View Full Version : Murals

10-21-2002, 11:57 PM
Our house is getting some major remodelling and when we move back in in a few months, I want to paint some indoor murals - kitchen and home theater walls, maybe others. However, I'm an oil painter and have only painted on canvas. Can someone give me some basic pointers on wall prep and materials to use? My contractor is about to start rebuilding walls and I need to know before it goes too far if I need to do something different for the mural walls.

I would like to paint in oil paints since I don't care for working with acrylic or water color, but if oil won't work, I can certainly use whatever is necessary.

So my main questions:

1. Can I use oil paints on a wall mural? If so, what kind of wall surface/prep is needed?

2. I've read about using regular latex house paint, but I can't imagine that being much fun unless I'm missing something. Wouldn't that be like painting watercolors on a vertical piece of paper?

Any other advice on getting started would be appreciated!

10-22-2002, 05:20 PM
Hi Randy! Lucky you! All those nice new walls to paint on! :D
I don't know about using oils, but will be glad to share what I know about latex and acrylics.

First, ask the contractors if they can put electrical outlets, switches, thermostats, etc. on walls OTHER than the ones you want to paint.

Tell the contractor you plan to do murals and want a nice smooth surface, no seams or bumps, etc.

Contractors usually use flat paint on walls, because it's cheap and tends to hide seams and bumps. However, it's hard to paint on because it sucks up your paint and makes it look uneven, and you have to keep going back over it.

I prefer to paint on a wall that's been pre-painted with eggshell or satin latex.

You'll find when painting large that it's easier to block in big areas of flat color first, then go back in with shading and details. (see my thread on hotel mural in this forum) Latex is great for this. You can have it mixed to any color you want. I've painted whole murals with red, white, yellow, and blue latex paint, mixing the colors I needed from those primaries. Just have to make sure they mix them pure for you, without too much black!

Latex dries quickly, and a good quality paint will cover without too much going-over.

I use Sherwin-Williams SuperPaint, which is very thick and doesn't drip when you apply it. Don't use cheap, thin runny stuff!

Acrylics mix well with latex paint, so you can do shading and color variations easily.

And there's no long wait for it to dry, and no smelly solvents needed.

Did I convince you? :D If you do use oils, please post your progress pics and tell us what you learn from it!


10-22-2002, 09:31 PM
Thanks for the great info, Ruth! I can't quite say that you convinced me, but at least I'm thinking about acrylics/latex now. Those are some good tips about the switches, outlets, etc. I guess that means I have to actually plan ahead and decide which walls! :)

I love oils, but I did figure that oil painting a mural would take a lot longer than if I used acrylics. But I've also always wanted to paint murals, so I may give the latex/acrylic method a try, since it seems this is the normal method for murals.

I'll have to rethink things. My view of wallpaint is thin runny pale stuff you roll on with a roller and it drips everywhere. I assume that the primary colors you painted from were nice vivid colors like artist paints?

If you didn't cover it in your hotel mural thread (I'm heading there next) can you tell me what you use for brushes and pallette? I have seen your murals in other threads and admire your work. It inspires me.

I use mostly sable brushes with oils so I like the smooth application of slightly thick paint as opposed to bristle and scumbling type application. How does the latex/acrylic go on?

10-22-2002, 10:31 PM
Okay, let's see:

Palette - the top of one of those 10-gallon plastic drums, or an assortment of pie plates or plastic picnic plates, the ones with sections are nice.

2" and 3" Brushes - those $2 el-cheapo ones with blue handles and black bristles. I use those until they lose their shape, but even then they're great for making textures and foliage. If it gets down to where I need a smaller brush for details, I use a 1" el-cheapo. For really fine details, a 1" nylon artist's brush.

Paint - as I said, use a good quality. I've had good results with the Sherwin-Williams satin SuperPaint. It's very thick. You can pour it, but I have some that can be scooped out with a spoon. I had the primary colors mixed to my specifications, as close as I could get to pure colors. Most of their standard colors have white and/or black in them and you have to insist that they not use black. The red and blue have to use what they call a "deep" base, and they're more transparent than the lighter colors which use a white base.

If I'm going to have a large area of a particular color, say blue sky, I will have them mix a quart of that particular shade of blue, and then I can lighten it and add clouds as I go. It stays wet for a few minutes so you can do some blending. If you're a perfectionist, forget it. You gotta be loose. Scumbling is the way to go. (have you ever seen Sargent's paintings up close?) Acrylics can be applied the way you describe, but a wall gets awfully big after you start painting on it, and you will want to use the fastest, easiest way to get the effects you're after.

Now, it may be that you can paint over this with oils and make your perfect blends and shading if that's what you want. As I said, I haven't ever tried to do a mural with oil paints. I've used them as accents on one I did with oil base industrial enamel. But, peew, smelly solvents needed for clean-up!

The best thing you could do would be to get a piece of wallboard, prime it and paint it as if it were an ordinary wall, stand it up somewhere and paint on it. That will give you a better idea of the "feel" of it and the feel of the paints and the techniques.

Hope this helps!

10-23-2002, 01:39 AM
This may help you some. http://www.rexart.com/appmuralprep.html

10-26-2002, 02:33 PM
Thanks, Olan. That's a good link and mentioned some other things I hadn't thought about.

It brings up a question. Apparently, acrylic paint is available in larger sizes, like the 500ml mamerei. What is the advantages of using Sherman Williams over Acrylic, or vice versa?

Thanks for the great info, Ruth. I'm going to give it a try. I'm going to try your idea of getting a piece of wallboard and trying some quick stuff on there to see how it works. But what's your opinion the my question above, acrylic vs. latex?

If I go with latex, how do you have them mix your colors? For instance, would I get the colors together that I'm going to use in a basic pallette, like raw sienna, cad yellow, etc, and have them match them? Then buy a quart of each?

I probably will paint the details with oil once I have a detailed 'underpainting' done with latex/acrylic. I hadn't thought about that. I have painted over several acrylic underpaintings before.

10-28-2002, 03:28 AM
Once again, your best bet would be to try things out on a sample piece before attacking your actual wall. If you're going to do an underpainting to glaze over with oils, any color would do. It gets kind of expensive to buy lots of quarts of latex in every color you might use.

You could get two or three earth tones, light, medium and dark, for an underpainting. Or you could get a dark gray-green and white for a "grisaille" underpainting. I don't work this way, so don't have much advice in that category.

Or you could get three primary colors and white and mix them for a full color underpainting. Analyze your usual painting style and figure out the steps you use.

Or you could just go right in with your acrylics or oils in full color.
I have another mural thread on here somewhere that shows some step-by-step and closeups. I'll see if I can find it, it might help you see what I'm talking about.

