Spring Pinterest Challenge: Chalkboard Subway Art


One of the very first projects that I shared on this blog was how I turned a cabinet door into a chalkboard for our laundry room.  It was a project I loved and it seemed like a cute way to kick things off here.  On it, I simply wrote “Welcome”.

Welcome to my home, to my life and to this blog.

It was the very beginning of EVERYTHING and I wasn’t sure if I could even write a blog let alone get this one word looking right.  I was pleased that it looked fairly neat and I had another post written.

Welcome to Storypiece

Fast forward a year plus several months later and that sign still says “Welcome”.  And I’ve been wondering if there’s something more that I can do with it.  So when Young House Love and Bower Power announced that it was time for their Spring Pinterest Challenge, I knew it was time to update my chalkboard.

Pinterest Challenge - Spring EditionThe Pinterest Challenge this season is hosted again by Sherry Petersik and Katie Bower and this time they are partnering with Emily from Sparkle Meets Pop and Renee of Red Bird Blue.  The goal is to get everyone to put their own unique twist on something that they’ve pinned.

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My Inspiration

Dana Tanamachi is hands down one of my favorite artists.  You may have seen her artwork at West Elm or on the cover of Oprah Magazine.  She is a hugely talented hand letter artist and does stunning things with chalk.

West Elm Catalog Art by Dana Tanamachi

Following Dana’s lead, I am combining two popular trends and hoping to create subway art with chalk.

My Pinspiration

There are loads of tutorials on Pinterest of how-to create subway art and chalk lettering.  A few that I referenced were here, here and here.  However, I found My Sweet Savannah’s post to be the most helpful.

I began brainstorming laundry room words: soap, bubbles, clean, iron… you get the idea.

Then I used Adobe Illustrator to help me create a subway art design with those terms. There are a lot of programs online that you can download to use, but since we already own Adobe Illustrator, I went with that.  Sometimes being married to a graphic designer and illustrator has it’s perks.

AI works like several of the online design programs.  It’s a matter of typing in your words, playing with fonts and sizing and moving the words around until you have a layout that you like.  Seriously, I may be married to a graphic designer and illustrator, but I am not one.  I was able to easily figure this out by just playing around to see what happens.

Laundry Room Subway Art Designed by Storypiece.net

That was the easy step.

This next part would, as my son says, separate the pretenders from the contenders.  That is, I had no idea if I could actually get the chalk lettering down the way I had designed it.

I was hoping to use an image projector to help in this process.  However, once I started pricing them out and realized we were looking at a few hundred dollar investment, I decided I would need to consider other options.

My chalkboard space is 17.5 inches square.  I printed the design off on to two 11 x 17 sheets of paper that I could overlap and leave myself with a half inch border.

Art Supplies to Create Chalk Subway Art | Storypiece.net

You can also take your image file to a local print shop and have it printed on one sheet, but I wanted to see if I could do this challenge completely free and the legal size paper worked.

Overlapping Subway Art on Legal Size Paper | Storypiece.net

Once I taped the two sheets together, I rubbed chalk over the entire back of the paper.  I then flipped the design over so that the chalk side was against the chalkboard and taped it down to keep it from shifting.

Subway Chalk Art Prepped | Storypiece.net

I was able to carefully trace the outline of the letters to get a copy of my subway art transposed onto the chalkboard.

Transferred Chalk Letters | Storypiece.net

I then began the process of going over the letters and filling them in… one letter at a time.

Filling In Chalk Letters | Storypiece.net

At first, I thought all the hand lettering would take forever, but it was oddly therapeutic and went quickly.  I had the added benefit of being able to take the cabinet door off the wall and work on the floor, moving the board all around.

Subway Art Done in Chalk | Storypiece.net

I also used Q-tips and a touch of water to “erase” and clean up any areas that needed a little extra help.

Laundry Room Subway Art | Storypiece.net

Unfortunately, there is no natural light in our laundry room, so this photo is not ideal.  But I am beyond thrilled with the final artwork.

