This year at the school where I teach, I was moved into a new classroom that has been neglected of interior decorating. So before school started, I began working on small decorative murals to create a cozy and welcoming environment. I did not want to make things too busy, so I chose to paint calm and peaceful imagery like trees, ponds and fish. I will post the finish product as soon as I get the opportunity. It was a really great experience and a nice change from the kind of work I do in the studio. If you are interested in painting murals, but have never done it before, I have some tips for beginners after the following images.
Trees are great for beginners since there are so many styles that you can get away with, you can be inventive and you don't have to get terribly detailed to make a statement. This wall is in the cleaning area of the studio.
I painted some very basic decorative art in the children's wash station.
If you are a painter but have never experienced painting murals and you are interested, just go for it! You can always paint over something with some interior paint if you mess up, no biggy. My tips are in no particular order and if you are lost on anything, please ask questions.
TIPS FOR STARTERS:
- Collect interior wall paints that you have used in your own home as they work great as a base for any painting, especially to fill big spaces up like tree trunks, water and sky scenes.
- Buy small sample paints of fun colors you want to experiment wtih at your local home improvement retailer store. These little samples go a long way. For example, you can do washes to help the paint to cover large areas. If you don't want to wait for an employee to mix the colors for you, some paint brands like Martha and Valspar sell cute little samples to experiment with. Here is a link to show what you should look for.Paint Samples
- Save large brushes that you use for interior/exterior painting, even if they are beat up. Old brushes can be good to create texture in bushes, flower patches in a distance, etc.
- You may want to start small and simple in case you realize that it is more time consuming than you thought (which has happened to me too many times-- I never learn!)
- Surf the web and google images of interior wall art, modern art, and decorative art ideas if you don't know where to begin.
- Sketch designs on paper and/or start drawing directly on the wall with a light colored pencil. If you mess up, don't worry about the pencil marks until later. I don't use led pencils for this part, because I have run into certain paints or washes that seem to have a harder time covering up pencil lines, but typically it's not a big deal if you are drawing lightly.
- Have rags handy as it may be the best tool for blending paints. Rags work good for washes and textures. Old t-shirts, jeans, anything with texture (as long as it is not a material that contains too much fuzz or lint that could come off onto the wall while you are painting, and if you aren't sure test it out first). You can dip a rag in water, ring it out and dip a little into the interior wall paint to create a nice base wash that could represent clouds, water, sky, or just to add some depth to a wall. You might want to rub in random circular motions for clouds, bunch up and dab areas to create bushes or rocky textures, and wipe horizontally to create a soft sky. Have a dry rag handy to wipe away any areas where the paint looks too thick. You may also want to use a sponge or a frayed paint brush to create different textures.
- Do not spend much time in any area when making washes and using interior/exterior paint as it will only start to get muddy. Try to only spend a few seconds everywhere your brush/rag touches. If you aren't terribly happy with how things are looking and it's not wiping away, WAIT for it to dry before tampering with it again.
- Once you have your base colors down, I find that smaller art brushes and acrylic paint works well for details on interior walls. I usually do not use my oils since they take much longer to dry, and they may not work well on top of other paints or wall surfaces.
- Fill the entire wall with the most basic shapes and colors before getting detailed. In other words, keep things simple until the end, and if you feel that it needs more detail, go back. Otherwise, if you get too detailed right off the bat, you might realize that you don't have the time or energy to get detailed in other areas. A wall might not look very big at first glance, but once you start working on it, you will realize that this could get very time consuming. Unless you are going for a realistic look, a nice modern appeal is to keep things simple and painterly.
I hope this helps. If you have more questions, just ask!
Everyone liked my classroom much that I was asked to paint a mural in another classroom. I was happy to do so.