Here it is:


09-05-2003, 07:39 AM
Hi Randy

... Ruth it was nice to follow this thread, so many good informations. :)

I did some mural a 2 years ago and had no knowledge and experience. I wish I knew WC in those times. I had only some poor technological idea of classical fresco, which is too difficult, specialy for client who wants to have his mural as soon as possible and of course it should be for some people very expensive technique. Happily many friends helped me to research about technology.
Acrylic colors are really good choice. Please, I know oils are lovely colors, but it doesn't work on the wall. All the oils and mediums don't allow wall to breath, so it can crack soon. One my follow artist here who painted only with oils did it and it wasn't very good choice. Even technicaly. :-)
May be you will find something helpfull in the technology I used :)
I have used acrylic colors . Surface need to be well pripared, so if you have chance you have to speak with workers who will do it and may be add light layer with "mramor powder" (I dont know english name for that, but comonly it's used for pripering layers of fresco) Than I covered wall by papers and did all sketch directly on wall by natural coal, main lines perfored and put coal inside donts (so when I uncovered paper, I have dotted lines of main object) I left some parts of sketch, cut other and used that as mask, when I later took acrylic decorative sprays in cans and sprayed background as in airbrush. I remember I sadly bought one which wasn't mat but shinning and than area sprayed with that was too smooth. So it would be better to do some tests or just take big brush :-) and don't be a bit lazy like me. The rest of mural was painted by classical acrylic colors. I was mainly painting with watercolors or oils, so acrylic technique was a kind of challenge for me and it wasnt easy to work with that. Acryls always seemed to me a bit unfriendly medium, but for this it was only choice. I had to paint only during opening of Restaurant when they hired me and I couldn't imagine any other medium which would be so scentless, wall friendly and easy together, which I should easily use dancing between guests :D :D :evil:

10-15-2003, 04:06 PM
I have a question?
I've heard about something called "Mural Board"
Does anyone know what it is? I asked at the local art supply store, but they just gave me a blank stare....

I'm wondering also--can you do a mural on pre-primed canvas and then attach it as though it was wallpaper? It seems to me that if I'm going to spend enough time painting a mural, I should make it so that it can be moved if needed in the future?
or do you think that's a bad idea?

I, too am more of a fan of oils than acrylics. I'm thinking that if it was painted on a canvas and then attached to the wall somehow, it would solve the problem? or am I way off base?

10-17-2003, 03:16 PM
Hi Pink,

I have not heard of mural board. I have heard of a special grade plywood that can be used for outdoor murals, but not suitable for interiors. You can certainly paint murals on canvas, I am working on one right now infact. They way you go about it depends on the size. I am painting a trompe l'oeil stone archway, about 4x6ft, that will be contour cut and sealed when finished, then installed to the wall with heavy wallpaper paste. If you want to paint a full size mural on canvas there is a lot more invovled. You can staple plastic to your working wall, then your canvas over that and paint it. Installing it is another ballgame, getting it level, pushing out bubbles, and trimming the edges(sometimes they are covered with molding). Then the real kicker is that there is no garauntee that you will be able to get it down when you want to move it. There is a good chance you could damage the wall, even if the paste is strippable, but then it really all depends on the substrate. The biggest advantage to painting a mural on canvas is that it is less intrusive to the client, and you can paint when you want, in your pajamas at 2 am if you are so inclined! I use acrylics for all my murals. I have heard of others using oils with success for canvas murals though. Pre-primed canvas is fine, though I put another coat on to get it tight. There are some canvas distributors that cater to muralists who need 8ft+ widths. E-mail me if you need more info. Hope this helps! :)

10-28-2003, 04:26 PM
Hi Randy...I have only a noe time experience with painting on brand new walls and using OILS.
I painted acrylic gesso (liquitex) that I applied with a roller over a wall that had been sheetrocked, skim coated and then painted with latex wall paint.

the gesso went right over the wall paint dried for several days... and the oil paint went on without a hitch!

It looks good and there was no separation from the wall at all.
I don't see a problem as long as all the coats (wall paint and gesso) are dried well between coats.

11-05-2003, 09:59 PM
Thanks for the info on your experience, Joy! Sounds promising. Life has gotten in the way of my starting, but soon I hope to get to work on it and that sounds like a simple method to try. Painting on canvas and attaching it sounds interesting also. I would really like to avoid using acrylics if I can, but I'm not sure I'll be able to.

One good point is that if I get commissions for painting murals, the smell of the oils would definitely be a disadvantage, especially if it's a restaurant. The canvas idea would work well if the canvas can really be attached well to the wall. If I use this option, how would I find canvas big enough for a mural - say, 8x10 feet?

Everyone else had good information too. Maybe I should just bite the bullet and use acrylics. Decisions, decisions...

11-06-2003, 08:02 AM
Hi Randy,
You can order mural canvas from art suppliers. You may have to go to the manufacturers or special-order from retailer. I can't remember now where I got mine, but I had mural canvas that was 12 x 60 feet, years ago when I was first starting out.

It wasn't primed. I put it on stretchers, I think the size of the mural was 10 x 20 feet. It felt like a sail, heavy and floppy, and I was scared to death. But I started rolling gesso on it, and it tightened up like a drum. Whew!


11-08-2003, 02:26 PM
The best price I have found on pre stretched gesso'd canvas is Dick Blicks. It was nice quality...I used it for floor cloths. I also found rolls of gesso'd canvas at Michael's craft store. They were about $70 and I think it was about 15' long, 6 ft wide (???).

11-09-2003, 11:45 PM
Try www.IndianaCoatedFabrics.com, they have artist's chambric and polyflax canvas, and will customize to pretty much any size you need. If you're not sure what type you want, they can mail you some samples. Good Luck:)

03-30-2004, 09:16 PM
So if a person glues unprimed canvas directly to a wall ... it may shrink? Would you advise priming the canvas (or using a pre-primed canvas) to glue to a wall?

Great info in this thread, thanks!

06-16-2004, 08:50 PM
Hi Everyone...I might have some answers for you. The majority of my income is made from murals that I do strictly in oils on mural canvas, attached to the walls, or done in oils painted straight onto the drywall. I don't use acrylics, so that's an approach I never use. I use oils because I can still achieve a degree of luminousity that is harder to get with acrylics.

For mural canvas I use polyflax, which is a 50/50 cotton synthetic blend that comes by the roll in different widths. The beauty of this blend is it does not shrink when you apply it to the wall (like a heavy fabric wallpaper). Linen and pure cotton canvas, even primed, will shrink by quite a bit. I buy mine from www.lakearts.com in Flowery Branch Ga. Ask for Narda...she is the owner and used to work for Tara canvas.

I approach the murals on canvas in a slightly different way from painting plein air or straight canvas painting. With murals on canvas 2 points are of concern...1 is keeping the canvas flexible, which means thinner paint and 2..is keeping the drying time to a minimum.

I tone the canvas first with a very thin wash of paint mixed with mineral spirits. (odorless). I let that dry for 2-3 days. If you try to paint on it sooner the paint will lift. Next I sketch in the drawing with a hog bristle round using the same mix of colors I used on the toning..like raw sienna with a dab of violet. That way if I choose to correct the drawing and rub it out it blends into the background toning.

Then I block in the painting with very thin paint (using NO whites) in a mostly monochromatic tone. I use little bits of colors. I'm still using only thin paint with mineral spirits. This will be dry the next day, especially if you keep a fan going to help dry it.

Then the mid tones and the lights go on using more paint but thinned with a dab of liquin. The liquin acts as a drier and makes wonderful glazes.

Lastly I put in the lights using whatever white (permalba) I need. I still keep it thin. If I want thicker lights and whites I do it after installation.

I let it dry. For transport I roll it up on a tube and have a professional wall paper person hang it.
If I 'm using oils straight onto drywall for murals, I approach it like a watercolor. The base layer I use very thin paint with mineral spirits ,b ut I'm careful to not need to erase. The next layers I use more paint thinned with Liquin. It dries overnite.

I don't have any examples of straight onto drywall on my website, but I could scan something if someone wants an example. I personally think murals on canvas are the way to go, cause I like doing the work in my own space! There are 3-4 examples on my website under murals if anyone wants to see. They were all done on canvas and installed on site. Some rolled and flown to a job. So...I say GO FOR THE OILS!!!! :clap:

06-17-2004, 12:13 AM
Upside, downside, inside, outside :)

The upside to using oils is that they are durable, they resist finger prints, scratches etc and are PERFECT for high traffic areas and clean up really nice. Remember, the very best primers are oil based anyway.

