Tuesday, September 27, 2011

my first subway art; more of a how-not than a how-to

Hey y'all!

Who has noticed the uber-popular-trendy-fun subway art? It's everywhere! Blogs, Etsy, Pinterest, Facebook...and I love it! A couple of weeks ago I finally got a new laptop and a brand new color printer. I've never had my own laptop that I picked out, let alone a new one (always hand-me-downs) so I was thrilled. And the printer meant I could finally try out subway art!

But leave it to me to want to be different. I couldn't just print one someone else graciously offered up for free. Nooo. I got it in my head that I wanted to make my own, darn it. Specifically, I wanted to make one for Clemson football, which is pretty much what we live for in this house! :) Enter a barrage of problems. First I couldn't think of enough items to use, then I had too many. Then I was thrilled to find this tutorial which uses Picasa. Score! I already have Picasa and use it nearly daily so I thought, psssh I got this. Or not.

Then I couldn't find the right orange. For you non-Clemson peeps, the colors are a particular orange and a particular purple. Go too light, and you have Tennessee Vols orange and we can't have that crap. And Picasa, God love it, doesn't have your little squares of color to pick from. Noooo. They give you a teeny tiny square with the entire color spectrum, and a dropper and let you find it your own flippin' self. Which I couldn't. Then the original printer--COLOR printer--we bought wouldn't print purples. Of any shade. At all. So we returned printer numero uno and got the one I wanted to start with (nicer, pricier, but highly recommended by the gentleman at Best Buy). Come home, and start again with trying to find the right orange and the right purple. Trial and error, lots of fussing (maybe a lot of little cussing), and finally I decided on an orange.

Re-enter this tutorial. I wanted to print it on tissue paper so I could Mod Podge it to a canvas. I wanted it to look printed directly on the canvas as opposed to on plain paper. Again, with the problems. The tissue paper was picking up (black) ink residue as it ran through the printer. Over and over again. My super awesome hubby stepped in and helped me by running the printer through it's cleaning processes and finally...after I think 8 or 9 failed attempts, 2 printed out that didn't have black splotches all over. YAY!!!

Finally...I had my subway art...my precious, been-wanting-to-make-it-for-a-month Clemson football subway art. Hallelujah.

The first time, I only did a small section of the canvas with Mod Podge, and laid the tissue down. It looked good, but I was worried about lifting the remaining dry section to paint the Mod Podge on the rest so hubs suggesting just painting it on top. This failed. Epic fail. It smeared the ink, wrinkled the paper way too much, and worst of all, it didn't stick to the canvas. One canvas, down for the count.

On the second attempt, I painted half the canvas, laid the tissue down, then the rest. Now, this worked for sure, but had I had the inclination, time, patience, etc., I would have done a third. And what I would do differently would be this:

--Have a large blob of Mod Podge poured, readily accessible, along with a sponge to paint it with and a totally dry, round sponge (I'll get to this in a minute).
--Tape the excess tissue paper to the top, back of your canvas to keep it in place. Trust me.
--Quickly paint the entire canvas with Mod Podge. Don't leave drips, blobs or pools of it, but do it quickly and make sure it is thick.
--Lay your tissue paper down, and using your dry, round, sponge paint thing, lightly press it over the surface to make sure the paper adheres.

Here it is, still drying. I went ahead and hung it up because I 100% lack patience. In the pictures, it looks as though the orange is in different shades, but it isn't. Blame my photography, or that it's still wet.
I have to say, even though it was a complete and total hassle, I do love the way it turned out, and I'm thrilled to cross it off my crafty to-do list!

*If you'd like to know about how some of these traditions came about and just what they are, you read here about the stadium, the Scroll of Honor, The Hill, and The Rock. Here is more about Clemson's other traditions and if nothing else, watch this!!!*


  1. Hello!

    Thanks so much for stopping by my blog and leaving your nice comment. I have grown to accept the imperfect doily stencil. I don't know if I love it, but I don't notice it anymore. :) And thanks for following me! I'm your newest follower!

    I really like your subway art. I haven't gotten the guts to try one yet.


    Shannon @ Imperfectly-Inspired.blogspot.com

  2. Wow, I have to say you are really crankin' stuff out lately! I think subway art looks like hard work! They come out cute, but I can never set aside that much time. I bet I'd spend hours just rearranging the words over and over! I think it's cute you picked something so unique to your family.

  3. You done good, momma. I like that it's perfect for you and not some generic print out.

  4. It looks great! Very nice!
    I just love your blog, especially your fabulous wreaths! I'm passing on The Most Versatile Blog Award to you. Stop by my blog to check it out. Thanks!


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