How to paint a mural: part 2. The transfer

In my last post we tackled the process of creating and finalizing a design. With a design created we just have to get the sketch…on the wall? Below are some tips and tricks to do just that! I will also mention what paint you need to buy and what type to get.

Step 1: Prep the Wall

If the wall already has a bright color on it, you may want to prime the wall with a white primer. The primer will help hide the color below and make your background color even more vibrant. If you are painting a color similar to what is already on the wall, you may not need to prime.

Step 2: Pick out the paint

This is time for the swatches! Since a lot of paint is needed to cover the wall, it is best to use house paint as it will go farther than craft acrylic paint. An eggshell sheen works best. This sheen does not absorb a lot of paint and has minimal reflective effect. Normal acrylic paint can be used for detail work as you will only be using a small amount. On my Chinese mural, I used house latex paint from Sherman Williams. It worked great for me!

Step 3. Transfer the drawing

There are two ways to do this: the grid method, and the projector method. You will need to draw your sketch to scale for both. For example, an inch on your sketchbook will represent a foot on the wall. I find it easiest to use a digital program, such as Adobe, to scale out the picture. This way, you won’t have to redraw a grid every time you change your drawing.

For the grid transfer method, you will need to create a grid on the wall. The grid on the wall will have to match your drawing. If your drawing is by square foot, your grid on the wall should also be by square foot. For each square you will have to recreate your drawing. This will be tedious, but it is good for oddly shaped surfaces.

The projector method is my personal favorite. Dim the lights and set up the projector in front of the wall. Lightly trace your drawing on the wall. You can move the projector as needed along the wall. My projector is able to hook up to my laptop where I can project my screen directly.

Everything will now be ready for you to start painting. The creative process can begin! Put on your favorite music and go to town painting! My next post, of part 3, will lay out my suggestions on how to tackle the wall. I will explain the process through blocking in to final touches.

I can’t wait to see what you guys create!

My husband, Thomas, is helping me transfer my drawing.

Published by Grace Nestor-Louie

My name is Grace Nestor-Louie and I am a fine art oil painter & muralist in Kent, Ohio. I paint in bright colors and focus on animals and nature. I paint on commission and sell online. Come check out my portfolio and stay connected through Instagram @gracenestorlouie.

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