How to Plan and Paint a Mural

Painting a mural is a relatively inexpensive way to add interest to any wall in your home. The best thing about it is that it’s just paint. If you make a mistake, you can simply paint right over it. Even if you’re not a Picasso, a mural can still make a great interior painting project.

PLAN YOUR DESIGN

The first step in painting a mural is planning your design. Is your mural going to be in a child’s room, the living room or bathroom? The location of your mural will help you decide what you want to paint. If this is your first attempt at a mural, you may want to try something with less detail. Lean toward a design that has simple lines and few colors. Don’t try to paint the Sistine Chapel your first time around. If you are considering a child’s mural, coloring books are great for designs. They have simple lines and minimal detail.

PREPARE YOUR WALL

Before you paint, inspect the wall you will be painting. Is it textured? If so, you need to decide if that is a problem for your mural. If it is, you will want to remove it. You can sand the walls, but expect a mess with this process. Dampening the texture and scraping it off is usually a better method. Just be sure to let the wall fully dry before painting. Next, is your wall clean? Does it have any mold, dirt or grease on it? You will want to clean any places like this first to ensure your paint adheres well. The final step of preparation is to prime the wall. Using a good primer will give your mural a good base and help it last.

TRANSFER YOUR DESIGN

Unless you consider yourself a Da Vinci, you may want to transfer your design onto the wall before painting. A pencil works well and can be easily erased. A great technique for transferring your design is to use an art projector. Most craft stores carry them. Once the image is projected on the wall, you simply follow the lines with your pencil. Another method is to divide your design into a grid. Transferring the design onto the wall becomes much easier if you are working with one small square at a time. It may take some figuring to transfer the grid to the wall correctly, so keep that in mind.

MATERIALS

To paint your mural, you will need a drop cloth, a damp rag (to fix any mistakes or spills), paint brushes in assorted sizes, a ladder (if necessary) and, of course, paint. For the base color, use a regular latex paint. For details, you may want to use acrylic paints mixed with a matte medium. They will give you great color that is long lasting. You may also want to have some painter’s tape on hand. It is great for painting straight lines.

PAINT YOUR MASTERPIECE

Start with your mural’s biggest area of color. Once that dries, add the next largest area, and so on. Paint the details last, being sure to let each layer dry thoroughly before starting the next. Once you have your mural completed, you may want to consider finishing it off with a coat of matte varnish for protection. Have fun with your mural, and remember: it’s only paint!

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