The downside to oils, none if you are use to using them.

Personally...I would do a very large canvas, maybe a few in series, and hang them. My second choice would be canvas and attach it. Be wary of painting directly on the wall. The wall can take it without a problem but murals are hard to paint over, you may sell the house one day, if you redecorate, etc etc etc. By making the mural movable, you can do all of these things and still have your artwork safe and sound.

06-17-2004, 10:07 AM
Wow. I feel a little late joining this thread, but I'll put in my two cents.

I'm an oil painter who began in acrylics. I see the consern with house paint running down the wall. I too have painted with watercolor on a vertical surface.. yeah, all I can say is that I understand.

However, it takes practice to control the paint, as with in any medium. I'm a thick acrylic painter and it took some getting use to.

The best advice I can give you if you decide to give the house paint a go (which I recommend!) is plan AHEAD! Plan the colors and layer. Do the large areas first. Paint in as much solid color as you can to begin with, and then go back and blend areas. That process works the best for me, and it gives you can idea very early on how things are going to work compositionally and if and where you need to alter thing. Take it slow, and just watch for drips! :)

My murals are on my website. :D

06-18-2004, 05:32 PM
Just a note:

I buy OOPS! paint at the paint stores for $1.00 a quart. I check for the best paints.
I buy the colors I can mix with my acrylics. Today, I found dark green, yellow and off white.
If it is a basic color, I buy a gallon which is $3.00.
This does save on the cost.
If I get a drip I wipe with a damp cloth. If I miss one and it dries, lightly sand and repaint that area.
I painted a mural with oils on primed and gessoed plywood. That was 30 years ago and it looks the same today. It has two coats of sealer as it was the dining room wall near the kitchen.

Lots of ways to save money. Thanks for all the hints and help found on this site.


06-21-2004, 09:40 PM
Patsy - That was great info! Believe it or not, we are still staring at blank walls here. :) But I think I'm about to start and sounds like the oil on canvas idea may be the way I go with it - at least for my first attempt.

After you attach the canvas to the wall, I suspect it is permanent? In other words, once it's up, I'm assuming it can't be taken down and moved?

I've never rolled up one of my paintings. How thin does the paint have to be to be rolled up? If it's thick enough for brushstrokes to show up is that too thick?

Which oil paints do you use? I'm sure my brands bought in little tubes would be way too expensive to use for a mural.

I hope you don't mind me asking more questions as I start planning for my mural.

06-21-2004, 10:00 PM
Hey Randy....Ask away, it's no problem. Everything I know I learned by picking brains, or making mistakes!

First question.....one of the selling points I use in getting clients to choose a mural on canvas vs. painting it directly on the wall, is it's ability to be removed. When I bid a job, I disclaim the hanging, and have a pro wallpaper hanger do the job, making sure to tell them, it needs to be strippable. So...consider or think of the canvas like a heavy fabric wallpaper when it's hung. The wall needs to be smooth, not textured, and it needs to be oil primed, the same as for wallpaper.

As to rolling up the canvas....my mural style is thin and done in layers of glazes, which are still flexible and I've never had one crack. If I wish to add passages of thick white or more opaque areas of paint, it's best to do so after it's hung. I put down the canvas wash, the block in, the design in very thin paint thinned with mineral spirits or turpenoid. The middle layer I might add a drop or two of liquin if I want to glaze over or tone down an area. The final layer, or lighter, more opaque areas, I use more straight paint but not as thick as one would do a plein air or stretched canvas painting. It dries faster and makes it better for rolling.

When I"m done painting and the canvas is dry...usually I keep a ceiling or floor fan going on it....I get a carpet tube or old canvas roll that is a bit longer than the width of the mural canvas and roll it up. I always over paint the area by a few inches to allow for any wiggle in the wall. The paperhanger then can whack off any extra bits. The main thing is to never FOLD it or allow a wrinkle in the canvas.

As to brand of paints....you would be amazed how little paint you will use doing oils thinly on canvas. I use a lot of ragging with a soft t shirt rag on the bottom layers to spread the paint. I like Holbein, Old Holland and Windsor Newton because of the great transparent colors and the saturation of paint. Student grade paints I stay away from because you end up using thicker and more paint to get to the same color a smaller amount of a good paint will give you.

If I could make one important suggest...it would be to make a drawing to scale of the wall and do a pencil sketch to scale, before you decide what size canvas you need and measure twice before you cut the canvas. I just pin mine to the wall and paint it while tacked to the wall. When it's dry, it's good to go to its new home.!! :D :D

09-02-2004, 03:35 PM
How do you estimate the amount of paint you will need for a mural project?

I'm doing a small bathroom in an ocean theme.

10-04-2004, 01:36 PM
Thanks for the info on your experience, Joy! Sounds promising. Life has gotten in the way of my starting, but soon I hope to get to work on it and that sounds like a simple method to try. Painting on canvas and attaching it sounds interesting also. I would really like to avoid using acrylics if I can, but I'm not sure I'll be able to.

One good point is that if I get commissions for painting murals, the smell of the oils would definitely be a disadvantage, especially if it's a restaurant. The canvas idea would work well if the canvas can really be attached well to the wall. If I use this option, how would I find canvas big enough for a mural - say, 8x10 feet?

Everyone else had good information too. Maybe I should just bite the bullet and use acrylics. Decisions, decisions...
they have a wide variety of artist canvas, wide width in primed and unprimed...the largest width in 12 oz canvas is 144" wide and tha'ts unprimed and they have 6 yard and 12 yard rolls i think...very good selection and price hope this helps

12-23-2004, 04:00 PM
So my main questions:
1. Can I use oil paints on a wall mural? If so, what kind of wall surface/prep is needed?
2. I've read about using regular latex house paint, but I can't imagine that being much fun unless I'm missing something. Wouldn't that be like painting watercolors on a vertical piece of paper?

Any other advice on getting started would be appreciated![/QUOTE]
1. Sure why not. I know several people who have used oil. As long as wall and environment support the longevity you are looking for, it should work. Gesso or undercoater (alkyd) should be suitable. Letyour contractor know that you plan to paint in oil so that the proper undercoater can be applied to your wall. High pH wall surfaces (certain plasters) can cause problems, including saponification, so proper primer/undercoater on surface is important. If you can afford slower dry times, why not go for it?
Be careful about varnishing clear acrylic varnish over oil. You may be in for some surprises.

2. Regular latex house paint (as you define it) is generally thicker and more viscous than watercolor. It is designed to cling to vertical surfaces. Assuming you choose this as your choice paint, it should work well. Your choice of saturated colors may be limited. Acrylic mural paints might be a better choice if working in high chroma saturated colors.

12-23-2004, 04:50 PM
I painted a mural 8x10 on a plywood wall. Gesso twice. Once up and down and once across. I painted with oil. It is still there and looks the same. 20 years ago.

I painted a mural with acrylics over a wall painted with acrylic inside house paint. I bought house paint and used it along with my acrylics in a tube.

So much can be painted with white so I used the 1.00 can I bought from Home Depot. I just mixed my colors into the white or cream or brown as needed.

My "Finding Nemo" was done this way. It is holding up well. Don't know what it will look like in 20 years.


12-24-2004, 06:31 AM
oils are by far the most durable and colorfast. Do you plan on it being around in 20 years or is it a childs room that will get painted again in a couple of years as they grow up? The intended Longevity of the mural should be your main consideration.

02-26-2005, 11:05 AM
I am an oil painter and have thus far stuck with stretched canvas and board, consigned to galleries. However, I have been approached recently through one of my galleries about the possibility of recreating one of my landscape paintings as a mural in a private residence.

