If you like Subway Art, you are going to love this craft tutorial! Erin shows us how she made her own Subway Art that is super cute! enjoy! -Linda

Hello, I’m Erin from Decor Allure! I’m a Mom of six with a love of decorating. I love the challenge of trying to decorate for this crowd and yet be budget-friendly. I love garage sales, thrift shops, repainting, reupholstering and re-everything!     I have fallen in love with these vintage subway signs I’m seeing everywhere. But at prices like $785 for the ones from Restoration Hardware, it’s out of the question.

Subway Art

Then…I saw this family rules sign idea at http://www.tatertotsandjello.blogspot.com/

Not really fitting my home’s decor, I still liked the concept. Then this crazy lady’s light bulb went off! I added the two ideas together to fit my style and created this:

How to Make Subway Art

Here’s what I did- I already had a frame that I had a piece of 1/4″ plywood cut down to size for me at Home Depot (they do 2 cuts for free and many cuts for batted eyes!) I then painted the border with off white craft acrylic paint. After dry, I taped it off and painted my center black.  Two coats later, I sanded down the whole surface until sufficiently “aged.”
I then typed up each phrase in a banner-making program and printed each out.  After cutting them out, I set them out on the board as I wanted and taped the edges down to hold them in place.  Now here comes the fun part; place a sheet of carbon paper between the wood and printed paper.  On the first phrase, trace each letter.  Take off the paper and carbon and you should have a nice copy of your lettering.  Using a paint pen in off white (I used the medium and fine tip “DecoColor” brand from Michael’s), trace again and fill in each letter. I kept a piece of cardboard handy to help blot the tip when it got a little too full. You can use the finer tip to define the edges of each letter a bit better. When done with the first phrase, move down to the next.  I just worked on the floor, laying on a pillow so I could really see what I was doing (and make sure I could really smell those lovely paint fumes!)

When all dry, I sanded the letters to help age them as well.  Since making this first one, I found another larger frame at Goodwill.  It was taller and had a chunkier frame that I painted black:

I even made a few on some ready-made pine boards from Home Depot and hung them without a frame. Here’s one that’s dark brown and cream:

This really wasn’t that hard, yet it makes such a fun, custom sign.  Not bad for just under $20, huh?  A friend suggested making a subway-style sign using street names from your life (your different homes’ streets, the street you grew up on, etc.)  I just saw this idea of writing a poem or saying on a large piece of plywood to make an inexpensive, but large piece of artwork for that big, empty wall:

Ooh, the possibilities!  Try it! Just send me your signs for future inspiration.

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Hi! I'm Linda, the craft addict behind Craftaholics Anonymous®, a craft blog. Crafting is cheaper than therapy, right? When I'm not DIYing something, I can be found taxiing around our 4 crazy kids or working out. Or shoe shopping... because you can never have too many shoes! Happy crafting! ♥

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  1. 1

    I love this, subway art is on my to-do list, and I like how this is really long and eye-catching.

  2. 2
    Michele {The Scrap Shoppe}

    This is great! Looks fabulous. I love the length of it.

  3. 3
    The Answer Is Chocolate

    Great tutorials. I really want to make one of these just haven't found the time yet.

  4. 4
    L ~DIY Diva~

    that looks great! and those messages are better than any street signs.

    fashion DIY @ avidaccents.blogspot

  5. 5
    Lisa@Pickles and Cheese

    Fabulous tutorial! I made one of these with all of the street names that my husband and I have lived on…even the ones from when we were kids and our whole family just loves it. I did mine with stencil but I think I am going to give your method a go. Looks it it might be tad bit easier and faster. Thanks so much!

  6. 6
    a little bit of everything

    Your subway signs came out great! Love them!

  7. 7

    I love this. I want to make them tomorrow. Thanks for the ideas! Love the Tutorial.

  8. 8
    Sugar and Spice Mommy

    OH MY GOODNESS! I just LOVE this!;) Thanks!

  9. 9
    The Fifth Street Mama

    Oh those are GREAT!!! love love love them!

  10. 10

    Thanks, Linda for featuring my project! I love ALL the tutorials! I think we all wish there were a few more hours in the day, huh?

  11. 11
    Sims Family

    Thanks for that tutorial! I saw the other and although, I like the idea, it didn't really grab me. THIS is something I will make!

  12. 12
    Jen @ tatertotsandjello.com

    Love it! That is adorable! I am still obsessed with subway art – I don't think I'll ever be tired of it. I have a big frame that has been sitting in my craft room for 3 months waiting for me to make a sign :)

    Do you want to link your sign up to the CSI projects Paint challenge? The prizes are two $30 gift certificate to The Rusted Chain.


    Very cute!


  13. 13

    This is so neat and has my gears turning! An alternative to painting it, might be to create it in WORD or Photoshop or whichever program you are comfortable with. Save it as a .jpg and upload it to shutterfly or snapfish and have a poster size print made. Probably not as inexpensive as your version, however.

    Thanks for the ideas!


  14. 14

    I love this ( the brown suits me better! but i am a little worried about the time involved. it seems really time consuming…am i correct?

    1. 14.1

      Hi Stacy,
      thanks for stopping by! yes, subway art can be a little time consuming, but the results are worth it!
      happy crafting,

  15. 15

    what banner making site did you use because I luv this idea but I dont know how to get the words the way i want them!!