Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Subway Art Tutorial

After my post yesterday, I've had several people ask me how I make these.  So, here is a tutorial.  I'm not going to lie, these are a headache to make, but definitely worth it.

canvas (I used 18" x 24")
2 cans of spray paint (different colors)
contact paper
painter's tape
old newspapers or sheet (to paint on)

Step 1:
Design your canvas layout.  I use the Silhouette Studio software to do this.  I set the page dimensions to whatever size my canvas is.  That way all of your words will be in the correct proportions.   

Step 2:
Cut your words.  I used contact paper to cut the words on because it is much cheaper than vinyl.  I cut the words using my Silhouette.  Make sure you adjust your settings when cutting on the contact paper (it is much thinner than vinyl.)  I set speed on 7 and thickness on 1.  It took a lot of trial and error to discover the correct settings, but these seem to be the magic numbers.

Tip:  Use colored contact paper instead of clear.  It is much easier to do this when you can actually see the words.  I learned this the hard way.  

Step 3:
Spray paint the canvas whatever color you want the words to be.  I'm making an Ohio State canvas, and I want the background to be red with silver letters.  So, I painted my canvas silver.

Step 4:
Measure off your canvas.  Figure out exactly where you want each line to be on the canvas and make marks on each side.  It is really easy to do this if you set your page dimensions to your canvas size.  

As you can see in the picture, I add a box to find the exact measurements of each line.  Make the bottom of the box flush with the bottom of the page and raise the top of the box to the bottom of whatever line you are measuring.  Then, however tall the box is, is how far up from the bottom of the canvas you need to measure.  (If you aren't OCD about the lines being straight like I am, then you can skip this step).

Step 5:
Use painter's tape to mark off where you want the first line to be (you should have marks from the previous step).  Then, add the words.  I use transfer tape, so that I can add the whole line at one time and not have to try to stick each letter on.  Repeat until you have all the words stuck on.  Be sure to press the letters on good.  You don't want them peeling off!

Step 6:
Spray paint the canvas whatever color you want the background to be.  Like I said earlier, I want my background to be red.

Paint one coat and wait a couple of minutes.  Then paint a second coat.  Make sure that it looks pretty even, but don't go overboard with the paint.  The letters will start peeling off, and they you have a mess.
Let dry for at least 10 minutes.

Step 7:
Peel off letters.  It's easier if you use tweezers.

Step 8:
Touch up letters.  No matter how hard you try, some letters are going to have red paint on them.  Just use a paint pen or brush to touch up the letters with the correct color.

Step 9:
Admire your creation! :)

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