I much prefer oils on a large scale to acrylic or other mediums, and would need to paint in my studio rather than inside the buyer's home, so this topic and all of the tips have been invaluable to me.

What I am wondering now is, if I were to do this, how would I charge? My really large paintings seem to be selling for more than what I have seen other people offer for their murals, though I could be wrong about this. My initial thought was to charge more for this than my usual fee, since it is a specialty item that I normally don't do, and can't easily consign to a gallery (without restretching it and adding more paint, and even then the canvas would need to be a standard size that I could frame).

But then from what I am reading you do use less paint, though I'd have to buy specialty mural canvas for this one. So I am not sure what to do, other than just trying to steer them towards commissioning a large painting first. But if that is a no go and they want a mural, could I charge enough to make it worth my time? My 48x60 painting sells for $7000 but I rarely offer those, thus far generally sticking to the 36x48, 30x40 size. Is this pricing out of the question for a mural or is there no hard and fast rule?

Also, do you request deposits and are they non-refundable, partially refundable, or 100% refundable? Again, will probably try to sell them a stretched painting commission first, but want to be prepared if they have their heart set on a mural.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions!
Best wishes,

06-07-2005, 08:24 AM
Hi! I have painted several murals in my home in oils. But notice I said "my home". I found it wonderful to work with. Most of these murals included elaborate skies and I swear, I cannot make my clouds look right in any other medium.

I think it's ok to use oils, provided nobody minds the odor which only persists while you are painting!


06-07-2005, 10:05 AM
"What I am wondering now is, if I were to do this, how would I charge?
Also, do you request deposits and are they non-refundable, partially refundable, or 100% refundable? Again, will probably try to sell them a stretched painting commission first, but want to be prepared if they have their heart set on a mural."[I][QUOTE]

If the style and detail you are planing to use is similar to your other paintings, you should charge the same. Consider painting on plywood, masonite, or large stretched canvas that will match the size of the wall mural. This way you could paint in your studio and transport it to jobsite when completed. You could even do it in pieces and assemble it onsite. This will also allow your customer to move the painting should they ever decide that it goes with them if they move. Most murals tend to consist of less detail than a painting and you could justify less cost by eliminating some detail. Acrylics dry faster and also allow the artist to work quicker onsite. If you are painting on their walls, I would not offer 100% refundable. A rendering of the mural might be in order. Sell or keep the rendering as an additional art piece. This way you customer will get a chance to see the work before tackling the larger piece.

07-20-2005, 11:47 PM
Hello, i just thought i would show you what i painted my room like, because it is a fairy mural/forest. it took me 2 weeks to finish the whole room, but really all i used was little cans of house paints (i bought the kids painting set for rooms at walmart) and i also used some basic acrlycs. this is what my room turned out to look like:
hope that helps you out some!

04-12-2006, 11:01 AM
This thread is several years old and I enjoyed rereading it again.
Thought I would share my basics too as we seem to be getting many new mural questions each month.

I paint all my indoor murals with acrylics and latex house paint. I have always used Delta Ceramcoat or Liquitex paints but have recently begun adding GOLDEN to my paint collection and love them!!
I prefer the bottles but I know others who prefer the tubes. I also use a glazing medium if I need to make them flow even more or if I am painting on a wall that is very absorbent. I have painted canvasses for clients but they are framed. I have never painted any murals to date on canvas. I am able to use acrylic with water and get a watercolor effect even on walls (see the thread on Tie Dye for an example). I paint directly onto the walls whether the texture is smooth or textured. Sometimes the texture create very interesting looks!

If the paint on the wall is old, I either charge the homeowner to repaint it or ask them to do it. Any shade of white is a fine backdrop for most full murals but when the painting will be more "here and there" they may want a yellow wall, pink, blue...whatever goes with the theme.

I use inexpensive brushes...some smaller chip brushes from the hardware store and then detailed ones from the art supply store or sections of craft stores. Don't use expensive brushes on walls unless you absolutely must as the walls tear them up.

I use every recycled thing I come across for my palettes...TV dinner trays, yogurt cups, lids from coffee mate....you name it, it's in my possession. But I also love the plastic cupcake style pans when my palette consists of less than 9 colors.

I paint right on freshly painted concrete, wood, stuccoo....and use only exterior paints. I have, in the past, used craft paints but I can't know if they will hold up for as long. I painted an outdoor fireplace 6 years ago and it still looks great...all with Delta ceramcoat. But these days it's all exterior flat paint.

If you search the various threads on this forum, you will see many, many murals by all of us!

08-16-2006, 06:27 PM
FINALLY, Something I KNOW something about. Hi Randy. I have painted murals for indoor and out and I can tell you from 13 years of experience YOU can paint on ANYTHING! I painted this mural on my outside shed door.


I sealed it with a clear acrylic sealer. It's been outside for 6 years now and the only problem I seem to be having with it is the color yellow is fading.

As for painting inside, I, like Ruth, Becky and the others use a combination of latex and acrylics. Though you can use oils on top of acrylics if you want to get a more "natural/realistic" feel to your mural. However, **you CANNOT use acrylics on top of oils** It won't adhear.

Since you have new construction going on, I would also suggest you have your base coat painted a white satin or eggshell. Because flat WILL suck up paint like a sponge! I'm having a horrid "flash-back" of learning this lesson the hard way!

As for what latex to purchase that's up to you. I, personally, hit the "dead paint" section of all the local home improvement stores. I buy basics like, brown, beige, blue, burgandy, etc. and then I buy a gallon of white satin and mix it (and some of my artists acrylics) to get my desired color for the large areas I will be painting (i.e. sky, greens, trees, etc.) Then for details such as birds, flowers, whatever, I use straight acrylics.

I agree with you...painting with oils is like using margarine. Whereas painting with acrylics is like using cold butter! However, in the interest of time-is-money one has to go with the latex/acrylic combo!

08-26-2006, 01:15 AM
This looks so neat! Can you show it to us bigger?

08-26-2006, 01:18 PM
No problem. Here it is the link: http://www.eclecticwonders.net/artwork/Trompe_Loeil/garden_door.jpg

08-26-2006, 04:24 PM
Robin.......I love this! Thanks for showing it to us big! May I copy the idea?

08-28-2006, 11:27 PM
Wow ruth i like your work and i live in georgetown s.c i'll have to stop by and see your place

10-05-2006, 08:02 AM
Hi all, really need some help from you guys out there. I've never painted a mural before and have done only a few experiments in oil on canvas. But i just got a new home and is really eager to try my hands at mural on a small corner of my wall. :D
Would like to know if its ok to use permanent black marker for the mural? Was thinking of doing some pop art thingy with bright colors and a black outline. I thot using an ink marker is easiest for the outline.. but will it look wierd? should i stick to using black paint for the outline?:confused:

10-05-2006, 10:08 AM
Welcome Affinity!
The permanet marker has a bit of shine to it but I did this once! And if it begins to fade you can go over it again.
There are also paint pens out there...check www.DickBlick.com or your local craft store.

10-05-2006, 04:36 PM
Marker is a real pain to paint over in the future. Paint pens are like markers only filled with paint and are available all over. Walmart usually has a selection in the art/craft section, other places like Michaels and JoAnnes have a larger variaty.. good luck on your project!

10-10-2006, 02:52 AM
Hi! hey thanks becktoria and dreamz. :) i'll go look for paint pens. didnt know such things existed. haha.

10-10-2006, 09:33 AM
I love paint pens and am going to try them on the stone I do next time!

10-19-2006, 05:48 PM
....so let's use it for questions and so forth!:)

10-19-2006, 05:58 PM
Cool! :D

11-18-2006, 03:24 PM
I am an oil painter.

