If you follow me on instagram you'll have seen that I've been painting a mural in my toddler's 'big kid' room. I asked him if he wanted Australian animals or safari animals and they were adamant on safari (I wanted Australian animals. Much more in my comfort zone.). It has been a journey! I have two days a week that my toddler isn't around, but I've still got my 5month old with me. So, we've slowly done a few hours here or there between boobing and nappy changes.
I'm really enjoying the challenge and I've learnt a lot. And here are some of the things I've learnt for next time.
Do better than me. Plan ahead. Don't just do a quick sketch and go thatll do. Draw it out. Pick your colours. Know what you want the finished product to look like. Great tip from google was to sketch up the wall with chalk. Because sometimes you can see the pencil lines underneath the paint. That worked great. And was easy to adjust if necessary.
Also I didn't work out what my background was gonna be until after I started which meant trying to colour all around things I'd already painted- not easy- I was never a colour in the lines kid. I think I'd be easier to paint your background then layer your characters on top once it's dry. And much like I would for watercolour art, use tape for cleaner lines where possible (NOTE: I did not do this. Hindsight is wonderful).
Then buy everything you're gonna need. You'll need more paint than you think. Get the good paint, I used mostly acrylics and in hindsight I should've stuck to house paint. Less coats and less fiddly. Just less washable if you make a mess.
I found that the acrylics would pull off the layer underneath when I tried to do another coat. So I mixed in some house paint. Worked a bit better. I think I'll just use the acrylics for the fine details.
Colour mixing is hard. This has really tested my colour theory. I constantly made a colour, only to run out and have to make more and not be able to match it. If you know your colours, and you know you have a large space to fill, buy the premixed colour. It'll save you time and heartache. It's been a bit of fun though. And a skill I can apply to my watercolour work as well.
Not all brushes are created equal. You need brushes to do fine details, you need brushes to do edges and cutting in around things, you need brushes to to big spaces. If you've got a large open area why not use a roller. But get a good roller. Not a cheap little one that leaves fluff everywhere (can you tell what I did?).
Also get lots of every size. I spent so much time washing and drying brushes. And then using them before they were dry enough and getting drip marks on the wall 🙈 also test your brushes. One of my brushes left streak marks no matter what I did. And my smaller brush was fab but took forever to do a large space.
Preparing the Space.
TAPE. Don't be lazy. Pre tape everything. And use drop sheets. Accidents happen.
I skimped on the taping and now have a lot of 'clean up' do to. As well as paint stains on the carpet- OOPS.
Also go easy on yourself. Whether it's your first mural or your 100th. Every wall is different. A new tub of paint might work differently to another. Every day you work at it you are different. My partner keeps having to remind me I'm doing this for my toddler. And he's gonna love it. He already loves the unfinished giraffes.
It's actually been so much fun. A challenge. But one I want to keep working at. When I'm not trying to look after a 5month old at the same time. I think if it was just me, I could get a mural done in 2 sessions. Probably 2 days. Or one long day with a drying break in the middle. I'm definitely going to do it again. I'm thinking I'll try a floral motif in my baby's room.
And hey, when my toddler outgrows a safari mural, I'll get to paint something different!
Authors note: If you're going to try and film yourself from behind for social media make sure your pants cover your ass. Or you'll have a days worth of unusable butt crack shots 👍