Wall murals....

Decorating with wall murals is not that difficult....and it is an awesome way to instantly add a big impact to any room, especial a play room or kid's room!

A few years ago I decided to surprise my youngest daughter with a full room makeover while she was at choir camp.  Paint, new side table, lamp, desk chair makeover, bedding, rug...everything.  She was all into Betsy Johnson at the time so I used her design as a touch of "inspiration."  Katie's first words when she walked in...."I hate it."

I wish I had all the "before the before" pictures handy.  When I first bought this house she was only 3 so decorating with the pastel pinks and blues was easy (imagine castle walls with trellises of ivy!) ....so precious.  Then she went through the teal/purple/lime green stage.  That was really awesome and it last a few years.

But as she entered her teens she wanted something a little more "mature."  Unfortunately, I learned the hard way that one should not assume what ones teenager will like. Better to let them have a hand in any design decisions, especially as she reminded me, it is  "MY personal space."

Unfortunately, I knew our "design tastes" were on total opposites of the spectrum when she told me she wanted "dark grey," specifically chalkboard grey.  No way in this world was I painting a room "dark grey." The last thing I wanted was my spunky, cheerful daughter getting swallowed up in the dark dank world of goth doom and gloom which I was certain would happen if we painted her room such a depressing color.

But then she told me she wanted a "fail whale" mural.  Huh?  What the heck?  So she googled it....I thought it was pretty neato!  She picked out the red and blue accent colors.  And as her "vision" became a little clearer, I realized she had a pretty awesome plan in her mind.

We painted the "fail whale" mural on one wall and painted her study cubby with the brighter blue and red.  (Originally the study cubby had a built in twin bed with a trundle...it is an addition I built years ago...rather cute but I took her bed out of it when I did the Betsy Johnson inspired room...it was the only thing she liked!)

I had a hand in the basic paint design (okay, so I was a common laborer) but I let her add her own little design elements...posters as a headboard and art, Christmas lights, knick-knacks....after all it is indeed her "personal space."   And I want her to love her space as much as I want others to love theirs!

We agreed on a nice grey for three walls....we used Valspar flat paint.  It works beautifully as a "chalkboard!"  She loves it and she writes her inspiration quotes on it!  

Okay, the mural....there are a several ways to get a mural on a wall.  

If your design element is small enough, you can actually trace it onto the wall by taping sheets of sewing trace paper together.  I like the sewing trace paper because it isn't "messy" and it wipes off easily!

You can free-hand the piece...which I did here....

This is a mural of Mitchell's high school mascot...it is on the garage wall.  There use to be one on his bedroom wall, but I painted over it when I remodeled his room after he went off to collage. (Be prepared to paint several coats of primer over these things when the time comes to paint over them!)  

Or you can use a large "stencil" like Sarah did in my grandson's "Monster" themed game room.  She has a friend who is a graphic designer and they have the machines to print off and cut out large murals...might be worth the money it would cost! 

Or you can use a projector like we did in Katie's room.  In all honesty, the "fail whale" was a tad too big for the size we wanted on the wall, so I projected his head onto the wall to get the scale and then I free-handed the rest.  I made a little cardboard template for the birds and traced them.

Regardless of the method you use to get your design on the wall (templates, tracing paper, projector, free-hand) first paint your base color and allow it to dry well.  Then use a sewing pencil to lightly mark your design and then use latex paint and small brushes to paint the details.  The little "sample pots" of latex paint at Lowes are the PERFECT size for these projects and VERY affordable (around $3 each) when you need several colors!  You can have ANY color mixed in the sample sizes so don't limit yourself to the premix colors! 

Again, murals are a GREAT way to add a huge impact in any room!  You are only limited by your own imagination.   Anything you can think of that you LOVE can be painted on a wall.  

And remember too, there are a LOT of wall mural inspirations on line...Google it!

And the great thing about paint...if you don't like it, paint over it!!!