I sketched a scene on my dining room wall 5 years ago.

Today I bought the paint, latex. Never used it as fine art.

I am so glad I found this thread.
I am scared to start this but this thread has given me the knowledge and courage to move on... that along with my husband telling me "paint the mural or paint the wall one color".
It will make interesting conversation for Thanksgiving dinner, and hopefully will be done by Christmas!

11-18-2006, 04:05 PM
WELCOME to our forum!
We are all really friendly and more than happy to help you...so ask away if you need any help!

11-18-2006, 08:18 PM
My Brother-in-Law is in your area. Beautiful there! Anway Welcome!

I did the same thing in my dining room, and got it started, then ran out of time and it sat for a couple months, hubby finally talked me into painting over it.

Would love to see photos of it!


11-19-2006, 11:23 AM
Thanks Deb and Beck,
I am starting it today. I will try and report my progress, good or bad!

11-30-2006, 01:38 PM
Unfortunately I haven't had enough time to work on this but I wanted to show you all where I am starting.

The photo is what I am trying to emulate. It is my backyard all lit up at night.
In our dining room we have 2 niches, which we would like to make look like 2 windows looking out at our back yard at night.

I am now just getting use the the latex paint (it dries fast) and the mixing of colors and then blocking in the big stuff.

I made a big mistake of having my colors mixed BEFORE I read the advice here and using very little white base. My colors are too muted, BUT I think I will use them as the base and add acrylic to the latex to darken and also add it straight on top f the latex.

It has potential.


12-01-2006, 12:28 AM
Your back yard is fabulous and what you are creating looks great! I can tell you are a skilled artist. Can't wait to see more.

12-01-2006, 12:51 PM
Yikes, these niches are 3 feet x 5 feet each, painting on a ladder... what did I get myself into.
I have so much respect for all muralists, I am not worthy!

12-01-2006, 10:06 PM
It looks to me like you are! :) Looks great, it will be so beautiful!

12-02-2006, 12:06 AM
I think they look AWESOME! And no wonder you want that scene in them...what an amazing back yard! If mine looked like that I believe Id cut a whole in the side of my house to see it, hahah. Your idea is more fun though and it looks great already. Cant wait to see it all done!

12-11-2006, 05:53 PM
Here is an update on my progress:
Thanksgiving and the kids being home put a little damper on my art time.

This is only a combined few-hours of work, but I think I have a handle on it now and it should go by quicker.



12-11-2006, 10:48 PM
looking GREAT!!

12-31-2006, 10:28 AM
Have you tried adding Golden Glaze Medium to your latex? It'll blend much more easily and dry a lot slower.

01-01-2007, 09:13 AM
This reply was originally posted by Ruth in response to a New Thread question. I thought it would be helpful to have it here as well.

Re: Adhering Canvas to a Wall

Hi Buff,
I've done this a couple of times with large canvases, like 9x18 feet! I swore I'd never do it again. It would be worth it to get help from someone who knows what he's doing!

If you are going to try it yourself, here's how I did it. Don't try this by yourself, get some extra hands.

Mark a line on the vertical center of the wall space and on the back of the canvas. For a long thin one like this, you might want to also mark several more lines for alignment. Place the canvas face-up and roll it up from each end toward the center. Use heavy-duty wallpaper paste, and roll it on the wall with a paint roller, making sure you have good even coverage. Start at the center and go a little way each direction. Align the center line of the canvas with the center line on the wall, and use a staple gun to tack the canvas in place top and bottom. Smooth from center outwards, being careful not to stretch the canvas too much, and tack it at top and bottom as you go. Continue to work outward. Tack it loosely because you may need to make adjustments as you come to the next alignment marks.

I hope this convinces you to hire a professional!


01-24-2007, 12:15 PM
I'm currently working on a couple of sketches for children's rooms and I'd like some C&C on them. Keep in mind these are just sketches and aren't the finals. Also, they will be stretched out on walls approximately, 14 x 8. THANX~Robin

For a nursery:



Young girl:


Young boy:


I thought about doing Batman or Spiderman, but I don't know if they're as much of a problem as using Disney characters. I'm looking into the rules/cost of becoming a licensed user of copyrighted characters.

01-24-2007, 01:05 PM
Those are ADORABLE!! I particularly love the swirly clouds in sun/moon theme.

01-24-2007, 02:08 PM
These are great Robin! Watch out from what I hear Disney is very hard on people that copy their characters.

01-24-2007, 04:00 PM
Very fun Robin....use your own ideas...they can buy thsoe wallies if they want Disney!
I love the second one best too!!!

01-24-2007, 05:55 PM
Thanx Laurie, Deb & Becky. I think you misunderstood me. Spiderman has been pretty popular lately and I've seen some other artists' paint Spidy murals and I thought it would be neat to do him. And I was just wondering out-load if whoever owns the Marvel Comic Book characters where as greedy and selfish as Disney. :p

01-24-2007, 08:57 PM
ah, I get it.

01-24-2007, 10:11 PM
haha Robin! I have to admit Ive painted the disney princesses for a client friend of mine. I did a little justification in my mind because they went out and bought literally hundreds of dollars of matching Disney memorabilia and decor items to match the mural, so Disney got their fair share and some. I couldve talked her into something else and Disney wouldve got NOTHING!! So there!

01-24-2007, 10:21 PM
From what I understand you could paint it for yourself or maybe a friend, but you can't make $$ on their charaters.

Oh I see what you mean Robin! :)

02-04-2007, 08:11 PM
Hey Everyone..
I'm new Here But I enjoyed reading this Thread.
I have a Question.
I need to paint a detailed Mural on the walls of a Bathroom and it has just been painted in eggshell water base paint.

I've used Acrylics on my murals before, However this time I want to use Oil , Because I'm used to painting with oil.

So My question is.

-What type of Primer can I use on the walls that are painted with Water base paint ( Note: I'll use oil paint) ?

-What type of Sealer can I use to protect the Pianting?
- Also If you have any Tips about painting murals with oil.

Please I need an advice as soon as possible.


02-05-2007, 08:55 AM
I have never painted with oils on walls but hopefully someone will be able to answer this question. They take so much longer to dry....

02-05-2007, 11:40 AM
Bella, I've only used oils on canvas. So with that said, I would think that you can use Gesso directly on the wall over the eggshell paint. (Why NOT gesso is used on board?) As for sealer, you would just use the same varnish that you would on a canvas oil painting.

However, my question for you is: Do you really want to use oils in a small room such as a bathroom? Unless there is a window you can open it will take days (if not longer) for the odor to disipate. Not to mention the lengthy drying time. Which could be a problem if the room is used often.

02-05-2007, 11:41 AM
P.S. I think Doc mentioned once some new oil paints that have come out that are low odor.

DOC........YOU OUT THERE?????

02-05-2007, 09:12 PM
Thank u so much Robin.. Well it's just because this is a Detailed Painting that Involves Victorian Cherubs so I have more experience painting with oils.:)

02-05-2007, 09:31 PM
Admittedly not an oils expert here... only took my first oil painting workshop this past fall. But I wonder if the Cobalt dryer I used for the workshop would help speed up the drying time? I could see how oils would be more comfortable for you if you're used to them... Though I think you'd be better off with acrylics for this... they really aren't THAT much different, just dry superfast, so you might want to use a retarder or slow dry medium...

I can't figure out why you would really need to base the walls first..? You can paint oils over acrylic. Maybe just a light sanding if you're worried about adhesion? Again, no expert.. jmho... :D

Would love to see what you come up with regardless of medium!!


