Sunday, December 12, 2010

"S" is for Subway

And no not the NYC subway thank goodness.
Subway art. 

In the spirit of the Christmas season and the current decorating trends (although I think I might be a bit late boarding this train) I give you my seasonal subway art:

These were made especially for those six teachers who put up with my kids every day (although I have to say my kids probably aren't troublemakers in the classroom - at least I'd like to think that!).

Mine are definitely the downsized version compared to some of the more popular retail sizes.  They are a demure 10"w x 15"h as opposed to 33"w x 83"h offered by Restoration Hardware (complete with an $800 price tag FOR ONE).

image from Restoration Hardware

I've seen them all over blogland and etsy with all sorts of themes: street & town names, music & bands, general Christmas glee but mine are obviously the Twelve Days of Christmas.

I started with some scrap 1 x 12 pieces (old shelves actually) given to me by a Freecycler. 
Primed all sides:

Painted red:

Then I made a word document of the lyrics from Twelve Days that I wanted to use, in varying sizes and fonts, and printed on regular white paper. 
Applied chalk to the back side of the print out.

Then traced the words onto the red background with a ballpoint pen, pressing firmly in order to get the chalk to adhere.  (I cut the paper apart and did a few words at a time, then painted them and then traced some more words so I wouldn't inadvertently rub the chalk off.)  And actually after awhile I simply traced the words with the pen (no chalk), the pressure was enough to get an outline embedded into the red paint.

Some progress being made:

More progress, not going to lie these are time consuming with all the hand painting:

Now some light sanding with 120 grit on the mouse sander and one coat of satin poly to seal it up:

I simply stapled the ribbon onto the back using a staple gun.

Then tied the two pieces of ribbon into a bow:

Six are for the teachers and one is for me! 

It's a nice, simple decoration with a slightly worn feeling and definitely handmade, hope the teachers enjoy them as much as I did making them!


  1. Jamie, these are awesome. Loving your ideas, though I'd never be able to do them myself! Please remember next Christmas that I want one of these :)

  2. What a great idea to use the chalk as a transfer. I've been trying to figure out that step in making a Subway art piece for my Great Room.

  3. You said in your blog that you might be behind on the subway art...You wrote this blog almost a year ago. I must be really really behind the times! I found you through pinterest, like many of you other followers :).