Welcome to StorypieceLaundry Room Subway Art | Storypiece.net

I still can’t believe it worked the way I had hoped.  Tyson keeps asking if I need to seal it so the image doesn’t get smudged or lost, but I would gladly come up with something new, if the need or inspiration strikes.

Finished Subway Art | Storypiece.net

Speaking of inspiration… it’s party time.  Time to check out all the great links that are being shared at the Spring Pinterest Challenge.  There is sure to be tons of inspiration and more things to pin.  I’ll be linking up at:

Have you ever done chalk art or hand lettering?  Are you participating in the Spring Pinterest Challenge? Ever take on a project and wonder if you would find yourself a pretender or a contender?  That kid cracks me up!

For even more inspiration, check out these blogs that I’ll also be sharing this post at:

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23 comments

    • admin says:

      Thanks! it was really SO easy… I’m thinking of all the fun possibilities too. The hardest part was probably getting a crisp edge. Chalk doesn’t tend to have a fine tip so I kinda want to try this with a chalk pen some time.

  1. ScrapAndSalvage says:

    i love the way this turned out, danielle! it was fun the first time, but you just kicked it up a notch or two. well done!

    • admin says:

      Thanks so much. I liked it the first go around, but I definitely got bored with it. And as much as I love this, I like that I know I can confidently change it up when I get bored again. 🙂

  2. paige says:

    I really like this! I have chalkboard spray paint, and
    honestly, it’s so trendy that I’m hesitant to jump on the bandwagon
    (plus, I know I’d never use it…). This is a great static art
    alternative!

    • admin says:

      Hi Paige… Thanks for stopping by. I originally made the chalkboard because I thought it’d be a cute thing for us to leave notes and write on, but we NEVER do. It’s just not my thing either. This has been a really fun alternative. If you end up trying it out, please drop back by and let me know. I’d love to hear how it goes.

    • admin says:

      Ha! I’m actually one of those weird people that likes doing laundry… as long as it doesn’t involve a laundromat. If it does, then I literally have a psychological breakdown. Wish I was joking. I probably need therapy for it.

  3. Victoria • Restoring our Victorian says:

    CUTE! How did you not smudge any of that? I was going to ask the same thing about sealing it? But I guess you must have actually enjoyed it, if you’d do it over if you lost it…

    P.s. – I’ll be stealing the “pretenders from the contenders” line immediately.

    • admin says:

      Bwhahaha! Isn’t that the funniest phrase?! Steal away. Evan said his physics teacher shares a witty zinger like that whenever he hands out a test. When Paul gets tired of you using it, feel free to mix it up with “wieners from the winners” and “champions from the chumpions”.

  4. Pam says:

    Wooow. I should have read yours first before I did my sign. Thats beautiful Danielle!

    • admin says:

      I love your sign and I can’t wait to hear about your first show. It looks like you are already off to an amazing start with your booth design. Best of luck!

  5. Lindsey says:

    That is so cool! And, yes, crazy how you and my mom did such similar Pinterest projects!! I guess you’re both just uber clever 😉

    • admin says:

      Ha! I was gonna say great minds think alike. I can’t get over the fact that she did her letters completely freehand. THAT is uber clever.

  6. Stacey says:

    SO COOL, Danielle! You did a great job with this. I love doodling on my chalkboard doors. This seems more like a work of art!
    “Chalk” this one as another awesome project. Pinterest eat your heart out!

    • admin says:

      Ha… My punny friend! 🙂 This chalkboard is in such a weird spot in our home. The laundry room is a pass through from the studio to the main house so no one hangs out in there… much less doodles. I’m hoping when we paint our kitchen cabinets, I can add a spot that I think will be a lot more fun for people to leave their creative chalk mark on.

    • Danielle says:

      Ooh great suggestion… I hadn’t thought of the hairspray to hold the chalk in place. Might have to check into that. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a link to your project. I’m looking forward to checking it out. 🙂

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