Cave Dwellings {Subway Art}

You may remember the basement that we finished to be the man cave/play room.

It’s time the walls give a little loving.  There’s big plans of this space, but I had to make a truce with the husband, no flowers in the man cave.  Let me back things up a little, my husband is an avid Harley Davidson rider (not the scary kind).  When we were dating I fell in love with the spontaneous adventure a motorcycle ride would bring.  For as long as I have known him, his Harley is one of the material possessions that he takes the most pride in. Naturally when we decided to finish the basement, we had a mutual understanding that this was “his space.” It was designed to accentuate the adventurous side of our life, mixed in with a bit of everyday reality (IE- the play room).

With that said, maybe I should introduce you to “the Mistress” AKA the motorcycle.

Yellow, Black & Chrome pretty much describe her. Would you agree?

OK, back to the basement.  I needed a piece that would not only visually appeal to the adventurous side of our story, but also something that would compile the memories and events into a piece of art.  Enter the world of trendy and fun subway art. Originally inspired by House of Smith’s Gallery Wall and Address Subway Art. 

We started by brainstorming all the words that define our relationship with “the Mistress.”  This included words, locations, dates, fun memories, you get the point.  Based on the number of words I guessed the size of base I would need.  I chose a 18″ by 18″ MDF board (Habitat ReStore is a great place for super cheap MDF…$1.)  I spray painted it a glossy black and moved onto step two.

I had read a tutorial on using freezer paper for the lettering.  I have since trashed that tutorial due to udder frustration and waste of time.  However in all fairness I started by typing up the words/phrases using different fonts on the computer.  Then I placed freezer paper over the top of the letters.  After some time my genius husband propped a light under my glass-topped IKEA table to make the cutting of the letters much easier.  Using an Exacto knife I (and the husband) cut the letters out of the freezer paper.

Supposedly you could place the letters glossy side down on your base, and iron them to get them to stick.  This step was followed by painting on a layer of glaze to seal the letters.

A container of Modge Podge later I decided that tutorial WAS WRONG! It brought nothing but frustration and lack of sleep, so I moved on to my next best option.  I purchased a package of white vinyl, borrowed a CriCut machine and a few font cartridges from work, and di-cut the remaining letters.  My husband used the “leftover vinyl” to cut out the dragon and motorcycle graphics using the light and Exacto method explained above. We used transfer paper to line all the letters up from the vinyl sheet to the base.  This made the layout design much easier and ensured nothing was too crooked and fit in the designated space.  The hardest part was determining was size to make the letters as the size defined on the CriCut only verified the height and did not take into consideration the width of the letters/word.

This is the final layout of  words/dates/graphics that defined our adventurous side of life.  To add a final touch, the husband cut white molding and created a frame 1/2″ around the outside to add a finishing touch.  Our subway art is no longer a part of the gallery wall we once envisioned, instead she currently takes up residence above the fireplace on our mantle.  She certainly has become a focal point for the room!

My only complaint is that the white vinyl lettering is really bright and glossy.  I’m thinking of taking some colored glaze to tone it down a bit….what do you think?

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Filed under Inspiration, Tutorials

2 responses to “Cave Dwellings {Subway Art}

  1. awesome have many biker friends who would think this to be awesome as well

  2. Pingback: Scary Basement overhaul |

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