Are you looking for a great way to make your child’s room a unique, personalized haven? Consider painting a mural that’s full of your little one’s favorite things.
You don’t need to be a great artist to create a colorful wall mural. With just a few supplies and tools and your imagination, you can transform your child’s plain, ho-hum walls into something special.
Don’t Forget To Prepare Your Walls
You’re going to spend a bit of cash and a number of hours on this project, so it’s important to prepare your walls. If you neglect this important first step, you may wind up with paint that peels off, cracks that expand and require repair over your lovely painting or bleed-through from old under-painting.
Examine the walls for cracks or moisture damage and repair those spots as needed before anything else. If the walls are dirty, greasy or shows signs of mold, wash them with TSP to ensure a clean surface that will accept your paint well.
When the walls are good and dry, apply a coat of acrylic primer to ensure good adhesion. You’ll find a number of economy products here: economy acrylic primer
Spend some time sketching your ideas to come up with a pleasing composition. Make your sketches similar in shape to the size of the wall. You can use graph paper to scale out the shape and this helps giving you an idea of how your images fill the wall space.
Cruise the internet, children’s picture books and coloring books for inspiration and sketch them onto your scaled-to-size paper.
Once you’ve decided what you’d like to paint and have completed your sketch, you need to get the composition on the walls.
Transfer The Composition
To enlarge the image onto your wall, there are two fairly simple methods. You can use an art projector: art projector
or the grid method.
Using a projector to transfer your image to the wall is relatively easy and fast. However, a projector may involve spending more than you want to for this project.
The grid method is low-tech, and it’s definitely more time consuming. You’ll use a 1:1 ratio for the grid, meaning that the number of lines you use both horizontally and vertically will be the same for both your drawing and the wall on which you intend to paint. You’ll divide your paper drawing into equal spaces, creating a grid work over your composition. You’ll then transfer that same grid work onto the wall.
If you use charcoal for the wall drawing, you’ll be able to remove the marks easily with a damp rag. A pencil is more difficult to remove, and although it’s okay for the composition images, the grid work needs to be completely eradicated.
The more lines you have in the grid, the more closely you’ll be able to match up the objects from your drawing on the wall.
Now that you’ve completed the grid work on both your sketch and the wall, begin drawing your composition using the vertical and horizontal lines to help you place the objects correctly.
Once you’re happy with the way the composition looks on the wall, you can remove the charcoal grid lines, and you’re ready to paint!
For large areas like sky, clouds, meadows and other large expanses, you can use regular acrylic interior paint, as these large spaces can get rather pricey if you use your acrylic artist’s paints.
Use as large a brush as you can if you’re brushing on paint. Fine-bristled house painting brushes will work just fine. You can use your artist brushes for smaller details and objects.
You can also use other artist techniques, just as you would on a canvas painting. Using a variety of paint application methods can make the job go faster, as well as adding textural interest to the painting.
You can use various sizes of natural and synthetic sponges, which have different sizes of holes and shapes. After moistening and squeezing out the sponge, lightly tap into a batch of paint, and then lightly blot on paper toweling to remove excess paint.
Now, you can quickly fill large areas and create wispy clouds or foliage-filled trees. You can go over the same area to build up color and coverage with layers of the same color, or you can use different colors to produce depth and dimensional texture.
Stippling is very popular and easy to do. It adds depth and life to an area, and you don’t need to worry about precise brush strokes or blending. It gives a very painterly appearance to your piece. You can find a wide variety of stippling brushes here: stippling brush.
After painting a solid color of paint to an area, allow it to dry. Then, paint a thin layer of another color on top in a random motion. While the layer is wet, dab the area with a dry stippling brush, making texture and a third color as you go. You can also introduce other colors by stippling dots of colors to increase the variety.
Allow the area to dry, and you can apply yet another color randomly and continue stippling to create even more texture and colors. Make sure to pounce the brush often on paper towels to remove excess paint from the bristles.
You can buy or make stencils for repetitious items, like a border or a row of similar objects. Use the stippling brush, which has a flat bottom, to build up color easily.
Use the stencil design to lay in the basic shapes. You can then go back later to do free-hand detail work or for shading or enhancing the images.
Antiquing And Glazing
These two techniques are really the same thing, used to create different effects. The basic idea is to add paint to acrylic medium, so that the resulting blend is a translucent mixture that adds a hint of color to the painted area.
You can use burnt sienna or burnt umber to create an aged appearance to a surface. Blend a small amount of color to the medium and brush it quickly over the wall. While the paint is still wet, use a wadded piece of cheesecloth to move the paint around to give textural areas of lighter and darker paint. After the layer has dried, you can use additional layers to darken specific areas like corners and edges of the wall.
With glazing, you are using a small ratio of paint to medium. For example, if you use a golden yellow with the medium, you can cover an area to give it a golden glow like a reflected sunset. Blue or purple gives you a good color to add shadowing or shading while allowing the detailing to show through.
Acrylic Medium is available here: acrylic medium
Sealing Your Mural
When you’ve completed your painting, you need to protect your masterpiece. Use a clear, non-yellowing varnish. A gloss varnish would reflect too much light, so choose either a matte or a satin finish product. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for application and drying time.
A Final Tip
Make sure you step away from your mural often, and move to different parts of the room to see the painting from alternative perspectives. By taking a moment to look at the painting from afar often, you’ll be able to spot problems and correct them before you’ve progressed too far down the wrong path.