The Challenges of Painting My First Mural

Although my first mural turned out a success, the process was very, very challenging.

My first mural was made in my backyard. I had a wall built in my backyard so that I could accurately price and time a larger mural for a business. The design of my first mural was ⅓ of the total design that I made for the business. I had no idea how long the mural would take me for the total design or how much paint it would require. I had many, many challenges, but they were SOOOO worth it. I don’t think there was another way for me to learn about painting murals than actually painting one. There was so much trial and error. These trials and errors were so helpful for understanding the process of murals.

I had 5 major challenges:

1. Figuring out what supplies I would need

I had no idea what exactly I would need for supplies. I definitely bought some stuff that I didn’t even use for the mural. I bought a ton of big brushes thinking that because it was a big wall I would need big brushes. This was so not the case. I really only used 3-5 relatively small brushes. It makes sense because the areas that I used paint that could be brushed on were not super huge areas, smaller brushes that I already owned worked fine. I did use a bigger house painting brush once to try and speed up the process.

I also struggled deciding what parts could be spray paint and what parts could be regular house paint. That leads to my next challenge. 

If you are curious what kinds of supplies I used for the mural check out my post “Mural Supply List” and “My Top  5 Favorite Mural Supplies.”

2. Picking colors that matched my design in house paint

There are so many colors at home depot to choose from but honestly, I had a hard time finding color matches there. I was only able to find some colors I needed. The other colors I had to get in spray paint. I went to so many stores looking for paint colors and it was definitely hard to find exactly what I needed. I matched the colors as close as I could. I think the majority of the colors were spray paint. I had to get most in spray because a lot of my colors were fluorescent. 

I was not super good at spray paint so I knew this would be a challenge. I practiced spray painting for days in my backyard before trying it out on the wall. 

3. Spray painting

I did not have a ton of spray paint experience before I started this mural. But boy did I learn quickly. I would not say that I am a pro, but I definitely got the job done with lots of trial and error. Some areas were harder than others to spray paint. I had issues with over spray. I could fix that after the paint dried though so It wasn’t that bad, it just took me a little extra time to fix. 

Spray painting the black lines was a huge challenge. I had to clean up all of the black lines with a small black and black house paint. It looked so good once it was cleaned up a bit. 

I learned so much about spray painting because I literally had to. It was challenging but so helpful at the same time. If you want to paint murals, It would be worth it to learn how to spray paint. Spray paint can really speed up the painting process depending on the opaqueness of your colors.

4. Drawing the design on the wall freehand 

I didn’t have a projector in the beginning of the mural process. I did however get an old school  projector for the details inside the doors which helped a lot. I freehanded the mural well but it was so hard. It took a few hours to get the whole design up there. It wasn’t too complicated as I had a gridded reference image to help me, but, as it was my first time enlarging a design this big, it was super hard. Although it was challenging, now I feel super confident about my abilities to freehand any mural wall if I need to. 

5. Painting for hours so close to the ground

I had to spend a lot of time really close to the ground to paint the runes. It was so awkward on my body. I bought a mat for doing the bigger mural of the full design which should help a lot. I had used a blanket for my knees but it wasn’t that great. It took me hours to draw and paint the runes. I’m honestly surprised that it turned out okay. In the future, I think I will make mural designs that don’t have too much going on on the bottom. The runes look dope though, so painting so close to the ground again when I do the bigger version, will be so worth it.

If I could give one piece of advice to anyone who wants to learn how to paint a mural, it would be just paint a mural. Try it out, get a feel of it. That is really the best way to learn. I did lots of research about murals. I didn’t really find much information about it that was relevant to my project. Physically painting the mural was the best learning about murals that I got.

Let me know in the comments if you have any questions.

Mural Supply List

A list + descriptions of mural supplies to get you started and thinking.

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