02-06-2007, 12:32 AM
Michele is right . presumably the walls are painted with acrylic wall paint so you can just start !!
Oil paints themselves do NOT have much smell anyway and its the turps that smells. I NEVER use ANYTHING but ODORLESS solvent and mediums !
Just go for it !:clap:

02-06-2007, 09:33 PM
Hey, good point, Maria... though I do notice a smell to oils. Can't say it's a BAD smell, but I do notice it. Some like it, can't say whether I do or not. But that's true about the turps... you don't even NEED to use turps if you know the alternatives.

02-14-2007, 02:33 PM
I just went to one of my old threads, and found some information Becky posted that I feel belongs here, so I'm going to try to put it in here....

The time was six years ago. I remember vividly when I was painting a doctors office with all the patients watching for three weeks. A patient asked me what I charged. Stutter stutter stutter... She sort of walked away, I lost an opportunity and felt like a complete idiot. No professional artist in that room that morning!
I knew I needed to revamp my answer to show confidence. At the time I mumbled something about "it depends on the detail and the size." Well, as true as that is, put yourself in the prospective clients shoes....she wants an amount to see if she can afford you! I did not seize the opportunity! I knew better than that! In my mind, art was fun so why should I get paid so much?

Same doctors office the same day, same question, my same answer and stutter stutter stutter, gasp choke.... I was now realizing I really needed to find a better answer! The woman was one of those awesome people that change your life forever. She looked me in the eye and said (close recall) "God has blessed you with a rare talent. Most people don't even know how to even hold a paint brush let alone use paint. Lawyers bill at absorbent prices, my doctor charges $80 to simply walk into the room. Never think you are not worth every penny you charge...you provide something your clients can't do for themselves and it is a lasting product. And art is joy!"

After she left the waiting room, I went to the bathroom and wept with gratitude.

She hired me despite my lack of boldness....and is still using me and referring clients to me! And while a lawyer may or may not bring joy, a teacher may or may not bring joy and a sales assistant may or may not bring joy, we can!!!
We are JOY PROVIDERS!!!:clap:

When I go buy a couch they have a set price. I can decide if I want that one or one that is less "detailed". So I spent the entire weekend talking to my family and practicing on them. I was always mentally thinking "I don't have a Fine ARTS Degree"....and still have that inner voice that tries to cause ruckus but I learned to squelch it. I wanted a fast answer that I could have easily on the tip of my tongue. I have changed the amount I charge over the years but today I reply, boldly, "My murals start at $500 and go up from there, depending how much detail you want to have added to your room".

I give ownership to the client (your room) and give my truthful price. Sometimes they will ask "But what if it's a very small little decoration?" Then I start a real conversation, find out what they need etc. I will paint something for half that price sometimes when it is indeed a three hour project and I get the rest of the day to go on consultations.

We have all been gifted with the blessing of painting and we are indeed artists! I am in awe of each of you that I have been blessed to know here on WC...you teach me SO MUCH!!!! You are talented artists...your are providing joy!

End of Becky's little soap box sermon, sent with love
"have brush, will travel"

02-14-2007, 04:51 PM
AH ok we have BECKY to thank for that !!:clap: :clap: THANKYOU AGAIN !!

02-14-2007, 07:58 PM
Yeah, sorry to post it in two places, but I didn't know which place was more appropriate.. and it's such great info! Since I finally found it again, I didn't want to lose track of it again!


03-03-2007, 12:39 AM
Hi Randy, :clap: I have done murals, faux techniques and trompe'oeil...never been paid as I did them for friends and relations...which I had to stop doing cause honestly I felt I could have been paid something..even it they would have bought me some paints and brushes as a thank you gift would have been nice. I did one for my son's best friend's mom in return she was suppose to make me a webpage..I did the mural but she never did her part...infact she never stayed in touch then a year after..spring break, she called to see if I could go over and help her with another wall...I said I can't and would help her if she needed advice by just calling me...she never called again. Alot of people stopped calling when I said I wasn't doing anymore freebies.
So I don't work in oils...I used house paints or little bottles of acrylic. You can mix minwax polycrylic in the paint too if you need it to be washable or just seal the surface with non yellowing matte varnish...I use the fast drying no odor one.

This is what I have done...First I make a sketch of what I want...then with a card stock...or even paper will do...I do each wall allowing space where the windows, doorway, closets are...then either tape or fold the walls so it looks like a little room..Gives an idea of what it will look like so you can move items..you can colour it in too if you want...
If the walls are new you can add tint to the primer as you seal it so the basecoat will be on..You might have to do 2 coats for a even coat..but up to you as it depends on what your design is..Or prime it in all white then when dried add your base colour. If the walls are old I wash with a degreaser to make sure no greasy spots are there..
I usually have a can of white house paint and add either tint if I have a big area of one colour like the sky or grass...or add from the little acrylic bottles...
If I'm sketching a design, I use a water colour pencil so it disappears with the paint.
I save all my old brushes cause they still make bushes etc.
I save the styrofoam meat trays for pouring paint into, or styrofoam soup or coffee cups, plastic pudding cups are good too. Masking tape can be taped in side..say dividing the tray in half so you can put 2 shades of paint..also if you call it a day...and have paint left in trays...you can wrap in plastic wrap (saran wrap) for the neat day...also wrap the brush too.
I have a plastic ladle from the dollar store so I don't have to pour from the can. Also put waxed paper..cut round to fit inside the can of paint to keep it from getting a skin on the surface if you are not using it. I like making a few holes with a nail around the can of paint so the paint drips back in too.
If you have an area where you need extra play time then mix some glaze into it...either half/half or 1part to 3 parts...read the label...
When using a sea sponge and have an old T-shirt on hand...make it fit the palm of your hand..taking the ends under till it's like a puff...then once you dab with the sea sponge ..making sure you take off any excess by dabbing the sponge on a clean part of the tray or paper towel.....so you don't get big blobs..gently dab the shirt on the paint and blend it till it fades or keep adding more paint for the look you want...Sponge has to rotate so you don't get the same design...and the shirt has to be redone so you don't get a big spot.
I like painting over the lightswitches so they blend into the design..same as the floor boards..it's just me but seeing beautiful murals and they seem to be floating above the floor boards cause they are left white..ruins the effect..same as the light switches...they need to be painted so they don't take the attention away from the mural. That's my opinion though.

During your painting...step away..leave the room and come back and see it with fresh eyes...you will notice places in need of touchups..etc..
Once you add your shadows and highlights...and you are happy with it..then seal it.
I am sure I have more suggestions but seeing the time I have to go up...We had over 30 inches of snow today and once my son shovelled but during the day I found myself shoveling..3 times in all...Son wanted to wait till it stopped snowing but I know it is soooo much easier doing it in turns..so you don't have the 30 inches but say every 10 inches or so to push out...at a time...cause it is a long pathway. Well Have to go for now...hope I didn't confuse you.. my pics are at http://www.picturetrail.com/eggnshells :wave: Frankie

03-03-2007, 09:46 AM
Hi I know of the artist board that art suppliers have...they sell in small sizes...I forget the real name for it but if you know of or seen the pegboard...it's brown with holes... it's the same material. The art supply store told me to buy from Reno Depot etc...cause I needed big panels. My brother used it all the time...(way before I tried picking up a brush)
There is another material called Dibond..if anyone has seen
Eric Grohe's work..he uses the stuff. http://www.ericgrohemurals.com/

You can read up on it or email for more info at..


