It is a fairly simple but tedious project. I have to admit it took me more than one day to complete this project. So here goes the tutorial.
1. Find your pallet. This particular one was found by the side of a lake by my father. I drove it home attached to the top of my minvan. You can ask sales clerks outside of stores if you can take one of theirs. I know they recycle them sometimes but other times they just throw them out for scraps. The more character it has the better looking....but also more sanding.
2. Take it apart. First cut off the ends (as shown by Ana White). Save for those for another project (I have one I'll show you later). Then take each board off the main frame. This will take some muscle and a hammer or crow bar. Sometimes the nails are so weathered and rusted they're hard to get out of the boards. Do not throw any leftover wood away yet. You'll need most of it.
3. Once you have the amount of boards you'd like, cut them down to roughly the same size using a jigsaw.
4. Now, using two of the smaller, but sturdy, boards, flip it over so it lays flat. Arrange the other boards going across these two boards in the order you'd like so they fit snuggly.
5. Now, nail them onto those two back boards (as seen in photo). Glue with gorilla glue or wood glue, if necessary. Some of my boards were warped and did not lay flush so I filled in the gaps with instant drying gorilla glue (which puffs up a lot...but I am impatient and it doesn't show on the back anyhow).
6. Now sand away until it's smooth enough to paint on and is safe to handle.
7. Next, add hooks. The first hooks I added were very wimpy and fell out when I hung it. Keep in mind, these pallets are not lightweight and need very sturdy and strong hooks to hang it up.
8. Now for the fun part. Design your subway art. I used my silhouette cameo to design and cut out the vinyl. If you do not have one of these cutting machines check out Pinterest for other ideas that use stencils, paper rubbing and other alternative methods.
9. Be sure to measure each board (length and height) so you know how much room you have to add the text. Then play with different fonts and move around the text until you see what fits and looks right. I created a workspace that was the size of the pallet on the screen, just so I could see how it all fit. But my cutting mat is only 12"x 24" so I cut in different phases. I used Bookman old style (in bold) and Bodoni MT Black for the fonts. These addresses are not in chronological order. I wanted to make sure they all fit and looked good.
10. To save money I used contact paper. Unfortunately, mine was clear so it was really hard to see the lettering from the backing. If you use this, I recommend buying a dark contact paper. I set the blade to 1. Technically with vinyl you don't need to use the mat (I learned that the hard way....my mat is so cut up now) and had it double cut.
Once you have it all "printed" and cut each address out. So you have a bunch of strips of addresses or quotes or whatever it is on each board.
11. Once your letters are all cut weed out the centers of each letter. But be careful. Keep the little fillings of each letter in like the middle of the "e" and "A's" and "R's" etc. Don't lose those or you'll have to cut them again or make it up or just not use them.
12. Now add transfer paper to the top. Or, to save money, I used painters tape. It worked really nicely. My lettering was just under the width of the thick painters tape. It's just sticky enough to hold it together but not so sticky that it won't peel off.
Using the plastic scraper (or pampered chef dish scraper, or credit card or whatever works) press down the tape over the contact lettering firm and in the same direction.
13. Once it is stuck nicely carefully peel off the solid color of the contact paper. Throw that away.
You can barely see the letters transferred onto the tape. This is why colored contact paper would have been easier.
14. Now transfer the lettering to the board. Be sure it's centered. I made the mistake of being a little off centered on a few of mine and now it bugs me a bit. Using your scraper, gently scrape over the tape to adhere it to the wood nicely. Some of these boards have holes or really rough spots so make sure it's stuck all the way with no air pockets or gaps that paint can escape through. Then gently pull off the tape and the contact lettering will remain on the wood. Now you're ready to paint!
15. Pick your paint colors. I painted two layers so if you don't like the first color, re-mix and paint over it. Then it'll leave an even more rustic look. Use a foam brush or a regular paint brush and acrylic paints.
16. Paint over the lettering. Stay within the lines. Try to paint on top of, with blobs, dabbing. If you swipe it has a greater chance of getting underneath the vinyl and blurring your lettering.
17. Allow to dry before adding the next coat.
18. Once you're done painting allow to dry completely for several hours. Then gently peel off contact paper. Peel off in the opposite direction, slowly pulling back and not up so it doesn't accidentally pick up some of the paint with it. Then weed out the little filler letters (as seen in the "0).
19. And you're done! It's certainly not perfect, but neither am I so it works. Notice how there is only room for 2-3 more addresses!! Hint, hint to the husband. We've moved enough times!
Please, pin away. And do not hesitate to ask if you have any technical questions.