10 Tips for Painting Your First Mural

Ten things I learned while painting my first mural.

This is the first mural I painted. It’s only one third of the actual design. I made this mural in an effort to quote a business for painting the full design. I had no idea what to charge or how long it would take for me to paint the full design for them, so I did a test. Painting the test wall was so important. I figured out how long the full design would take, the overall process, and helpful tips.

Here are 10 things I learned while painting my first mural: 

  1. Taking care of your body is so important.
Photo by Cliff Booth on Pexels.com
  • Mural work is really hard on the body.
  • It’s awkward to say the least. 
  • I had to do yoga twice a day to make my body feel kind of okay. 
  • Eating well really helped too. Eating well will help you have more energy for painting. 

2. It doesn’t need to look perfect up close.

  • Generally, murals are meant to be viewed from a distance. You don’t need to stress about the little things in the mural. Do your best and step back often to get a sense of what you are painting.
  • The more you step back the more you can get a feel of what can be a little less perfect upclose. 

3. Overestimate the amount of paint you think you need.

  • I had to go back to the art store so much for more spray paint. Get more than you think you need.

4. Chalk lines are awesome!

  • I used a chalk line for gridding out the wall and it helped me so much. 
  • Numbering my  grid on the top, bottom, sides, and middle was really helpful also.

5. Stepping back often is crucial.

  • Make sure to step back often while you are working to get a sense of what you are painting.

6. Pencil is perfect for an initial outline.

  • I thought I would need thick paint pens to outline because of the size of the wall but just pencil was all I needed.

7. Taking short breaks is crucial.

Photo by Artem Beliaikin on Pexels.com
  • Mural work is hard. It’s easy to get burnt out early on if you aren’t taking any breaks.
  •  I noticed that taking a short break every two hours was really helpful for me to be able to paint longer in a day.

8. Frog painters tape is just better than the blue stuff.

  • It just is, trust me.
  • It’s a little more expensive but totally worth it.

9. Using a mask while spray painting is crucial.

  • The times I was spray painting without a mask I felt really sick and had to stop early.
  •  Gloves are also really important. Paints are toxic, it’s best to protect your body as much as you can.

10. Certain paints require lots of layers.

  • Some of the spray paint I used was opaque enough but most of the colors had to be painted several layers (about 2-5 layers depending on the color).
  • I used Behr paint and Montana spray cans. The amount of layers varies color to color.

I truly hope these tips were helpful for anyone who wants to paint their first mural. Comment below if you have any mural related questions. 


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