Subway art, or just turning favorite phrases, Bible verses, or song lyrics into art is all the rage right now in home décor. Today, I’ll show you how to make your own for a fraction of the cost of what you’ll pay retail. Also, you don’t need any artistic skill! Cheap and easy = perfect!

While planning my nursery, I spotted this fantastic piece on Etsy and pinned it to my Pinterest account:

I loved the piece, but the $125 price tag (plus $24.95 for shipping) was out of my budget. So, that’s when my creative wheels started spinning. I knew I could create something similar – and I knew I could do it for less than $125+. Also, while the weathered look was cool, it didn’t exactly fit in with my modern nursery aesthetic… so I was anxious to amend it a bit. Here’s the side-by-side with my version:

etsy on the left, my version on the right

And here’s how it looks in the nursery…

And here’s how I managed to pull it off…

I started with an 18″x18″ wood canvas that I scored on sale at an art supply store for $12. My cute hubby got the ball rolling for me and primed it before I had a chance to take a naked canvas picture, so here’s the label:

You could also have a piece of plywood custom-cut at Home Depot. If you do that, though, make sure to really sand down all the edges to save yourself some splinter pain.

After one coat of primer, I painted the front side white.

I just did one coat.

Then… the letters. Oh, the letters. Aren’t they fun? Yeah, I couldn’t figure out (for the LIFE of me) what font they were – so I just printed the original image and kept blowing it up until the letters were the size I wanted for my creation. They were a little fuzzy – but clear enough that I would be able to trace them – which I did, on sticker paper:

After making sure the letters fit into the space, I peeled the back off the sticker paper – and tried to get the letters to stick to the surface. As you can see, I was only somewhat successful:

blame the cheap sticker paper, maybe contact paper would be better?

Up next, some high-quality spay paint and latex gloves (also a mask because I was pregnant when I did this). I went crazy with the spray paint and made sure the entire thing – front & sides – were an even coat of my chosen shade of yellow:

Once it was dry, I peeled off the sticker paper…

Overall, not bad. However, that cheap sticker paper did cause some issues…

I just used a small paintbrush to touch up those spots. From a distance, you can’t tell.

Here, again, is the completed project:

This was so easy – and cheap!

Wood canvas – $12

Artist’s spray paint – $7 (you could probably use the cheap/regular stuff too – but I needed a very specific color)

Sticker paper – $3

White paint and primer – already had

TOTAL = $22

Not bad for $103 less than the original!

You can replicate this with your favorite quote – or maybe something cute your kiddo said! Make one with a Bible verse as a gift for your Bible study leader. Or, like a friend of mine recently did, use the Beatles’ lyrics, “Love is all you need” as a baby or wedding shower gift. The possibilities are endless!

Michelle Fortin

Michelle Fortin and her husband, Jason blog about their DIY home improvement adventures on their site, Making Our Dream. That’s where you’ll also hear more about her life as a part-time SAHM to Kenton (born 5/2011) and baby #2 – due to arrive in October 2012. In addition to being a wife and mom, Michelle also teaches broadcast journalism at Arizona State University, is actively involved in her local MOPS group, dabbles in photography, and is a self-confessed social media addict. Currently, she lives in Scottsdale, Arizona, where she and Jason bought their first home in 2009. It was a foreclosure that’s needed quite a bit of work! If Michelle looks familiar, that may be because you remember her as Michelle Frey – when she anchored the weekend newscasts on NTV a few years ago. She also taught a few classes at UNK. The years she spent in central Nebraska produced some of the best memories and dearest friends a girl could ask for – which is why she’s thrilled to be a part of the Her View From Home team.