Murals, with or without a trompe l’oeil effect (creating the illusion of seeing reality;trompe l’oeil murals are paintings that create an illusion that fool or trick the eye), can be big or small, inside or outside, encompass a whole room or only part. A mural is a painting applied directly to a wall, ceiling or other permanent surface. Painted murals dating back to prehistoric times are proof that people have an inherited instinct to decorate. Give us a surface and man will paint a mural on it to express his ideas, thoughts, imagination and emotions.
Consideration for the architectural detailing, colour and mood of the environment creates bespoke artwork which is both individual and sensitive to the style and period of the setting.
Good trompe l’oeil murals can blur the boundary between fantasy and reality, making the viewer believe they are looking out onto a Provencal or Tuscan landscape – even from the confines of a windowless room.
How to Prepare a Surface for a Wall Mural
Thoroughly clean the wall to remove any dust and grease, and leave it to dry. Consider applying a fresh coat of paint or primer before you begin your design, especially if there are color variations on the wall.
How to Get Your Mural Design on the Wall
The easiest way to transfer your mural design to the wall is to use the grid method. As you become more experienced, you’ll likely find you sketch the design out in less detail on the wall.
Simply put, to grid a design, you draw a set of 1″ or 5cm squares across your original design and then a grid on the wall that’s got the same number of squares but obviously they’re considerably larger. You then use the squares to guide you as you redraw the design on the wall. (See also: How to Grid from About’s Drawing Guide and The Grid Method by muralist Doug Myerscough.)
What Paint to Use for a Wall Mural
If the mural is going to be exposed to the sun, you’ll need paint that’ll stand up to this. Check the lightfastness (UV) qualities of the paint you’re going to use.
Quality acrylic mural paints are the ideal, but check your budget as they may work out too expensive for the whole mural. If this is the case, use them for the details and ‘ordinary’ household paint for blocking in the under layers or large areas. Choose paint with a matt or eggshell finish so light doesn’t reflect off the mural.
If your wall mural is accessible to small children with their inevitable sticky fingers, protect the mural with a final coat of protective clear varnish, which also makes cleaning it simple.