Introduction: Spider-Man Street Art Subway Map

We wanted to create a "street art" inspired piece, I thought using a map would be a nice colorful background, I picked up a couple of subway maps last time I visited New York, Spider-Man seemed like the best fit.

The materials we used are the following:

• Subway map
• Spray paint (red, white, blue & black)
• Spray adhesive
• X-acto Knife
• Scissors
• Ruler
• Acetate or Cardboard
• Respirator
• Cricut (optional)

Step 1: Getting Your Illustration Started

We worked up a drawing based on reference materials we found online, after we got it the way we wanted it. We took the image into photoshop, there we converted it to gray scale, then we increased the resolution to 400dpi, then we changed the mode to bitmap, what this does is that it convert you image into the black and white image you need to create your main stencil, if you don't have access to the software, you can always use your drawing as a staring point.

Step 2: Creating Your Stencil (Cricut)

We have access to a cricut machine, that is perfect for this type of project, if you don't have access to one, don't worry you can do all of it by hand as well.

First I'll discuss the cricut method, in order to cut an image on a cricut you will need to save your image as a .svg file or bitmap, we chose .svg because it give us the most consistent results, in order to do this we converted the file to vectors in illustrator. We opened the file in illustrator and selected "image trace" from the object menu, then we Direct selected a piece of the artwork, then went to the "select" menu and selected same color, this picks everything black, then we copied this image to a new document and save it as an .svg file.

After that we went to the cricut site uploaded the image (spider 02.svg) and got ready to cut, since the biggest file we could use was 12" x 24" we had to split the file in two (files are attached). we used the 12" x 24" cutting board and added a 12" x 24" piece of acetate to it, since I use this mat for stenciling I added some adhesive spray directly to it, for better grip, i wouldn't recommend doing this to a new mat.

On the cricut machine we selected the pegboard setting. then we let the machine do it's thing, the result was a very nicely cut stencil, i'm always impressed by the level of precision this little machines achieve, we did this for the other file (spider 03.svg) as well as the spider and the blue parts of spider-man's outfit. We have included the .svg files in case you want to download them.

Then we weeded out the mats and ended up with the stencils we needed for the project, you can use acetate or cardboard as your material, acetate is a good material for overlapping stencils because you are able to register the colors easier, but its a little flexible which created issues at the time of spraying, more on that later :)

Step 3: Creating Your Stencil (By Hand)

If you don't have access to cricut or cutting machine, you can do this by hand, you just need some patience.

The first thing you have to do is print out your design, I don't have a large format printer so I had to tile the image, I used my patio door as a light box since the image was too large to fit on my regular lightbox. After your image is tiled you want to glue it to card stock, or card board, keep in mind that the thicker the material the harder the cuts will be, and the harder the spray is, but the thicker the martial the more times your can use it. you can also trace it on to acetate and cut it from that. we have included a pdf file in case you want to go this route.

I also cut my stencil for the red paint by hand out of some card stock I had left over from another project.

Step 4: Red Paint

We carefully unfolded the map, you have to be careful with the folds, it tears pretty easy. Then we taped it with masking tape to a piece of particle board we had laying around, you can attach it to cardboard if need be, just protect your surfaces, paint is very hard to take off.

The next thing we did was spray the back of the red stencil with adhesive spray, you want it to be tacky, but not too much because it will adhere to the paper and rip it when you try to take it off.

After that we applied the stencil to the left hand side of the map. Then we applied pressure to the stencil to make sure there wasn't too many gaps, specially on the folds, then with the respirator on we sprayed a generous coat of red paint. As soon as you are done painting remove the stencil, you don't want the paint to dry and adhere the stencil to the map further. We let i dry for about 4 hours, since this was out base we wanted it to adhere to the paper as much as possible before we started spraying the other colors.

*Whenever you are using any kind of stpay use a respirator or face mask.

Step 5: Black and White Paint

Then we did the same for the Black stencil, this stencil was so complicated that this part was the most consuming part of the whole project, we sprayed the stencil with spray adhesive and attached it to the map, keeping an eye on the red paint to make sure we had enough overlap, since the acetate is such flexible material we had some issues attaching it, we had to cut some parts that didn't fit correctly, this part would have been much easier it we had cut it out of card board, but you live an learn. Once we were happy with the stencil we applied a generous coat of black paint. again as soon as we were done we removed the stencil and let it dry for a couple of hours, since there was only a couple of white accents we didn't need to let it dry too long.

Afterwards we repeated the same steps with white stencils, after removing those we added some blue overspray to make it look more like graffiti, we didn't want to go overboard since we are hanging this in one of the rooms.

Step 6: All Done

To preserve it a little bit more and to tone down the glass form the paint we sprayed some matte clear coat over the whole piece, after letting it dry for a couple of hours we were done.

That's about it, I hope that you enjoyed this instructable, and if you decide on doing this project yourself, hopefully these instructions and files are what you need to create your own street art piece, if you did enjoy it, please consider voting for it in maps contest. Thanks for checking out our instructable.

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