Jun 19, 2011

Family Tree Subway Art {Tutorial!}

If you happen to recall, Brad and I celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary this month! The traditional present is wood, and I am nothing if not traditional. Every year we say "Let's stick to a $40 budget on presents" which leads to "Let's just make our vacation our present" or "Let's just make all the new plants we bought for the front yard our present". Aren't we super romantic?

But this year I actually made Brad a present! And it was only completed two weeks after our anniversary! Not too shabby! I saw this family tree poster on Etsy and about had a heart attack when I saw the price. I loved the idea but couldn't (and wouldn't) spend that much money on a poster. So, cute little ol' crafty me made one for about $10!

I love how it turned out and love the distressed look of it.

So, for those of you like me who are on a budget (and may have been called a cheapo at least once before in her life), here is how you can make one for under $10!

1. Using Microsoft Publisher (or program of your choice!), create the subway artwork. I used my parents, my in-laws, where we met (at Texas A&M...WHOOP!), our current street address, and our wedding date. I did 'insert word art' so that way I could stretch out the words to fit the page as needed. Then save as a jpg.

2. I uploaded this pic to Walmart's online photo store and ordered it as a poster. I think I ordered an 11x14??? It cost about $8 including shipping. You can save $1 to get it sent to the store and pick it up yourself, but I would rather pay that extra $1 as to not have to take the boys into Walmart just to pick up one little poster.

3. I had my hubby cut a piece of plywood we had in the garage. Don't worry- he still didn't know what this was for and this was his only task in the whole project!

4. Using white paint, I painted the sides of the wood and a little bit of the top of the plywood. I correctly assumed the board and the poster wouldn't be the exact same size and I didn't want wood showing through.

(I took this pic just in case you didn't know what paint and a paint brush looked like. You're welcome!)

5. I painted a nice, thick coat of Mod Podge on the board and then put the poster on the board. Then I let it dry.

5a. I actually put mod podge on the top of the poster as well, but that was a big ol' mistake! So, don't do that!

6. It is time to distress it up, baby! I used a power sander and sanded all over the poster to distress it. Brad's sander must be super powerful because it only took about 3 swipes and I was done. I think if I had just a piece of sand paper it would have taken a little elbow grease to get it to look like this. (Remember part 5a? All the mod podge got sanded off immediately. You can see all the pieces to the side of the board on this picture. So, that was kind of a waste of time!)

7. I once again put a coat of mod podge on the top of poster once I finished distressing. Once it dried, I put on one more layer just to make it a little more smooth to the touch. (These pictures are from when I added the coat of mod podge before sanding, but you get the idea!)

8. And....done!

So, to total up the cost:
poster: $8
paint, wood, mod podge: on hand from old projects

TOTAL: $8.


I link up to these parties!


  1. This is really cute!! We are celebrating our 3rd anniversary today, and now I don't feel so bad about saying, "Let's just make our vacation our present".... and, we are planting trees after our vacation and I'm pretty sure I literally said, "That can be your anniversary present" Lol!! That is hilarious! Love the tutorial, I think I may have to try this!

  2. Awe! I wish I had found this earlier! Today is my 8th aniiversary! Maybe I can do one a little late, too. Thanks for sharing :)

  3. So cute. Love this. :) New follower from Sugar Bee Crafts. Would love to have you link this up to my {wow me} wednesday link up party going on over on my blog right now. The most viewed link will win a set of fancy rectangle chalkboard labels. This week I’m co-hosting with Reasons to Skip the Housework…so links will show up on both blogs! How fun!


  4. I. am. totally. doing. this. Never considered getting it printed as a poster at walmart! Gret tip!

  5. by the way, what fonts did you use? Do you remember?

  6. I love it! What a cute idea. I am excited to try this!

  7. I just had to check this out 'cause it said College Station. Class of '90 WHOOP! But, it is fabulous! I think I would use my sander too, except it takes so long to find the box that it's in!

  8. Thanks for sharing this! I knew I could make this on my own...I just wasn't sure how to create the text effect. Word art - brilliant!! Thanks again. Can't wait to craft my own.

  9. Just saw your comment on I am Momma-hear me roar and had to stop by to see yours too! It's gorgeous! What an awesome gift!


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