There is panels that are white...In Quebec they use it for election signs..the ones that go up on poles...they have styrofoam in the middle with paper on both sides...I have seen it in Reno Depot and other renovating places..4'x8' and are thin...
Infact it made the news after the election the posters are taking down by artists who reuse it by painting over the pic...this stuff is good for any kind of weather..as we have elections in winter or summer..and the posters stay intact no matter what....I always wanted to try it..not gluing it to walls though..maybe buy wood..like 1"x2"...put on wall every 4'...nail the panel on then paint..or nail right on the wall and use the same wood on top and bottom to secure it..blending it in the design..so if I move all I have is little holes to cover up..

As for canvas..never tried but I have a friend who does amazing work and she will use canvas when she can afford it..or muslin from the fabric store....she coats it several times with gesso. Hopefully one day I will take that step and try canvas.
As for the Indiana site...they have terrific stuff..they sent me samples..but the cost of shipping is expensive along with custom charges...not yet available in Canada.

I know of many artists that do canvas so they can ship to clients and the client can use wallpaper paste to install on walls though they do advise to hire a professional wallpaper person....still would like to know how it is taken off without damaging it...or how the walls look after it is off too...guess the only way is to try a small canvas..do a niche..and glue to see the outcome...Frankie

06-07-2007, 12:31 PM
I knew Wet Canvas wouldn't let me down. I am getting ready to paint a mural and wondered if there were any other people here doing that - of course there are. Lots of useful information, inspiration and help with the expense. Once I had a mural painted in my home, done with latex, long before I even thought about painting myself. It was a major selling point when I had to leave there.
My project will be to paint the dormer strips in an upstairs playroom for my grandson, water with fish, shells and such. The strips of wall start at the floor, going out into the room at almost a 40 degree angle, 80 inches high. I have a lot of mobility problems so had already planned to paint on canvas and attach it, partly because of the angle but also because I can't climb these stairs without help. I will paint at my house and thought about stapling it to the walls there. This should be good for about 10 years, then worry about refinishing the walls.
One question I haven't seen addressed here is finishing the edges of the canvas. The sizes are strange, 72, 26 and 32 inches wide. I am sure this child will pick at any loose threads he can reach so want to seal them. What kind of sealer should I use for the mural itself?
I plan to use latex and acrylic. Can I paint the base with the latex then use acrylic for the fish and such? I have some experience with acrylic, more with watercolors. Also painted solid color walls a lot with just plain latex paint, years ago.
Thanks for any advice. Connie

06-07-2007, 01:48 PM
Hi Connie,

Only a few of us have had experience with painting murals on canvas, so I'm not sure how you would finish the edges. From what I have seen it looks like the edges are cute nice and clean and pasted down well!

Yes you can work with both latex and acrylics, how ever you want they are basically the same thing! That is what I usually do, latex for most of it and then acrylics for the detail work.

You don't have to put a protective coat on acrylic paints, but if you want to for extra protection from scratches this is what I use.

Minwax Polycrylic (Satin)

06-07-2007, 10:04 PM
Hi Connie...welcome to our corner of Wet Canvas!

Another option would be to buy the large jumbo canvas drop cloths and paint on that...they are huge! I have done this. BUT they need to be sealed first as the paint went through the wall I was using and I had to repaint that area.

Someone here has used the ones that are already backed with rubber/vinyl...those don't leak and they are large too. Lowes and Home Depot are good sources for this!

We would love to see your mural when you are finished!

06-07-2007, 11:44 PM
Hey There...It's late, don't have time to read the whole thread ,but will do so in the morning. I've been doing murals in oils for the last 20 years, and can't imagine doing them any other way!!! Don't go plastic!!!!!! More in the morning!

06-08-2007, 04:01 PM
I have ordered some polyflax and am starting on some cartoons. This may take a while, but I will show it when I am finished or at least have some progress. Thanks again, I feel so much better after reading all the helpful comments.

08-14-2007, 01:05 PM
My Aunt is a Sign Painter she has been doing it for 30 years. Anyway there was a mural that was showing real signs of aging. And she was told to use this top coat for the outside on a building mural. Just thought I would share this info here. I understand that it is expensive but good.

Sherwin Williams Sher Clear

08-24-2007, 07:51 PM
I've decided I want to try to start painting children's murals, and am working on business cards and such..but I was wondering about some copyright stuff..If someone wanted you to paint, say, Spongebob in their kids' room, would you do it? It is copyrighted..I dont think Id feel right doing it, but Im sure it comes up and I was wondering what the ethical thing to do is...

08-24-2007, 11:24 PM
Hi, Angela. congrats on maybe starting your own business.
Ethics aside, it is a very very risky thing to paint anything like that that is copyrighted. Some companies are known to sue anyone, even a poor little starving artist, for recreating their images for a profit. Disney characters -- don't even think about it. Anything Harley Davidson --no way. You are wise to anticipate these requests; don't risk your business and your assets to appease a client.

08-24-2007, 11:35 PM
Harley Davidson ! Really ?
omg about to help a student with one!

08-25-2007, 09:54 AM
Several years agao...okay, maybe 15, a muralist was sued by a big company for painting their characters. She was not even a big time artist...but had to pay them $3.500.

Sad but true story.

I have painted only once something that was copywrited...it was not a paying job but for a friend....but I won't even do that anymore.

08-26-2007, 04:24 PM
THank you for the advice. I didnt think it was a good idea to paint copyrighted stuff, but wanted to see how you all felt about it. I'll just stick with what comes out of my own brainl!!!

08-26-2007, 06:29 PM
1. Can I use oil paints on a wall mural? If so, what kind of wall surface/prep is needed?

2. I've read about using regular latex house paint, but I can't imagine that being much fun unless I'm missing something. Wouldn't that be like painting watercolors on a vertical piece of paper?
Hi....I have been painting murals in only oils for years as my profession. My first question is what kind of wall finish do you currently have? If it is smooth drywall (with no texture) that is your best case scenerio to achieve what you want. My approach to oils on drywalls is very similar to watercolor....meaning thin layers.

1. The first layer is very thin paint with mineral spirits. Using soft brushes (not nylon) I will lay in a very thin wash of color and use a rag with fingertip lift back out some highlights. Most of the time I sketch in the design with a pencil and to keep the pencil from bleeding and dirtying the paint I will put down a wash of white gesso making sure to include the pencil line. That will seal the pencil line in but you will still be able to see it.

For example if it is a urn you wish to put on the wall....sketch it lightly in pencil (not charcoal). Using white gesso, paint the urn in white gesso, let dry. Now that it's dry, using very thinned paint in mineral spirits paint the urn in a medium value, forgetting the lights and darks. Just put thin paint over all of it. Now with a soft rag, rub the paint to smooth it out, lifting the paint back off the highlight areas. At this stage you will have the medium value all over the urn and the highlight areas will be showing lighter.

Take the entire mural to this stage and let it dry. If you run a fan or ac in the room it will be dry the next day.

The next day, using thin paint with Liquin or another oil medium (not turp or mineral spirits..because the paint from day before will lift. If you wait several days so paint is very set you can keep using just mineral spirits and paint) go after your darks in a thin layer. You will still be using a rag a lot to soften the edges. Pat it gently to bleed out the color so the transitions between lights and dark are smooth. Once darks are in, go after the more opaque or highlight areas. Do not use any white until you can't achieve the color any other way. Permalba white is good for murals on canvas or walls because it is thinner and dries sooner. The Liquin will also speed drying.

Last step......when that layer is dry....depending you may want to hit your darks and lights once more time.

Forget the house paint. Your mural will look cheap and chalky. The better quality of oil paint, the less of it you will need to achieve your colors. Oil paints go a long way on a wall, so tread lightly and go in steps.

