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Paint a Mural In Your Child’s Room

September 30 2010

To beat the heat this summer with some creative fun, help your child paint a mural on her walls. In six easy steps, you and your child can transform their room into a delightful storybook world, animal kingdom, or whatever they want. 

Choose a theme. Your child may have favorite books, athletes, rooms should have pictures of his favorite things; cartoon characters, star athletes, or scenery. The theme should be easy to coordinate with bedding and other décor. You child may even be inspired to keep his room neater! 

Prep your area. Tape down a plastic drop cloth, covering as much floor as possible, to prevent paint from getting on wood flooring or carpet. Paint-and-supplies.hardwarestore.com has a great selection at an affordable cost.

Start by painting the wall with primer, and then put on the base color you want in interior acrylic paint. For example, a Star Trek galaxy base color would be a simple dark blue. A meadow scene for Winnie the Pooh or Bambi could be half sky blue and half rolling hills of a grassy green. Paint rollers or a big brush will speed this process up, but be sure to have plenty of left over for touch-ups. 

Pencil in the design.  Draw your characters on the wall with pencil so your children can erase mistakes without hassle. If you’re not an artist, you can choose art from a book or calendar and trace it. You’re your tracing to a copy store and have it blown up to the scale you want. Then you can simply trace it on the wall or stencil it in. You can also use a projector to project the image on the wall for tracing. 

Block in shapes.  Work with your darkest colors first. Highlights and details are last. Once the image is complete, help your child block in the shapes.  For small images, get sample interior paints at a home improvement store. A Valspar sample at Home Depot is about a half-pint, or 7.2 ounces for about $3. A sample at Sherman-Williams is a quart for under $5.

A rocket ship can have a lot of details, but it should begin as a crude white or silver rocket shape. You’re going to add the details of thrusters and portals later. Use as large a brush as possible, being careful to avoid unnecessary drips on your base coat.

Paint the details. Space is more than a dark void- add lots of bright white-yellow stars, orange planets, streaking comets, and smoky clouds you can add to really punch things up. Add dimension to the shapes you’ve drawn. A light blue streak will give the Enterprise a nice round look.  If your children don’t have the dexterity for certain details, either help them or start them on something else they can do.

Fix mistakes. Sixth, once everything is dry and the details are done, it’s time to clean up any mistakes with the base paint. Use a small brush as drips tend to be small. Bikemural.org also recommends using a clear coat varnish to seal your mural to protect it from stains, graffiti, and fading.

When you’re finished, make sure you follow the disposal and storage recommendation methods listed on the paint label.

Painting a mural with your child is quality time well spent and relatively inexpensive compared to the price of wallpaper. But the most fun is seeing your child’s enjoyment of his room blast off!