Street Signs
I don’t have a vinyl cutter, I didn’t want to cut out each letter by hand and my stencil skills are lacking to say the least. So I decided to do it on the computer using MSWord.
Here’s how I did it:
• I scanned a couple of my finished slats and saved them as JPGs. I then opened a New Document, legal size in landscape orientation and Inserted the JPG of one of the slats.
• Using Word Art, I created the lettering in an Arial font.
• I set the Text Wrapping Option to “In front” and resized the word to the size I wanted.
• Next I made another copy of the scanned slat and brought it to the front.
• I chose the “recolor” option from the Format menu and clicked on a black section of the image which wipes out most of the black in the image leaving you with a rough, distressed texture.
• I then moved that layer in front of the Broadway lettering and viola – instant distressed sign!
To create variations (so they all didn’t look alike), I scanned a couple of my pieces of wood and then simply rotated them or cropped and stretched them. After that, I just printed out my signs and trimmed them to fit the slats and, using Mod Podge, attached them. There was a bit of a difference in sheen between the painted wood slats and the decoupaged paper so I used two coats of a matte spray acrylic finish to balance them out.