Good luck...Patsy

08-26-2007, 06:40 PM
I've decided I want to try to start painting children's murals, and am working on business cards and such..but I was wondering about some copyright stuff..If someone wanted you to paint, say, Spongebob in their kids' room, would you do it? It is copyrighted..I dont think Id feel right doing it, but Im sure it comes up and I was wondering what the ethical thing to do is...
I think it is a wonderful fun thing to do, but I have found in the past, only the extremely wealthy will do a child's room because they outgrow the images so fast. I agree you have to be careful what images you use in advertising or publicly to get yourself in trouble. Maybe imaginary characters you invent for advertising would be better and then if a client wants a specific (like Spongebob) character, advise them it's really copyright infringement and protect yourself best you can.

old thing
09-26-2007, 10:51 AM
I have just been reading all this fabulous info. Thanks to all who contributed. I really want to try painting a mural, but I have some questions for you all please. I did not understand some of the terms used in the info sheets. Is this right?
1)If wall is clean prime?Does that mean paint white first coat?
2)Then get mural design and enlarge and make into grid?
3)Then paint with acrylics big areas first and then go back and shade and do details?
4)Then paint over it with protective varnish removable type?
5)Then clean om(what is om?)with mineral spirits (is this metho?)
Is this right? Please correct if wrong. Thankyou.

old thing
09-26-2007, 11:03 AM
Please tell me if this is right. I did not fully understand the info sheets.
1)First prime wall (Does this mean paint white first coat?)
2)Pick design for mural and make grid
3)Paint big areas first in acrylic and then go back and shade and detail.
4)Then paint removable varnish as barrier.
5)Then clean om(what is om)with metho spirits.
Please correct if wrong.

old thing
09-26-2007, 11:03 AM
Sorry about the double up folks. Bad with computers.

09-30-2007, 12:30 PM
Hi, I hope I don't confuse you more...

1."First prime wall (Does this mean paint white first coat"

I would think it means if it's a new wall, never painted, you have to seal it with primer....so the paint won't be absorb. Then do a base coat. Your primer can also be tinted.

2."Pick design for mural and make grid."

Lots of artists like using this technique...if your design is on the graph paper or make your own graph and you match you walls to the graph (grid) then following the design in each square.
I take paper and sketch the pattern on it with the doors and windows of the room I am doing so the doors and frames can blend with the pattern or I don't run into surprises when I run out of room because I didn't plan to work around them..

3."Paint big areas first in acrylic and then go back and shade and detail."

Say you are doing scenery...do all the sky first then the grass..lake...then if you are adding flowers..etc..add detail to the closer things..highlight and shadow will make your items pop out..

4."Then paint removable varnish as barrier."

Don't know this one..I seal with a varnish so it is washable.

5."Then clean om(what is om)with metho spirits."

I think "om' could mean over mural..on mural?

02-16-2008, 11:02 AM
Ok, I'm about to embark on a two wall mural painting, my first. And I was looking at acrylic prices and they are astronomic...Ouch.....I like the idea of working with latex as well. Question,,,are you mixing the latex house paint with the acrylic or are you just using it for the large background shapes?

02-16-2008, 12:20 PM
Most of us use the latex for the larger areas, then will use the artists acrylic for the small details. :) Hope this helps.

Welcome to WC and the Decorative Arts Forum.

Also, you might get more help if you start your own thread with your questions.

Here is another good threads with more information, you might have already read it, but just in case.


02-22-2008, 02:55 PM
What is the best option for buying supplies...Do you go through vendors or buy retail?

02-22-2008, 06:59 PM
For larger areas, where you need a lot of mileage, you can buy quarts of paint from a paint retailer. Or even better, if you can find colors that will work for you, is to buy mistints or oops paints by the quart or gallon.

For smaller areas and details you can choose artist's acrylics by the jar, the tube, or buy the small craft paints. I buy all my paints locally, retail. Others might prefer mail ordering their artist's acrylics through Dick Blick, Cheap Joe's, etc.

Sorry if this is redundant, starving_artist; it's been awhile since I read through this entire thread.

11-15-2008, 09:40 PM
I am just finishing a mural . I never tried one before and jumped right in figuring I could paint over it if I didn't like it. I am like you in that I prefer oils. But the size of a mural does not lend well to such a medium so I used a combination of latex wall paint which I changed colors with acrylics. For the larger parts and oil painted the wolves. It seems to have worked well. But of course has not endured the test of time so I don't know if the oil paint will crack and peel eventually. Now I have the problem of what to seal it with. What do you use for a finish coat and how is it applied that it doesn't smear of affect the painting.?

11-15-2008, 10:11 PM
Welcome Bonnie!! Glad to have you join us....

I do not seal my murals unless they are in a public space. Will you share with us????

11-17-2008, 11:15 PM
I would love to share with you when it is finished. But I am just learning about the dangers of using pictures that are copyrighted . I am learning all of this of course on by reading posts on Wet Canvas. I always assumed that you couldn't steal idea's from an artist's painting , or someone like Disney, but copying a photo was ok. Not so. This mural is sort of a copy of a throw that was given to me many years ago by a friend. It was sort of a spur of the moment decision to use it for a mural. Now I see that it has been copyrighted. I guess this isn't a problem in my own home, for personal use. But it does make me a little nervous about posting it. What do you think.?

11-18-2008, 12:48 AM
As a professional photographer I will tell you that any photo that someone takes they own the copyright for automatically unless they have waived that. Like the reference library here on WC, you are free to use those photos as references. Have you checked out the reference library?

I'm sorry but I don't like to give advice on laws. I have heard that it's okay if you didn't charge anything and it's in your own home...but I'm just not sure.

11-18-2008, 09:12 PM
Thanks for the advice Deb. I expect to finish this mural in a few days and will post it then. I know now not to paint from a picture unless I have the permission of the photographer. I have changed it some from the throw but think it is still recognizable. But it is in my home for my own personal use. I haven't checked out the reference photo library yet, but will do so right now.

11-20-2008, 10:47 PM
Hey Bectoria,,, If you are still interested , I have just finished the mural and will attempt to post it. It was a spur of the moment decision to try this mural and it is the first one I ever tried. I used all the left over paint from remodeling the house, white latex and dark blue/green latex. Also I used left over acrylic paints added to the latex to change colors. The wolves I did in oil paint since that is my medium of choice. So it cost me virtually nothing to try it. The wall is a rough finish called orange peel, on drywall, and has been painted several times before. It is 12 long and 7' high at the short end and
9'4" at the high end. Bonnie I'm sorry , this doesn't seem to be working. I've tried 4 times and am shown the image as uploaded but it doesn't appear anywhere in the post. Guess computers are not one of my strong points. I will try again later.

11-21-2008, 01:28 AM
look down below, past 'additions' - see attach file... try that...

06-26-2009, 01:59 PM
Hey everyone, I wanted to post a link from Nova Acrylics (http://www.novacolorpaint.com/index.html) about mural painting, surface prep etc (http://www.novacolorpaint.com/PDF%20pages/Mural%20Painting%20Tips%2012-08.pdf). This isn't meant to be an ad for them, and no, I'm not getting paid (though you all know as much I love their paints, I SHOULD be :D)! Just some great information for all of us.


09-09-2009, 12:32 AM
Great information in this thread for beginners. Thanks so much to everyone who contributed.

06-29-2017, 04:36 PM
Ruth: Thank you for the great thread. Would you kindly advise on how to 'brighten' (value) latex exterior paints for my attached mural in progress? I'm not getting the shades/values that I want, as they're muted. I've added my own acrylic colors to no avail. As you can see in the greens are dull and the pinks not very bright. Suggestions? Manny thanks. Bruce.