How to paint a sample pot mural in your child’s room

I really loved creating the different murals around my house – they are such a fun project.  They can quickly change the whole feel of a room, and are very cheap so are a great alternative to wallpaper.  I’ve had lots of people on Instagram share the lovely ones they have created too.  I always get such a buzz seeing other people’s ideas and passions come to life.  

I have had quite a few requests for tutorials or details on how I made my murals, so thought I’d do a post on these.  I’ve done a few different styles now but I’ve decided to focus on my ‘houses on the wall’ one as these seem to be the most popular.  The steps for all of them are pretty similar though, so grab your paintbrush and prepare to get creative!

To do this project you’ll need a few things: Sample pots of paint (ideally with some colours to link to the rest of the décor in the room), if you have a dark coloured or stained wall some undercoat (I like to use Zinser primer – it really covers everything), some paint brushes (I find a ¼” good for the smaller details and edges and use about a 1.5” for the infill), a damp cloth, a small bucket or bowl of warm water, some wall filler and some very fine sandpaper and a knife, piece of card or old credit card for applying filler.  You’ll also need a pencil.  I found some paint pens helped too (in white, black or grey for the windows) but you could use paint pots and a very fine paintbrush if you prefer.

The first thing you need to do is prepare the area you will be painting your mural.  You need to give the wall a very quick wipe down with a damp cloth and then remove any loose material or flaky paint.  Then, it’s time to fix any cracks or defects you find using the filler.  I always use ready-mix filler as it’s so much less hassle.  Use the knife/card to scoop out a small amount of filler and push it into the defects, taking care not to put too much on.  Then, repeat this but from another direction (ideally at 90 degrees to your first application).  This will make sure the defect is well filled.  Then, rinse your card or knife and use it to scrape any large amounts of excess of the wall nearby.  Finally, get your damp rag and gently wipe it over the surface of the filler to remove any excess and make it flush with the wall.  If you do this right you can get a perfectly smooth finish without sanding.  Don’t worry though if you end up with a little excess filler, once it is dry you can remove this with a very quick sand.

Once you have finished preparing the wall and sanded any filler flush give the area another very light run over with the cloth to remove any sawdust.  Now, it’s on to the base coat.  If you had a dark wall or there are significant differences in colour or staining across the area you will do your mural you might now find it useful to do a base coat first with primer.  Apply this with a brush or small roller and leave to dry.  Once this is done then go over the wall with the colour you want the background to be.  I was lucky in that my walls were already painted a light colour and didn’t have much damage or staining so I didn’t need to do this step, so you might not need to either.

After this is done the fun stages start – it’s now time to mark out your pattern.  I deliberately wanted to create a slightly whimsical design with imperfect lines and a slightly wonky look, so you don’t need to worry about getting everything perfectly straight.  The key thing is to get a fun, playful design.  I painted straight on to the wall but you could do a quick sketch on paper first to work out what you would like it to look like and then copy this on to the wall. when thinking about what colours to use I tried to have each house contrast with the neighbours, with different shades of colour on my theme.  Murals like these are a great way to use up sample pots of paint you have, and to link different colours that you may have throughout the room to bring different zones together.  You can be as wild or creative as you like here – I went for a few muted pastels, but I know some people have gone all-out for lovely bright colourful designs which look great.

Once you are happy with your pencil design then start painting!  Start with the outline of your houses first, then infill with colours.  If you make any mistakes then remove the paint quickly whilst it’s still wet using your damp cloth.  It can be good to let colours dry a little first before overlaying them with the next colour (for example at the edges of the houses) to avoid paints mixing – this is why I start at the outlines first, then infill to give the paint a little time to flash dry.  

When the paint is dry it’s time for the finishing touches.  Use your paint pens (or a very small brush) to add details to windows and doors.  I’ve also seen some lovely ideas where people paint on flowers, pets or people – this is where you can let your imagination run wild!  To give it a little variety I did some windows in white, some in grey and some in black but you can do all in the same colour if you want.  

The principle for the rainbow wall I did is very similar to the one for the houses, and there’s lots of other designs you can do too.  My forest wall was a little bit different (I used a sponge and some other techniques) so if you want to do one of these let me know and I can do a blog post on that too.

I really hope this inspires you to create your own sample pot murals – I love seeing your ideas come to life so please tag me on Instagram so I can see your wonderful creations.

You can see me painting my murals HERE

Helena x

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