Summer Subway Art

with 10 Comments

Lydia Tarbox

I have two school-age children. One thing I love to do each year is create custom Valentine’s Day cards for them to pass out in their class at school. This year, I created 3×4 Subway Art cards. The kids got to choose the colors and helped me decide on the fonts and sayings that we used on the cards. I loved the way they turned out! It occurred to me that Subway Art cards could be useful in so many situations . . . to include with birthday, wedding, or baby gifts; as home decor; or just as a way to let someone know that you’re thinking about them. And, of course, you can always add them to your scrapbook layouts for a special custom touch.

So today I’m going to walk you through creating a 3×4 Subway Art card perfect for summer. But, feel free to adapt these instructions to make your own Subway Art in any size or for any occasion.

[am4show have=’g1;’]

Tips for Choosing Fonts:

  • Choose both Serif and Sans Serif Fonts.
  • Choose fonts with varying heights and weights.
  • Remember that you can use only the uppercase or only the lowercase letters of some fonts.
  • Find one or two fonts that include symbols or dingbats.

Tips for Choosing Colors:

  • Choose 4–5 colors.
  • Set up a custom Swatches panel to make switching between colors easier. Instructions for creating custom swatches can be found in this Digi Scrap Tutorial, originally published on April 23, 2013.

Step One: Prepare the Workspace

  • Create a new 3 x 4 inch document (File > New > Blank File) at 300 ppi with a white background. (Photoshop: Choose File > New.)
  • Press the letter D to reset the Color Chips to the default of black and white.
  • In the Menu Bar, choose View > Rulers to turn on the Rulers.
  • Choose View > Grid to turn on the Grids. (Photoshop: Choose > View > Show > Grid.)
  • Choose View > Snap To > Guides.
  • Choose View > Snap To > Grid.
  • Press Ctrl K (Mac: Cmd K) to open Preferences.
  • In the dialog box, choose Guides & Grid. (Photoshop: Choose Guides, Grid & Slices.) Set the Grid Subdivisions to 16 and click OK.

Step Two: Set Up the Guides

  • On the document, click on the Ruler on the left-hand side of the document and drag to the right to place a Guide on the second grid line from the left-hand side of the document.
  • Click and drag another guide to the second grid line from the right of the document.
  • Click on the Ruler at the top of the document and drag downward to place a Guide on the second grid line from the top of the document.
  • Click and drag another guide to the second grid line from the bottom of the document.
  • Continue pulling guides from the top Ruler, and place them on your document until you’ve created a box for the placement of each line of text. Remember to leave spaces for the blank areas between the lines of text.


Step Three: Enter the Text

  • Get the Horizontal Type tool.
  • In the Tool Options, choose a font, point size, and color for your text.

Note: You may need to experiment with the size of your font until you find the one that works best in the space you are trying to fill. Remember to try using only uppercase or lowercase letters, as well.

  • On the document, click once and enter the text of your choice. Click the checkmark to commit the type.
  • In the Menu Bar, choose Layer > Simplify Layer. (Photoshop: Choose Layer > Rasterize > Type.)


Step Four: Align the Text

  • Get the Move tool.
  • On the document, click and drag the text into position inside one of the boxes you created with the Guides in Step Two.
  • Press Ctrl T (Mac: Cmd T) to get the Transform options.
  • Click and drag on the handles of the Bounding Box to resize your text until it fits within the box created by the Guides. Click on the checkmark to commit the changes.
  • Continue to add text to each box of the Grid until your Subway Art is complete.


I hope you’ll have fun with this tutorial. There are so many possibilities! Here’s what my Summer Subway Art looked like when I was finished:

[am4show have=’g1;’] Credits:
Digi Scrap Tutorial: Summer Subway Art by Lydia Tarbox
Fonts: Umbrage, Lintsec, Hill House, Exotica, Ultra, Water Street, Rothman, Efon, and Conspiracy

Download this Digi Scrap Tutorial

10 Responses

  1. Tora
    | Reply

    OHH 🙂 this is great, thank you for sharing this tut.

  2. Doris
    | Reply

    Love subway art. Great tutorial.

  3. HeleneB
    | Reply

    Thanks for the tutorial. I will be trying this soon.

  4. Jean Baker
    | Reply

    Thank you. I’ve never done anything like this. Your tutorial inspires me. I know my 13 yr old grandson would love it, too.
    Jean Baker

  5. Wilhemena Sprague
    | Reply

    Thank you Thank you Thank you…cannot wait to start in.

  6. Nannette Dalton
    | Reply

    Looks like fun to me too.

  7. Shirley Kimbrough
    | Reply

    Another take on subway art. I will add this to my Premier tutorial on the same subject. Thanks for the addition. (I still haven’t tried this art yet.) 😉

  8. Linda Burnette
    | Reply

    Awesome…thanks for this great info!

  9. marcie hixson
    | Reply

    thank you….always love to learn new things

  10. Donna English
    | Reply

    I would love to just print out your summer fun subway art too. 😀

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