August 13, 2011

✥ Z Gallerie Subway Art Knock Off ✥

I've been longing for some subway art for awhile. I didn't want to do a stencil or paint project because I wanted it to look legit! I wanted to basically have this Z Gallerie piece that costs hundreds, but of course I'd like to pay umm, nothing 40 bucks.

One day I came across this tutorial from A Thoughtful Place. Courtney has done a smart remake for this well loved project. She uses Microsoft Publisher to create a template which she has made into a poster and then attaches it to a canvas.

I thought to myself, self, you can do that.
So I did. I have a Mac and don't have Microsoft Publisher, but if you have Word 08 you don't need it- your program has two uses, one of which is the publishing layout view.
I found it to be just as easy as the regular word program.

First, you want to format your text box into the same dimensions as your canvas will be. For example, if your canvas has a of width 3 ft and a height of 5 ft you want you text box to be in a 3/5 ratio.

Second, content, decide what you're writing on your canvas. Rather than copy Z Gallerie's canvas exactly, I choose to write the names of all the vacation spots that Z and I have LOVED. I want it to make us happy every time we look at it, especially because it will be across from the couch and next to the TV, prominently displayed you could say. 

Third, pick your fonts. For mine I used 4 fonts that I switched back and forth to create interest. I mostly picked fonts that had a typewriter/newspaper print feeling about them.
Fourth, layout, I tried to keep the overall visual flow the same as my inspiration-specifically the L.A. canvas. Z Gallerie has like 6 different posters and I found the spacing for this one to be the most visually pleasing, of course this is all personal preference. To adjust the spacing horizontally go into your tool box, then your "Fonts" and click on "W" to change it. To change the vertical spacing go into "Alignment and Spacing" and find "line spacing" to make the changes.

Fifth, matching the black background using shading effects. Before I finished I wanted to change the background to look more worn and varied. To do this, just click on the text box then go to your toolbox. Go to "Colors, Weights, and Fills" and click on Colors, then hold down the arrow to see more options. There you'll find "Fill Effects", this is where the good stuff happens. In "Gradient" you have several options to blend two colors. The variant I chose was "Diagonal Down", for "Colors" I picked two shades of grey, and for "Transparency" I put in between 0 and 20%.

OK, you're done with your poster!
I had my poster printed up at Staples and it cost $3.40. Staples was a lot cheaper than all the other places, and yes, I called everywhere.  This size poster would've cost 64 dollars if it was done in color! Crazy, right? So, you want to do black and white- which allows for grey tones as well.You may want to print it up a little larger than the canvas dimensions, so it will be able to wrap around the edges, too.

I purchased the canvas at Michael's. I planned on using a coupon, but they were on sale for 50% off. So I splurged on the  more expensive, thicker and higher quality canvas instead. I'm super happy that I did that, as it make a huge difference. It make the piece look much more expensive and substantial. My inspiration piece was 30 x 60. The canvas I purchased is 30 x 40. That's the closest I could get with the pre-made sizes.
Sixth, adhere your poster to the canvas with Mod Podge. It's easiest to begin with the poster rolled up. I painted decoupage on the canvas in 6-8 inch high sections across the entire width of the canvas. Then laid out the poster on the painted portion so that I could unroll it after I painted each section You'll get a lot of wrinkles and for this look you want them. I adhered the top first, then the sides. 
If you rub the Mod Podge when it's wet the black ink will smear over the white print. You can see the difference between where I rubbed the A and where I hadn't yet. If you want the distressed look you'll want to do this in several places, if you don't then be careful!
Seventh, distressing  to match the worn look of the inspiration piece. I worked with three different grits of sandpaper, a Dremel with a sanding bit (optional, but very helpful), and a level for a straight edge. I distressed the edges of the canvas, the tops of the wrinkles I mentioned that we wanted, and I highly distressed the two corners that were lighter gray vs the two that were darker {due to the "diagonal down" lighting gradient I chose}. Lastly, I used my straight edge so that I could create the look of worn lines using the Dremel and sandpaper.

Eighth, matching the distressed lettering using paint. I used craft paint to create the dark spots over the white lettering. I mixed white and black paint so I could match the varied background in the different poster portions exactly. 
I used a sponge brush and several techniques to match Z Gallerie's look, including tapping the brush, blotting it, and dragging it in different directions.

Ninth-Seal up your work cause you did it! Use whatever type of sealer you like, except Mod Podge! ;)  I thought I could just Mod Podge over the poster one last time to seal the sanded edges- obviously this was more action and impatience and less forethought and planning. A lot of the paint I had just applied came off. 

Do I ever get a project right the first time, come on!
So use whatever spray sealer you want, just make sure it works with paper and will not yellow over time.
All in all, I paid $35.50 for this knock off {well actually, 23.50. I made 10 bucks off of the poster because Staples first printed the wrong size, causing me to have to return to the store and then wait for 45 minutes for the right one to be printed off.} Even without that I would've saved 365 dollars!
Now go make some subway art and save yourselves some dinero!

Update: Please check out these lovely sites who've featured my Knock Off! {yay!}
Cherished Treasures”=
The Shabby Nest