before & after: muni pass wall art + door desk

This is such a clever, chic display of old bus passes that I’m tempted to traipse over to San Francisco to amass my own collection — bravo to SF Muni for making such awesome-looking tickets and for using great color combos! There are many ways to mount these, but Megan made the smart decision to keep it simple with a large, clean grid layout and use an adhesive foam tape that allows her to switch them around whenever she desires. Great work, Megan! — Kate

Time: 4 hours

Cost: Canvas (32″ x 48″) and foam-tape squares were about $65. The San Francisco Muni passes came from my boyfriend’s 16-year collection.

Basic Steps: I originally wanted to frame the passes so the color would be protected from sunlight, but that got prohibitively expensive, so I decided to mount them on a canvas instead. Then I used acid-free foam tape squares to mount them. I measured the top row and left side to space them and then eyeballed it from there. I finished with a couple light coats of Krylon UV-resistant matte spray. Hopefully that will help preserve them from sun damage.

I like that the foam tape holds the passes slightly in front of the canvas and creates an uneven surface. The silver strip in the middle of each pass catches light differently throughout the day. Pretty much anything in multiples can be mounted/arranged to look nice. Foam tape is super forgiving, especially for mocking things up, as it’s easily removable and repositionable. I already have plans to reorganize the passes, which wouldn’t have been possible with most adhesives, and I am not worried about ruining or harming the passes. It’s worth it to spend a bit of extra time and money to protect your art from sun exposure if you don’t want it to age. — Megan

Have a Before & After you’d like to share? Shoot me an email with your images right here! (Low res, under 500k per image, please.)

CLICK HERE to see Brian’s desk after the jump!

I’ve seen old doors turned into many cool things: room dividers, headboards — you name it. However, this is the first time I’ve seen a door get a second life as part of an elegant, handcrafted desk. This was clearly a labor of love for Brian, and the details are what make the piece. The inlaid top is a nice touch, and while I worry that the grooves might not make for an ideal writing surface, I like the idea that my pens and pencils would be automatically collected in one place :) Beautiful work, Brian!

Time: around 30 hours

Cost: $470

Basic Steps: The first step after measuring the space was to reshape and resize the existing panel; this is a lot of work and takes some skill. So working with a old door or something that fits your space is a good idea for a hobbyist. From there I decided to inlay the old heat register from the house, just to bring a little more character to the piece. After that,  the base was designed and built to accent the top and match the woodwork in the house. — Brian

kaitlyn sullivan

those passes displayed like that are fantastic!!! i wish all cities had good looking passes like that.. mine are bland :)


Gorgeous Muni passes. And, even more amazing now that these passes are no longer being printed. I wish I’d had the for thought.


wow, i am in the middle of recycling a door for a desk… super weird! Not done yet but this definitely inspires me to keep going!


Very cool & what a great testament to having lived in The City long enough to have accumulated them all!


I hope this doesn’t get my comment deleted for profanity, but if you do rearrange your pass design, I hope you keep the rightmost vertical row reading “daaaaaaaaaam” because that is exactly what this completely awesome project makes me think!


I have a collection of movie stubs and have always wanted to do something like this with them. Maybe I’ll finally get around to it now. :)


This is why I blast the $1200+ pieces of art like the ones featured a few days ago: with some ingenuity and creativity, people are able to create very cool, unique pieces of art that cost way less and look just as impressive. Great job on that!


love the look of the bus passes. i’d love to know where the couch is from too. it looks super comfy!


Great desk! Maybe a custom piece of plate glass (w/ beveled edges, perhaps) would solve the uneven writing surface issue – though the pencils would have to find a new home, right?


I wish I’d kept all the ones from elementary – high school!!!! Wouldve had over a hundred of these suckers!


San Francisco’s MUNI just discontinued these passes (really the only thing they did right), in favor of an all electronic system. Sadly, the new system’s dull, boring and like most bad design, barely works.


I did a similar thing when I lived in SF. Sadly I only lived there for ayear but the arrangement represents such a great year for me. Now I am in Denver and have been collecting for the last 3 years. Love the look with a multitude.


Both are great projects. The desk would seem difficult to write on. I wonder about using Johnson’s water putty to fill in all the grooves, then stain/sand the whole thing smooth. You’d end up with grooves in a different color, all one level. The other solution is to put a piece of glass on top. Love it.


i’m swooning over the muni project! keeping this one in mind.


wow! i did the exact same thing with all of my old muni passes recently! i always looked forward to getting new passes to see what color combination they would be, and saved them without knowing what i would ever do with them. my oldest one dates back to 2004. to me the project is a tribute to living in San Francisco, the city i love most. :)


I LOVE this. I remember thinking how oddly lovely Fast Passes were, and I looked forward each month to seeing the new color combo.

I’ve done something similar with the 25 years of 100s of ticket stubs from shows and concerts. They aren’t all the same size, so I arranged them in a sort of Mondrian-style puzzle in a large picture frame. It’s the first thing that people look at when they come into my living room, and a great conversation starter.

Brian McAlpine

Thanks for the write up! The table does have a glass top, just not in the photos. You guys rule!

furniture + design

heather em

aw. i found a Muni pass in a geocache once and it was so pretty, i kept it and used it in a collage. Love this idea!


I wish the Metropasses in Toronto were as beautiful as those Muni passes so I could steal this idea. Unfortunately they are UGLY.


In college, I used a desk my Dad homemade when HE was in college out of an old door, a bedside table for drawers on one side, and a couple of posts on the other to hold the whole thing up- it spent the intervening time in our home basement. When I was done with college I passed it on to the dorm custodian for his daughter to use.
Btw, I love the ticket art- beautiful!


I am going to save all my streetcar passes here in toronto now! They arent half as colourful but you have remided me that”on mass” everyday objects always look A.M.A.Z.I.N.G!!! Thanks for the inspiration


When I lived in SF I was always excited for the start of a new month and a new MUNI pass! I wish I had kept them too, but mine were always pretty ragged by month’s end. And I was miserable in SF, so I wouldn’t want the reminder… but I did love the passes and am sorry to hear they’re gone.


Do any of you have extra muni passes? Before officially going out my fiance and i rode muni together for 6 months. So we are looking to include a bus theme in our wedding. We are hoping to have a muni pass included in our guests gifts, so looking for muni passes. Any help or suggestions is appreciated.

victoria gross

I love the way the passes are displayed. Would you me interested in letting me pay you to do something similar with all of the concert ticket stubs my husband has collected over the years? If so please email me. Thank you.