Thursday, December 29, 2011

Subway Art

One of the gifts I decided to make for Christmas was a subway art street sign for my husband. Subway art pieces have been all over blogland for a while and in all of the shops, as well.  I decided that I would do one for Gary with all the names of all the streets we have lived on.  Technically Gary didn't live on the first street listed, but if the highway had not turned but continued straight, instead, he would have lived on it.  He grew up in a house that was in a straight line from where I grew up about 5 miles away.

The streets are in 5 different states and several cities within those five states.  Okay so some were suburbs of the city, but still .....

Here is the result of my subway art experiment.

Making it was actually pretty simple, though I was totally frustrated with a couple of office store employees when I tried to get them to understand what I needed them to do with the file I brought to them.

Here is a Tutorial of how I did this.

1.  Open MS Word and create a text box. Mine was 6" x 8".  The canvas I would later attach it to was 18 x 24, so I needed the text box to be the same proportion for later enlargement before printing. You will need to figure out the correct ratio for your canvas/text box.

2.  Choose different fonts and different sizes for the different streets or other words you use.  Choose a color for the text.  I chose white and made the background black.  Play a bit with the fonts until you are pleased with the effect.

3. You will need to go into the format area to format the text box for size, color of font and fill. I used a gradient from top left to bottom right for the fill (background). You can choose the effect you want.

4.  Once you are happy with the look of your text box, you are ready to have it printed.  If you want it larger than 8 x 10-1/2 (you cannot print to the edge of the paper -- there will be 1/4" white all around)., you will need to have it printed by either a printer or in the copy section of Staples or another office supply store.  I chose a Staples at first.  The first young man to help me did not understand how to enlarge the text box proportionately and after some time got someone to help him.  The second young man understood how to do it, but, though I kept telling him that he would need to print on larger paper than 18 x 24, he still printed on that size.  Of course, there was a 1/4" white border which was totally not acceptable since I needed it dark to the edges.  I paid for my copy which was only a couple of dollars and change and left.  Make sure the person making your print understands how to do this!

Note:  You will either need to e-mail the file or take it to the store on a thumb drive as I did.

All was not lost for me.  I'm sure I could have taken it to a larger Staples where someone on staff would have really understood what it was I was doing.  However, since we work in the print industry, I happened to mention my problem getting this printed to one of our printer customers.  She volunteered to print it for me on their proof machine if I'd send her the file.  She delivered the fabulous copy the next day after sending me a file to approve.  How is that for great service?  They even made sure it had crop marks on it and had "bled" the edge.  That's printer talk for making the outside color go beyond where it will be trimmed so no white will show.

5.  After trimming, coat the back of the print with Mod Podge and position it on the canvas using a brayer.  You could use your hands to smooth it down.  When I do another one, I will also coat the canvas also.  You can learn from my experiment -- coat the canvas as well.  There are a couple of places where the print did not adhere as well as it should have.  Once the Mod Podge is dry, Brush more Mod Podge on the front of the print.

6.  The final step is to paint the edge of the canvas black or whatever color you chose as the background.  If you do this in advance, be sure to paint a bit of the front of the canvas as well.  Gallery wrap canvas will look the best.  Cheaper canvases have staples on the edge which is totally fine if you are framing the canvas.  I was not so wanted it to be staple free.  You can attach a sawtooth hanger to the wood frame of the canvas for hanging.

Here is another look.

I'm not sure why the wall looks gray in this picture, it is actually an off white.  It was difficult to get a photo without there being glare.  The printer used really good paper so it has a bit of gloss and the Mod Podge added to the gloss.

I hope you liked my little tutorial.  If you have any questions, feel free to ask.  As this is the only piece like this I've done, I'm not exactly an expert on it, but I did learn a lot in the process.  It was fun!  Try it!

Yikes it's almost the new year!  Are you ready?

Until next time,


Joyce said...

Lois, I just LOVE it! Now I want to make one too. I think I may do a red background with black letters and use it at the cabin. We have an International Harvester sign that has sort of set the tone for the kitchen up there.
Have a wonderful New Year!

julieQ said...

What a neat project!! I need to think back about those addresses...hmmmm

Lois Arnold said...

Joyce, go for it! It was a fun project! Remembering the streets is easier than the numerical addresses, Julie! By the way, Knapp St. is where LaVerne and Shirly lived in Happy Days.