Guest Author - Paula Devore
Whether you have ever painted a mural or not, it is something you can do with a little planning. Murals are a great way to express your individuality, emphasize your decorating theme or delight a child or teen with a room that will be the envy of all their friends.
A good mural, like any artistic project, will begin with some planning. You should put down a quick sketch or two, refining until you have an idea you love. This is important; when you put the time and effort into doing a project of this magnitude, you want to be sure it is something you will love. One of the best things about painting a mural is that when you are tired of it, you can just get out the old roller and have a fresh canvas for the next one.
Be sure to measure the wall or walls you will be using so you know how much space you have. Take into consideration the placement of furniture in the room so you don't get the best part of the mural behind the bunk beds. Put the furniture into the sketch as you work. If the mural requires a rearrangement of furniture, try it out for a few days to be sure you can live with it before beginning painting.
Also consider the lighting in the room. Light from windows or from lamps can make a big difference in the placement and colors you choose. If the light is low, perhaps it would be a good idea to add a lamp or two.
Colors need to coordinate with the furniture in the room and the carpet of flooring. Picking up the color of the carpet in your mural can expand the room, making it appear larger. You can place accent colors in the mural that will add spark to the entire room. So consider carefully where you can put touches like these.
When you have chosen the subject matter, placement of the major elements and colors you want ot use, it's time to get to the fun stuff.
Refine your drawing using the measurements you took so you know it will all fit. Working on graph paper can help this process, but it's not mandatory. You do not have to put in every detail you will use, but the more you include, the easier it will be when you are ready to start on the wall. If you feel like taking the time, you can paint your composition on a canvas board or watercolor paper so you have a very good idea where you are going. And don't worry ... murals take on a life of their own as you work on the wall, so expect some changes and don't panic when they happen!
Once the drawing is complete, you can begin to put your sketch on the wall. Taping your sketch onto the wall or setting it where you can see it at all times is the best way to keep on track. Use chalk - the skinny chalkboard type, not sidewalk chalk. White is the best choice if it will show up on the wall, but a pastel color will work, too. Keep in mind that the chalk will pick up in your paint and add color to it, so bright colors are not the best as a rule.
Be careful with very large objects like huge trees or buildings that can overpower the work. Not that you can't use these, but be aware of the effect on the whole composition. If you do use a large accent piece, plan for items to balance them on the other side of the wall or across the room. You don't have to match the size, but balance can come from a grouping of objects and/or colors that demand enough attention to make the balance.
Begin planning your mural now. Jump right in and give yourself plenty of time for good planning which will lead to a wonderful result when you are finished!
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