Surf breaks window/subway art

   vinyl lettering subway art vintage windows
My husband grew up surfing in southern California with his twin brother and younger brother.  They’ve since toured the world catching the most epic waves God has to offer.
  famous surf breaks lettered onto vintage windows with vinyl lettering
In preparation for husband’s man cave in our new home, I wanted to make him something exceptionally special.  I think I hit jackpot!!
vinyl lettering on vintage windows :: surfing subway art
He came home from a long day at work, walked around the corner, and freaked out when he saw this.  goose bump city!  all of his favorite surf spots…custom for HIM!
vinyl lettering on vintage windows :: surfing subway art
My inspiration was an $850 poster from Restoration Hardware.
I found a few old double hung windows on Craigslist for $5 each.  WHAT?!  Works perfectly in the industrial, beach, white washed theme we’re going for at the new house.

vintage window with vinyl lettering subway art knock-off

I gathered a list of the boys’ surf spots from husband’s twin…
famous surf breaks lettered onto vintage windows with vinyl lettering
Then I ordered the vinyl lettering from  making sure to use different fonts and sizes for visual appeal…thank you Brad Handy, CEO!
I cut the words, approximated where I wanted to place them, and got started.
I wasn’t sure if I wanted to stain or change the frames any further.  I decided, these 70 year old windows were pretty distressed and there wasn’t anything else I could do to make them look any better.  Maybe I’ll add a glaze, but for now, these will work nicely against a painted wall in the man cave, flanking an antique radio my Dad restored and gave to us.
Of course, I made sure the glass was as clean as possible.  There was a lot of grit and dirt that needed to be washed off.  Soap and water, followed up with Windex.
The vinyl lettering arrived in perfect shape on 3 strips of black vinyl, just as I had ordered.
I followed the instructions to ‘weed’ the letters, transfer to masking tape, then transfer to my surface.  In this case, glass.
First, start by removing the excess vinyl.  Then use masking tap to cover the words.
My trick was to align the bottom of the words as closely with the bottom of the tape.
Press all the letters into the masking tape.  Carefully lift the masking tape off the vinyl backing.
Align the bottom of the masking tape on the line you’ve drawn.  Carefully lift the masking tape off, leaving the vinyl on your surface.
To make the straight lines, I used a piece of foam board I had, and white board marker, which is easily removed with a tissue.  I simply aligned one side of the foam board to the window frame and drew my lines.
How about that really cheesy towel I used under the window?  A relic from a spring break trip 20+ years ago!
I had to take a few breaks on this project.  🙂
finding my thumb!

li’l G learning to be a good big brother.  🙂

Without interruption, this project would have been done in an hour.  With a toddler and infant, it about three hours, but was totally worth it!
vinyl lettering subway art vintage windows
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About meesh

Meesh has a passion for people, creative projects, and technology. She enjoys painting furniture back to life, gardening, playing with her kids, and connecting people.


  1. Jennifer Fancher says

    What a great result! I’m so glad you connected me to your site.