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How to Paint a Mural for a Child's Room

Updated on April 30, 2012
Any teen would be proud of this room.
Any teen would be proud of this room. | Source

Beautiful Nursery Mural

This beautiful landscape is perfect for a nursery.
This beautiful landscape is perfect for a nursery. | Source

The walls our local pediatrician's office are covered with beautiful murals. The waiting room comes alive with characters scaling the icy walls of a mountainside, as a bluebird hovers nearby. Further into the office, you’ll find a variety of animals competing in an Olympic-style race.

Murals are no longer limited to doctors’ and dentists’ offices. Now they’re coming home as custom decorations for bedrooms and playrooms, and children are enjoying their own taste of paradise.

With a little imagination and a touch of paint, you too can bring transform your child’s room into a wonderland. You don’t even need an artist’s touch: You simply need a little patience.

Finding the Right Scene to Paint

First, you need to discover the right mural scene for your child’s room. Older children will happily offer their own opinion. Younger children need more guidance.

Sit down and watch television, visit websites, or flip through their favorite books. Even coloring books, puzzles, and scrapbooking stickers offer ideas. Help your child narrow down the choices until you find something that you both would enjoy.

The best designs are simple cartoonish designs with a rounded feel to them. Photographs are difficult to use, cartoons are more forgiving of mistakes.

Jungle Mural

This amazing artwork makes any room shine.
This amazing artwork makes any room shine. | Source

Choosing Your Artist's Tools

The right tools will make your job a breeze. You’ll need your inspiration pieces nearby, so if you are using a picture book, keep it close. You’ll also need pencils, erasers, a projector, palette, old rags, and lots of acrylic paint. Purchase the acrylic paint from the local craft store.

Drawing Your Scenery

Before beginning, place a tarp over your furniture. It’s important that you leave your furniture in place; this way, you can incorporate your pieces into the scene. For example, one character might hide behind a lamp, or a butterfly might land on your lightswitch cover.

Use a projector to display your image on the wall. Trace around the image, carefully marking each line as it appears. Ensure that you have traced the entire image. Hint: Don’t move the projector once you’ve started your drawing. It will be difficult to find the same image angle and image size.

Babies Love Contrasting Colors

This bright happy zebra is perfect for a baby's room.
This bright happy zebra is perfect for a baby's room. | Source

Painting Your Canvas

Painting your pictures will be a breeze if you don’t get too fancy. Don’t mix colors or add too much shadowing or highlighting. Cartoons are uncomplicated; keeping it simple is the secret to success.

Refer to your inspiration piece to keep yourself on track. It will help you remember the details that make a big difference, i.e., adding a reflection in the truck’s mirror gives it that special something.

For larger spaces, use a one-inch paintbrush, but don’t go bigger or you’ll miss the details. Use artists’ paintbrushes for the majority of the project: they will give you a professional touch.

A few more words of wisdom:

· Paint your lighter areas first; it’s difficult to cover dark paint with a lighter color.

· Wash your paintbrushes immediately, and dry them upside down.

· Acrylic paint dries quickly, so occasionally spritz your palette with water.

· Use thin coats; a thick coat of paint causes air bubbles.

· If you are nervous, practice on poster board. You can tape it to your wall, and practice before you try the real thing.

Adding the Finishing Touches

The secret to mural magic is outlining. Take a black Sharpie and outline your images carefully. There’s something about a crisp, black that makes your picture “POP.”  Now you have the perfect room for your child. Sit back, have fun, and don’t forget to take pictures. Your child will have the room of a lifetime!


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