Tuesday, October 9, 2012

A Snazzy Graphic Mural Peps Up a Plain-Jane Wall

Do you have a big booooring wall at your place that could use a major color boost + a little bit of spunk?  Here is an bright and bold graphic mural that you can paint yourself in one weekend.

Revival Room Weekend Project DIY #1
Graphic Mural Tutorial

Saturday morning:  If you are anything like me, you love spending a rainy weekend on a fun designer project for your house.  If so, grab your breakfast, throw on your clothes, and here you go....
First, Gather the supplies that you will need to complete this project (with the exception of paint supplies)  You will need:
1.  One Boring Blank Wall that needs some pizazz. +
2.  Tape Measure
3.  Ruler, or other straight edge
4.  Architectural Compass to draw your circle template*
*I used a 9" dinner plate to draw my template- I bet you could find a circular household item and do the same!
5.  Cardboard for template - this could be from a cardboard box or some other stiff paper you have on hand 
6.  Pencil
7.  Scissors
8.  Ladder
9.  5-9  1 Pint Sample-sized Benjamin Moore Paint Colors (you will pick colors later) 
10.  Purdy Nylon 1 1/2" angled paintbrush (purchase with the paint)**
**Purdy makes fabulous brushes.  Do not skimp on a good quality paint brush-especially for a project that requires clean, crisp lines like this one does.  If you take care of your brush it will take care of you and your projects.

Ok, Where's that lucky wall?  Is it the hallway, in the kitchen, or in the family room?  Wherever it is- it is going to be one happy wall!  

It's time to design the mural.  Question is,  how big should it be?
You should think of the mural the very same way you would think of a large piece of art.  If it is over a wide couch or a heavy cabinet, it should be just a few inches narrower than the width of the piece of furniture. It should not, however, be the exact same width as the furniture- that just looks too unnatural!  The bottom of the mural should measure 6"-9" above the furniture, and the top of the mural should measure about 1ft below a normal height ceiling.  If the ceiling is extra tall, leave more space at the top so the mural does not look unusually tall and awkward.  If the mural is on a large wall that is in a hallway or has little visual competition- be BOLD and paint the circles wall to wall- as if it were wallpaper.  You are the artist and you get to decide exactly how you would like to do it.

I chose to center my mural on this big plain wall in the kitchen.  It measures about 8" above the wainscot and 22" below the tall-ish ceiling.  It is centered between the door and wall.

Drawing your mural:
1. Decide how large you want your mural to be.  Let's say that you, like me,  have decided that the final mural should be approximately 68" wide by 43" tall.  Here's where the math comes in!  In my case, I had a 9" plate that I wanted to use to make it easy.  I modified my dimensions to be 63" wide by 45" tall (both numbers are divisible by 9).  The difference in the modified rectangle size was so small that I knew the final product would not be affected.  If you insist on being exact, then you can figure out your circle dimensions exactly and use an architectural compass to draw your circle template. 
2.  Draw your circle template on cardboard with pencil
3.  Cut out your circle
4.  Measure and draw the rectangular outline for the mural on the wall:  Use your tape measure or a long ruler and a pencil to mark off the outer dimensions of the mural.  Measure from the floor, and draw your bottom line.  Make a light marking every 10-12 inches for the length of this line, so you will be able to connect the markings with your straight edge. Now, draw the line using your straight edge.  Using the same method, measure from your first line to draw your top line.  Measure and draw the vertical lines from the door trim or corner of the wall (or whatever architectural feature you are measuring from). Once you have drawn all four lines, you should have a lightly penciled rectangle outlined on your wall like this:

5.  Starting on the bottom row, and drawing from left to right- trace around the circle as many times as you need to to fill the rectangle. The edges of the circle should touch, but not overlap,  each other.  For my mural, I drew 35 circles.  If your floors or walls are not 100% straight, you may find that your circles do not exactly fit in the rectangle.  As long as you draw the circles in the order I described, it will not matter.  The offset will be so minute that no one will notice it.

The mathematics portion of the day is over.  You are ready to choose your colors!

What colors of paint should you use????  
This is often the question that brings panic to those who do not paint often.  The first thing to do is..... breathe!  Now, take a good look around the room at the colors you already have.  Is there a color that seems to repeat itself?  You may have a fun fabric, a piece of art, or an area rug that you want to enhance.  In my case, I had this 7-up graphic print on the adjacent wall of the kitchen that I wanted to complement.  Since I already had a few ceramic pieces on the counter that were red, I decided to go with the retro greens.

Now, it's off to the paint store.
My favorite paint store is Benjamin Moore- http://www.benjaminmoore.com/ They have knowledgeable staff, great quality paint, and best of all- they can make a one pint sample-size paint for almost every color.  The pints cost about $7.00 each and are perfect for this kind of project!!  When you go to the store, if possible, take your inspirational piece of art or fabric etc. with you.  If that's not feasible, just take a couple of photos of rug/art/or whatever you are matching on your fancy phone and take that to the store with you.  Once at the store, head straight to the paint swatch area.

With your art in hand, find the color swatches that look like the closest match to your colors.  As you see with my mural, I chose Forest Moss to be my darkest color.  It does not exactly match my print- but it is very close.  It will probably take you a few minutes to choose your first color.  Feel free to walk toward a window if you need better light to look at your choices.  Once you choose your first color,  you just need to find your adjacent corresponding colors.  

In my case, as I said, I first chose Forest Moss.   I wanted the colors to gradually get one shade lighter in each row up the wall.  This is where the color swatches are going to be your best friend.  Once you choose your top or bottom color, you will find your other colors right there on the swatch next to it!  In my case, I knew I wanted to use Split Pea, too.  But that was the top color on that particular swatch.  I needed to find the next lighter swatch in my green hue to continue my color gradation.  The number on the bottom right hand side of the swatches will give you the clues you need to do this.  The number I was looking for was 2146.  I had 2146-20 and 2146-30.  Right above my first swatch was the one that I needed.  It had the colors 2146-40,50 and 60.  Those were my 5 colors!  You will do the same color sleuthing I did after you pick your main color.  If you are having trouble, just ask someone in the store to help- they often have a colorist on duty to help you.

After you have your 5+ colors picked, proceed to the front desk.  You want to get that paint mixing while you find your brush.  The pint size color samples only come in one sheen-eggshell.  Eggshell is the best sheen for all-purpose walls so it should work for you too.  If the sheen is a slightly different  than your wall, all the better!-that's art.  As your paint shakes, go find your brush.

Saturday Afternoon/Sunday: It's Paint Time

Fill in the circles, row by row, starting at the top row.  After you have finished each row, rinse the brush thoroughly and squeeze the water out of it with a paper towel.  You will likely need to paint each circle 2-3 times each, allowing each coat to dry before re-coating.  Just be patient and you will be pleased with the results.  Here is how you hold the brush to cut clean, circular lines.

While you are working on the mural, you may feel like your eyeballs are going to fall out because you are focusing so hard.  Don't worry, they won't!  If you do feel yourself getting fatigued, just take a rest.
Once you have finished all of your coats of paint, wait for the paint to dry thoroughly.  Then, take a warm washcloth and gently erase the pencil lines that you made on the wall.  If they do not wipe off easily, brush a little of the base paint color over them to erase them.  

Your Weekend Project DIY is complete.  Time to stand back and admire your work!  I hope this tutorial helped you.


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