DIY Subway Wall Art

A year or so ago, after Spoonflower unveiled a custom decal printing option, I made up an entire alphabet based on the same look the NYC MTA subway system has. Why? Uh, hello, because my children love trains and love the subway, of course.

Knowing we would eventually move, I stuck them up temporarily in The Bub’s room with donuts of scotch tape.


Now that we’ve moved and the kiddos are sharing a room, I brought the decals back out as I had a new master plan for these unsuspecting circles.

A few months ago, I had spotted these fun DIY ways to decorate rooms with washi tape. Really cute stuff. But I’ll be honest, I didn’t want to spend the extra money on trendy washi tape if I could find brightly colored masking tape that would give the same effect I was after. There. I said it.

I searched around online and did find one multicolored pack that would give me the most colors for my buck and the lower price point made it easy to commit to. After all, it’s paper tape that’s just gonna be crumpled up and thrown out eventually, so why waste good quality college-fund pennies on something so transient?


I bought two packs and I’m glad I did. 

I mean, they *look* pretty substantial, right?


Bwhahahaha, S-U-R-P-R-I-S-E!!!!! They’re totally Liliputian-sized rolls of masking tape!

Almost criminally small, but I chose to ignore that and plow ahead with My Big Idea, making double-widths of every color.

So, I taped and taped…


And taped and taped some more…

It was incredibly fun to do, I might add. Removable defacement of property. Freestyle drawing with tape. Going hog wild. I highly recommend it!


Are you still with me? I hope so, because it’s payoff reveal time!

Behold, good people!


Ta-daa! Presenting my loose rendition of the MTA subway map.

Sure, I could have reproduced the lines more accurately to their real-life counterparts, but the fun of this was morphing that idea to fit these peculiar wall angles and have it all come together in a neat way that the kids would enjoy.

It was really fun to do (I know, I said that already. I mean it that much) and I, personally, would have called it complete at this point.

But then the kids entered the room…

…and excitedly offered their help.


First, The Bub showed off his masterful sticking skills…


…then Mister Baby Pants lent his keen artistic eye to the project.

They added more and more and more of what I would have deemed *leftover* decals.

But hey, it’s their room and what’s more fun than putting sanctioned stickers all over the place? I’ll just ignore them being wonky and off-kilter and focus on the spirit of collaboration.

Must. Resist. Compulsive. Desire. To. Straighten. Everything.


They added every last decal until the box I had them in was completely empty.


Part of The Bub’s design vision included thoughtfully pairing up “the babies with their mamas,” as it were.


The time flew by and after all that peeling and sticking and sticking and peeling, our new DIY room decoration was complete!

Subway wall art, ah-yesssss! Job well done and we love it!