Saturday, August 14, 2010

Subway Art the Super Hard Way

 This is a stale post.  Don't you smell the stank?
For fresh ideas and the newest new new stuff 
why don't you head on over to the blog we actually update.

Love to see you there.
Carry on as you were.


So in this post, I revealed how little I value my time
versus how much I value not having to whip out my credit card.

In an effort to create my take on subway art,
we built and stretched our own canvas.

Framed and stretched canvas
Photo (c) b3home designs

The frame was built in probably about an hour by Mr. Handy Guy
Took me about 3 hours to stretch the canvas on both frames
with the staple gun, brad nailer and canvas stretcher pliers.
and a hammer

Took me about another hour
including "drying time"
to prime the canvas.

In some ways, I think now I would have been okay with natural canvas
but the primer was good for making sure all the texture mediums
stuck to the canvas.

After primed, they were placed in the office.
Where they sat.
For 4 months.

Finally, giving into the fear that I would be imperfect
and not be able to do a faux encaustic
I just went to town with texturizing and playing.
And yellow (smile)
Because yellow makes me happy
Almost as happy as yellow and gray together.

After about a week of off and on playing on various nights
This is what the canvas looked like

Textured and washed canvas
Photo (c) b3home designs

To get all that yummy texture,
I threw every trick in the book at it

I used some acrylic gel mediums
some pumice stone
some drywall tape (my fave texture of all)
some GAC40
some retarding agent
some spackle
some caulk

Like I said, I threw it all on there
over the course of a week
to allow for drying times

Generally, I used an artist knife to throw stuff on
and a sponge or dry brush to splash on water tinted with acrylics
or ragged on some thicker blotches of thickened paint

Once that was all done,
I took out my Making Memories Simply Fab foam stamps
and I went to town stamping out funny quotes | sayings | heard abouts.
I especially loved many of the quotes from
YeeHaw's shop on Etsy.
I mean really.
"What homewrecker are you mixed up with now".
Classic Storetry.

These prints are totally on my Christmas wish list.
My faves are No. 140 Lumpy Gravy, No. 017 Blue Plate Special, No. 103 Booty Call, and No. 203 Amateur Hour
But I digress. 
For a little longer.
At Cornell,
In the Big Red Band
We had t-shirts made up
off of quotes I collected one season.
They were hillarious
I wish I still had my t shirt
or the quotes
man I miss being in the Big Red Band.
I miss college
Oh yes...the project.
So when I stamped all those sayings
from the t shirt
and from my general life
and from the web
all individually by hand
(yes, each little letter)
I realized that my perfectionist tendencies
were going to be the death of me.
I couldn't just use some white paint and call it a day.
I had to use a dab of white paint
a dab of gesso
and a dab of off white paint
And sometimes,
those dabs,
had texturizers mixed in
Because, clearly, I didn't want to make this easy.

Once I threw this bad girl up on the dining room table
after a massive fail on her twin
I had to work quick.

Because I'm the last scrapbooker in the world that doesn't own a Cricuit 
and I can't seem to win one for the life on me on any of the 128 blogs I stalk
and I can't afford to buy one because well, puppy needs to eat...

I proceeded to do this (by hand)
And I thought my husband was going to have me committed.
two days later

subway art handcuttings
photo (c) b3 home designs

I "finished" cutting them out.
I use "finished" loosely
because I had to reprint about half of them
I used three font sizes (huge, huger and bolded huge)
and three colors (black, gray and grayer)
My original "huge" was too small
and I was going to poke my eye out with scissors
before giving myself permission to kill another tree
and just print them bigger already.

Because I did it in word and wasted lots of space,
I ended up printing about 150 pages of letters.

Once they were sliced out, it was easy going from there.
I started by gathering all of my supplies

subway art project supplies
photo (c) b3 home designs

My subway art didn't use street names. 
Instead, I used names of cities we had both visited before
Super bold names were cities we had been to together
Medium font cities are cities we've both been to,
but not with each other.
Smallest font cities are cities that either he or I have been to

The colors of the cities have nothing to do with anything
because I didn't have the patience to come up with a theme.

I laid out my letters on my canvas
travel themed subway art in progress
photo (c) b3 home designs

And then I went to town with my fave deluxe retractable exacto knife
best scrapbooking and now home deco tool I EVER bought

I removed the centers of letters
and kept words stable as I slapped Mod Podge
(holly heck!  of course Mod Podge has a blog and Facebook page)
to the back of my letters.

After three days
two of which involved trips out of the house
and moments of panic realizing the puppy mutt
would be home alone and probably scatter
my carefully laid out cities to the wind

I finished up with this
travel themed subway art
photo (c) b3 home designs

I LOVE how these turned out.
Didn't so much love what came next.
You'll definitely have to tune in to see the drama
with this mama
trying to hang these bad girls.

*** You just read an award winning, featured post ***



  1. Wow! You are a committed artist to cut out all those letters!!!!! (You really should save your pennies for a Cricut -- to save your sanity -- and your eyeballs! LOL) I love your rationale for the size of the letters for each city -- that just makes it so much more significant than doing it randomly :)

    BTW -- I'm here from TT&J.

  2. These look terrific!
    You are very talented!
    Thank you for sharing!

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Wow!! You are so patient! I am so impressed!! I love how these turned out.

    You and I can mourn together...I don't have a circut either...nor can I seem to win one...and I can't seem to justify buying one...but I really wish I had one!

    Thanks for linking up at

  5. This is awesome. You are a very patient artist. I'm going to look for this book now!:)

  6. Can I join in and mourn too? I just spent the last 4 days cutting letters out of contact paper with an exacto knife. I can't seem to win a Silhouette or Cricut to save my life either. But yours looks fantastic!

  7. These turned out fantastic. I like that you have the dark letters on a background with light colored words!

  8. These are gorgeous!!!
    I've been drooling over subway signs for awhile now!
    I'm a new follower!

  9. One of these days I'm going to try this, it look so cool.

  10. Thanks for linking up at Princess Crafts-- great project!!

  11. Wow, you have a lot more patience than I do! I am glad you persevered because it turned out great. Hugs, Sherry

  12. My email is being funky! I wanted to let you know I will be featuring you in a post on subway art tomorrow on! Thanks for sharing your creativity with us! Feel free to grab our "I was featured" button!

  13. I is so great - I am completely inspired by your level of dedication to the texture - that was just simply amazing!

  14. Love LOVE this - and your funny writing.

  15. Great post and FANTASTIC job!!!! I've been wanting to do one of these projects as well (and some of those stenciled Parisian pillows etc) but I don't own a Cricuit either and I would end up poking out my eye or having to be committed if I did try to cut the letters or stencils by hand! lol Great job though - it looks awesome!!

  16. Totally wonderful and I loved reading about it.
    For a short cut try
    Very affordable and customization and shipping is free.


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