How To Paint Wall Murals

Wall murals are a simple way of giving a room some character. This can be particularly useful in public places or places of interest, such as museums, schools, church corridors, and the like. Murals are a particularly great way of adding to the visual appeal of any wall. You can also paint murals at home, particularly if you have a child and you want to give his room a theme.

What you need:

  • Acrylic paints
  • Interior latex paint
  • Plastic cups
  • Stencils
  • Overhead, LCD or LED projector (optional)
  • Computer (optional)
  • Paint brushes
  • Newspapers, masking tape or plastic sheets

Apply the stencils. Murals are often enlargements of images you can otherwise find on the pages of a book, photographs, or other smaller medium. Unless you are confident enough with your artistic skills to draw a free-form mural, you would need to paint from a stencil or a pattern. There are several ways to do this.

First, you can purchase a mural stencil set from an arts and crafts store. These would usually come in a size proportional to any standard wall or room. Second, you can use a computer attached to a projector to beam an image onto the wall. Third, you can photocopy an image onto a transparency, which you will then beam onto the wall using an overhead projector.

Either of these methods will give you a pattern which you can simply paint over, for easy mural-making.

Prepare the room. Before doing any painting, make sure to move all furniture toward the center of the room (or simply away from the wall being painted). You can cover these with old sheets or newspapers. Likewise cover the floor with plastic sheets or newspaper held firmly in place with masking tape. Clean the wall to be painted with household detergent, water and a sponge. Let it dry completely before applying paint.

Apply the paint. Transfer small amounts of paint onto plastic cups. With the stencil or the projected image on the wall, start applying the paint. You can use latex interior paint for filling in large areas, and acrylic paints for adding details. You might have to paint several layers when using latex interior paint, as these tend to layer thinly.

You can wait for base layers to dry before adding in details, so the colors don’t blend too much. Leave the mural to dry overnight.

Composition tips. As with any art work, good composition does wonders when painting a mural. Be sure to use proportionate sizes when painting objects. If you are drawing a scenery, use perspective. A good rule of thumb is to use the rule of thirds, which is popular with photography enthusiasts. Divide the wall into a grid with three parts, vertically and horizontally. You can place the main subject at any thirds portion of the wall—either at the upper right point, where the top and rightmost line of the grid intersect, the upper left point, the lower left point, or the lower right point. Just be sure the subject is either centered or situated to any particular intersection of the grid.

Safety tips. As with any painting project, be sure to wear work clothes, such as overalls or at least an old long-sleeved shirt. Wear a mask and make sure the room has adequate ventilation.

Wall murals can give any room a much-needed face-lift. You should have as much fun with your project as the owner of the room will have fun with the mural.


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