DIY Custom Subway Art Restoration Hardware Style!

It's about time.  I've been steadily working on projects, photographing and procrastinating about the first blog post.  I swear I have adult ADD.  I get started on one project and before it's remotely close to being complete I'm off on another tanget.  Ah well, that's how things go.

I've become slightly--no completely--addicted to the blog world.  I love reading everyone's blog and pulling bits of inspiration from everythingI read.  There are a lot of SERIOUSLY talented peeps out there!  So, let's start off with one of my favorite-and most recent projects--DIY Subway Art.

I love thrift store treasure hunting.  I crave the chance to rummage.  You never know what you might find.  I was at a local GoodWill near the day job.  I like to visit several times a week during my lunch hour.  While there I found two large 26x36 inch canvases for only $6.  Only problem is that, well, they looked like--this:

U-G-L-Y--You ain't got no alibi--but I regress. You know you can't buy a canvas that size for under $50 so I snatched them up and ran!  I've been coveting all of the fabulous Subway art from Pottery Barn, Restoration Hardware and the likes.  But the PRICE.  I can't fathom paying $795 for these little beauties from Restoration Hardware.

I know, I know.  Look at them.  They are gorgeous!  But hey, I'm crafty!  I can make my own with a little time and a whole lot less $!!  First I opened photoshop and created a canvas the same size as my canvas, plus I added 2 inches on each side so I could wrap my subway art around the "ugly" canvas.  You can do the same in various photo editing programs or even in Word.  I picked places that were meaningful for my family and I.  My husband was born in Anchorage and I was born in Ft. Worth, TX.  My parents live in Ft. Worth an his in Embudo, NM.  I also added the street that our first home was on and some special locations and vacation spots.

I grabbed my handy dandy External Drive and headed over to Staples.  I had the lovely Print and Copy gal print me up my Subway Art as an Engineering Print.  They use a large format printer--however before you go Hog Wild with a rainbow of colors understand that Engineering Prints are only done in black and white.  The best part?  The print was only $3.99 for a 30.5"x40.5" print.  Rockin'!!!
No here's where I'm a bad blogger, I forgot to take the inbetween photos.  I was too excited to get the project done!  First, I spray painted the canvas white so I had a clean slate.  I didn't want any of the oh so--uh--pretty yellow flowers to show through the lettering.  Next, with my print rolled up in a tube, I painted modge podge (the homemade kind) onto the canvas, about 6-8 inches down the canvas at a time and rolled the print onto the canvas.  Much like you would do with wallpaper, I think!

It will bubble.  It's thin paper and the nature of the game.  Once I had the whole front of the canvas covered I flipped it over and smoothed it out by running my hands over the back of the canvas.  I didn't want to risk tearing or smearing the Subway art.

Once I had things as smooth as they were gonna get I focused on the corners and sides.  Again, I used my homemade modge podge and glued the sides down and wrapped the corners much like wrapping a gift with wrapping paper.  Voila! Perfection!  Now here's the important part-LET IT DRY!!  Once I felt sure that the canvas was dry I took a fine grit sand paper and lightly sanded the creases in the paper that formed from the bubbles.  I seriously love the way it ages the piece!

Last but not least, I sprayed a light coat of clear acrylic to seal the piece and let it dry outside for a good hour before I brought it inside to hang.  I couldn't be more thrilled with the way this project turned out!  I needed a large piece for the wall and finding large pieces on a budget can be difficult!

I have a LOT more projects to share with you so be a dear and follow me, K?
All the best,

Linking up at The Shabby Creek


  1. Great job transforming your thrifty find, Kimberly! I didn't know about the "engineering print" deal. That's a good thing to tuck away in my memory bank. ;)

    Thanks for linking to Time Travel Thursday. Hope you'll join the fun each week.

    Liz @ The Brambleberry Cottage

  2. Great stuff, it looks amazing. I'm a huge fan of decorative hardware in kitchens and living rooms, and this such a fresh and inspired idea.

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