Friday, December 3, 2010

Subway Art the Hard Way for the Laundry Room

I love the way everyone has been making subway art signs and have been wanting to try one for a long time.

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So when planning out the laundry room re-do, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to try my hand at one.

002Our ironing board finally bit the dust a month ago.  This was no ordinary ironing board, but a genuine wooden vintage board that I had picked up for $2 at the Salvation Army a couple  years ago.

It needed a crack repaired back then so I fixed it with wood glue and mending plates and  it was as good as new.

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We (actually Mike) used it for the last 2 years as our ironing board.  Now Mike likes to iron while watching TV in the evening, and he irons ALL our clothes, so the ironing board is almost a permanent fixture in the living room.  I didn’t mind so much, at least it was vintage and blended in with the decor.

This time though, the leg broke in a bad place and I could not fix it.  So sad!

So instead of throwing it away I decided to make it the base for my subway art.

I just love the old wood on this thing.


I was a bit at a disadvantage, not having access to a Cricut or Silhouette machine, so I went about doing this the hard way.

First I took a photo of the ironing board surface, then played around with it in Picasa using the text feature.  I worked on positioning then tried out a million different fonts to get one I liked that would be fairly easy to trace.

This is what I came up with for a pattern.


I printed the words out on my printer, then took some carbon paper and traced them on the ironing board surface.


Talk about doing things the hard way!


I decided to make the letters black, but had no black paint markers and just the thought of brushing paint on and staying in the lines was too daunting. 

I ended up using black Sharpie markers.


I really flunked at spacing the words evenly.

The end result was way too dark and crisp for me.  And where the heck did that big space come from above the L?


After sanding down the words to give them a faded old look, I found some white pickling stain in my stash.

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It didn’t absorb evenly.  I just didn’t care for how it looked.


Then there was that big blank spot to deal with too. 

I filled in the space with in red.

Next I used a brown glaze over it all to minimize the uneven white stain.   

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Ahhh, much better!

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And there you have it, my version of Subway art for the laundry room.

It was such a pain to do that I broke down and ordered a Silhouette on Cyber Monday using a special code from Becky’s Infarrantly Creative blog.  The deal was too good to pass up, and if only I had had it earlier this thing would have been a breeze to do!

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Soon I’ll be able to hang it up in place….



I’m linking this one up to Gail’s Catch as Catch Can party

Catch As Catch Can

Frugal Friday at the Shabby Nest

Everything but the Kitchen Sink at a Little Knick Knack

Saturday Night Special At Funky Junk Interiors

Make it for Monday at Cottage Instincts

Nifty Thrifty Tuesday at Coastal Charm



  1. helloooo!!!! I love it! LOVE it I say! That was a LOT of work, but ohhh, so much more personalized knowing it's all by hand. Sort of like buying a cake at the bakery or making it from scratch!
    I had no idea you (MIKE) was actually using this ironing board! bless his little heart! ;)
    Rose, I love the end result. It never matters how we get there, just that we DO get there!
    So anxious to see how it all comest together.
    again. I love, love, love everything about this piece!

  2. This project turned out fabulous! Your experimenting made for a great, personal project! LOVE it, and the fact you made this using an old ironing board is even better!

  3. I really love this, and I have an old ironing board, I may try did a great job.
    ps. I never heard from the girl about the pleater kit I won..just big deal.
    take care

  4. This is great. I'm encouraged to start my own Laundry room project. Thank you for sharing.

  5. Wowness! It is unique and I love it Rose. merry♥O

  6. It might have been hard, but it looks awesome! I think this is the first ever ironing board subway art I've ever seen, but I think you're going to start a trend here!

    It really does look fantastic, Rose.

  7. Okay you hooked me... I have an antique wooden one in my laundry room...blank... I really don't think that is going to be case for long now. I am in love with this... great thinking there girl.

    Oh I am so jealous that you got a machine... can we share?

    Great job buddy... now hurry up and show us the big reveal... you are killing me.

    Hugs, Deb

  8. I absolutely love it!!! I can't believe how much work you put unto certainly paid off :) I don't have an old wooden ironing board, and I just got myself a Cricut so now I need to figure where I am going to ut some homemade Subway Art. it!!!

  9. That is really cute. And how Kewel is it that your hubby irons!!! Gooo Mike :)

  10. Cool! I've been wanting to try sign making but am a messy painter. I love the marker idea.
    It looks great. Thanks for sharing it.

  11. Rose, I KNOW it was a pain but it turned out GREAT!!! I have made 3 subways signs like that and I'm working on a HUGE one for a Christmas present with actual Long Island to Brooklyn street signs. BIG job. I asked for a Silhouette SD for my birthday in Feb. Couldn't ask for it for Christmas, that's for the kids : ) You should be proud of your ironing board. Every time you look at it, you will smile because of all the hard work involved : )

  12. It's so perfect (and clever) for your new laundry room. Looks like hard work but it definitely paid off. By the way, love the red beadboard in one of the pictures. I've never seen beadboard painted red before and I was drooling just a little bit over it :)

  13. What a great way to reuse that wonderful vintage ironing board. I would love to find one of those to use in my sewing room. You are such a creative person, I would never have thought to make anything with it after it broke, except putting it in the woodstove, and that would have made me very sad :0(

  14. You ROCK Rose!!!! I don't know what subway art is...I used to live in Manhattan and take the subway everywhere, all the time, and I swear to you I have never seen an ironing board hanging anywhere down there.

    However, I LOVE YOURS!!!!!!


  15. You put a lot of work into it, but it looks great. So glad you saved the wood ironing board! Very Cool!

  16. Very cool! The little mini wood ironing boards (I think they were/are used for ironing sleeves) would be a cute smaller version too if you didn't have much room!


  17. Sooo clever! But oh my gosh, the work you've gone to! But what a cool one of a kind piece. :)


  18. Hi Rose, thank you for your kind comments on my blog. I love these signs, what a great idea to use your vintage ironing board. Nicely done, all your hard work paid off!
    Suzy xxx

  19. I am so impressed by this project! Wow, it really is amazing. I love your process for adding the wording-it's brilliant!

  20. fabulous - what an awesome idea for the ironing board. mmmmm

  21. What a fabulous and unique idea.....Love it..

    Take care,

  22. I have one of theses old wooden ironing boards. I use it to iron on. It was my grandmother's. My mom had one too. Not sure what happened to hers.
    You are very creative!~Ames

  23. I love this! What a great idea to use the vintage ironing board!

  24. Wow! This is fantastic! Way to go! It looks like a heck of a lot of work, but it was so worth it.

  25. Wow! I love this! And you totally saved it! How ingenious are you? Great job!

    Hope you can join my stocking stuffer giveaway going on now, too!

  26. Rose! I had to pop over and see this work of art...and work it IS! I LOVE IT.
    You can tell you put a lot of effort into this thing...that is ambition right there. I don't have any fancy tools either, so like you I'd have to cut and paste, print and trace and so forth...that is why I don't!
    Yours turned out great.

  27. ALL A-BOARD!! We have an old wooden ironing board too, it was screwed to the wall in our dining room at one of our Christmas Parties to use a bar, that was five years ago and it's been there ever since. The planks were too warped to use as a traditional ironing board but it's narrow form and height make it a perfect sideboard, it's not holding some candlesticks and a vase of quince branches... I should do a post on that! Thanks for the inspiration, and knowing what to do with our ironing board that day we get a new sideboard.


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