How to Make Your Own Subway Art

Do you love Subway Art??  I’ve seen so many awesome pieces of Subway Art on Pinterest.  It looked so easy and fun so I had to give it a try.  I made one for Christmas, but never blogged about it.  I was thinking I wanted to make one for Valentine’s Day but I think it’s way too late for that.  Since Spring is my favorite, I decided to make one about Springtime and show you how to do it!

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Picnik, Google + and Gimp

First of all, I want to talk to you about Picnik.  As many of you know, is closing down.  DO NOT PANIC!  (I panicked at first, but I found some solutions so it really is going to be okay.)  It’s really just moving to Google +.  You upload a picture to photos, view one photo and click Creative Kit at the top left corner.

It takes you to an editing screen that looks just like Picnik.  There are some differences / problems with it on G+.  One that I know of is there isn’t a save button.  I think you can save by clicking on the picture after you’ve edited it and then right clicking and selecting save as.

Another option to do photo editing  is Gimp.  Gimp is a free program that works just like Adobe Photoshop.  I can’t afford Photoshop, but I can afford free.  Many people say that Gimp is not as good as Photoshop and that’s true, mainly because it’s more difficult to use.  However, there are plenty of tutorials on-line and if you just play with it for a while, you start to understand how it works (as with many things in life).

This Subway Art Tutorial is done using Gimp so if you want to do it, you’ll have to download it on the website.  (By the way Gimp is not sponsoring this post.)

Subway Art Tutorial

For me, Subway art is primarily all about Fonts.  Secondarily, it’s about word placement, and third-arily (not a real word), it’s about coloring. Start out by opening Gimp and creating a new file.  I changed the format to inches (instead of pixels) and created a page close to 8 1/2 by 10 like a normal letter paper.

Gimp has many different font styles, which I really like.  Picnik / Creative Kit also has great fonts.  And if you didn’t already read the information on, everyone is able to have access to all premium fonts and features until they close in April (Sweet!).

I love placing words in different ways and positions on the page.  To do this, select the rotate tool in the menu bar (it’s near the center).  You can play around with the bar at the bottom or adjust the degrees to rotate (the words in my Springtime piece were rotated at 90 degrees or -90 degrees to go the other way).

For the background, I used fill bucket and put in a nice, soft and spring-y green.  The words that went on top were all spring-y as well.  As you can see here, Springtime is a lovely pink, Sunshine is an obvious yellow and New Growth (which as you’ll see, I turned into a flower stem) is in a darker green.

It’s a lot of fun to play around with these things.  🙂

<— Here’s the Flower I was telling you about.  I zoomed in quite a bit and then used the paintbrush tool.  You have to play around with the different brush sizes and colors.  You might also have to erase and redo a bunch of times.  I have trouble controlling where the brush is going on my laptop pad so I tend to redo and tweek my drawings a lot.  I love to add small pictures to my subway art.  This is something I don’t typically see on the pieces on pinterest so it adds a cute and unique touch to my work.  You’ll see a little sun on the final product as well.

I did this tutorial as one of the challenges for an Etsy Guild I’m in called Blogging Business Artisans (BBA).  For January, we were to blog about something new we’re trying for our etsy shops.

So what do you think?  Do YOU have any questions?  Do you think you could make some awesome Subway Art?  I bet you can!!  Good luck and have fun!  🙂 

By the way, here’s my final piece:

You can buy this print at my Etsy Shop  – I will e-mail you the 8×10 PDF

I hope you found this tutorial helpful!  It was fun to put together!!  🙂

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  1. I have never heard of this art! I LOVE it!

  2. What a fun project, Jamie! It turned out so great!
    I’ve used picknik as my editing tool, mainly just for cropping some photos, so was not happy to learn of its closing. Thanks for telling us about some other editing tools!

  3. I love subway art and will have to give this a try sometime! Your piece turned out wonderfully. Thanks for the info about Picnik, too.

  4. I did not know that Picnik is disappearing! Also don’t know anything about Gimp or Creative Kit, so thank you for the heads-up.

  5. Thanks so much for sharing at “Life as this Mommy knows It”!

    p.s. – don’t forget to grab my button, showing others you’re linking up 😉

  6. So how do you print it? The file extensions are unfamiliar to me. Can you upload to costco?

    • AdminJamin says:

      Yes – to print, I switched the file extension to jpeg so I could send them wherever to print. I can’t remember the site, but I’m sure you can google ___ to jpeg… I hope that helps!

  7. Can you tell me where you go to download Gimp? Thank you!!


  9. Elaine Lund says:

    Thank you for this post.


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