Painting A Mural – Kansas City Mural Painting Arist For Hire

I have done over a dozen indoor mural paintings and can give some tips on what I have learned. I have painted on ceilings and walls, and the best tip I can give you is the more primed and prepped a surface, the more fluid your paint will be.  The single coated primed surface tends to drink up the paint.

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On surfaces that have a color, if the color is light, painting directly on top is not a bad idea (only if the paint is in good condition i.e., no chipping, peeling etc.).  I like to incorporate the wall color into the mural painting.  Doing this blends the mural naturally into the rest of the room.

Another tip, find the best tape that works well for you!  When I pull tape off at the end of a project and it comes off leaving tiny slivers along the wall (I use an exacto blade or palette knife in that instance) or it pulls off part of my painting, it drives me crazy. I have found that I use the cheapest 1” tapes for marking out sketch patterns, or giving me straight lines (basically anywhere I don’t mind “wasting” tape), and prefer the wider 2” blue tape for edging.  The options are many, from thin 1” to thick 4” painters tape in green, white or blue.  Try them out and find what you like.

As for drop clothes, I recommend them.  I don’t always use them, but I sure love the safety it gives me.  Accidents happen.  The options are about as wide as the tape options are.  I like using plastic for two main reasons.  They are light, which is great for transportation and taping them to walls.  And they are “waterproof” (and cheaper than the higher quality cloth that’s “waterproof”).  I have bought the lightest grade plastic but the tape tears them up and makes them barely reusable.  I now opt for the middle weight and am happy with the durability.  The mural paintings I do are indoors as this would not be optimal for outdoor painting.

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Brushes… this, too, will come down to what you prefer.  There are endless options with no right or wrong.  (I prefer rollers with larger spaces than 12’) Here are some things that I keep in mind when grabbing for a brush.  The flat >3” brushes with soft ample amount of bristles absorb lots of paint.  They cover well and take forever to rinse.  Try to keep the bristles wet only half way up.  Angled brushes give me nice straight lines and I can use the tip for dabbing and stippling.  Keep in mind, with mural painting, water isn’t a friend. It peels dried paints and can create horrible drips, so the paint is applied to dry brushes.  After a while, the bristles will start to fray.  I cut off the random stragglers that stick out every which way, but in the end, I have some great blending brushes.  One of my favorite brushes is an old 1” (I think it was flat) brush that looks like a messy layered hair-cut.  It looks sad, but does wonders on the wall.  And when it’s time to rinse the brush, wash it till the water is clear. Give it a few firm flicks, it really minimizes the water left in the brush (on an angled brush, tip down).  Then, gently squeeze the brush in paper towels and reshape.  If you are using different colors, working two brushes at once, wrapping a damp paper towel around the brush works well to keep the paint moist.

A tip I can give when applying the paint is to keep the paint smooth on the wall.  Pretend you are to not leave any brush marks or paint globs.  Texture is great on canvas.  Don’t add it to walls with paint.  When the time comes to repaint, you will have to strip it or add texture to make mask it.  Save yourself time, and leave walls smooth as possible with your mural.

And now on to the paint.  I use tinted pint size paints for my murals from local hardware stores.  The colors are endless, and the price is nice.  I try to pick out 5-6 colors from the picture to have mixed.  Keep this in mind, mixing colors with wall paint works up to a degree.  Mixing yellow and light green gives nice variations of green.  And mixing yellow and a little dark green will give you a nice green.  But try not to count on the color wheel to do all of your color mixing needs.  The colors tend to gray out and the variation is lacking.  Mixing the tradition blue and yellow may or may not give you a green you’re looking for.

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Mural painting isn’t for everyone,

but if you’re reading this, I’m guessing you might be ready to give it a try.  A few items to have on hand are step ladders/ladders, levels, reference photos, measuring tape, and music.  Give yourself ample time and be patient.  Murals take time to come together.  I take 2-3 painting sessions per mural lasting 4-8 hours.  Be warned, mural painting is a physical activity.  Not only will your arms feel it, but you may find yourself tippy-toed on the top of a ladder to get a corner.  I hope this helps, but in the end, trial and error will be your friend. Happy painting!

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