How To Paint An Indoor Wall Mural Plus Tips

indoor wall art mural hand lettering

By Julisha Kim

Two weeks ago, I painted a mural at H Studio Salon in Mission Viejo, Orange County, CA. H Studio Salon needed a mural as a photo zone for their upcoming women empowerment social party called “Shero” (She + Hero). For anyone who’s interested in painting a mural, I decided to capture and share my process in order to give you an idea of how to paint a mural. Continue reading below for specifications, necessary supplies, cost, timeline and takeaways — enjoy!


Mural Specifications

  • Quote: “Darling, You Are A Work of Art.”
  • Desired Aesthetic: Minimalistic & Modern
  • Color: Black & Gold
  • Type: Indoor
  • Dimensions: 5 x 5 ft
  • Surface Texture: Bumpy


Supply List

  • Provided by H Studio Salon:
    • Projector
    • Ladder / Step Stool
    • Painter’s Tarp
  • Purchased from Home Depot (Total Cost of $53):
    • Black Paint (1 Gallon) // $20
    • Gold Paint (8oz) // $10
    • Paint Brushes (2 sets / 7 Brushes) // $12
    • Paint Containers (+ Lids) // $4
    • Blue Masking Tape // $7


Installation Process + Timeline

  • Total of 10 hours
    1. Projector Set-Up // 30 min
      Final artwork was projected on the wall in order to finalize the placement and size. Floor was covered with the painter’s tarp in order to prevent from getting paint on the floor.  
    2. Masking Tape & Pencil Sketch // 1 hour
      Artwork was traced with pencil and areas with straight lines were masked with blue masking tape.
    3. Outlining  // 1 hour
      After pencil tracing was finished, artwork was outlined with paint markers.
    4. Painting // 7 hours
      Once everything was masked and outlined, I painted the letters from top to bottom and left to right (since I’m right-handed). After one layer of paint, masking tapes were removed and second layer of paint was applied. Areas where paint seeped through masking tape were fixed afterwards, using the background color paint.
    5. Cleaning // 30 min


Takeaways

  • For this 5 x 5 ft mural, 1 gallon of black paint was way too much paint. 1 pint would’ve been enough.
  • Paint color can look different wet vs. dry. For example, my black paint looked dark grey when it was wet but it dried black.
  • Multiple layers of paint are needed for opaque and rich color. Firm bristle brushes are better for outlining and soft bristle brushes are better for filling in. Paint markers such as Posca are useful for outlining (if colors match).
  • Soak the brushes in water OR wash them occasionally when you move on to another brush so that the paint doesn’t harden on brush bristles. 
  • For any straight lines, use masking tape to save your time and soul during painting.
  • But also remember, perfection is nonsense 🙂
  • Bumpy textures are very tricky to paint as paint seeps through the masking tape. So don’t panic if it does; it can be fixed with background color paint.
  • Painting always takes longer than expected. Guesstimate expected time x 2 = more accurate timeline.
  • Painting a mural while standing on a ladder is physically exhausting. You will have muscle cramps the next day. Don’t over-push yourself and space out your painting time. I spent 10 hours of painting but spread it out in three days.
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