Have you ever wanted to add murals to your walls? For most, your initial thought might have been one of the following: a) I have to hire an artist, or b) I have to buy ill-fitting, wallpaper-style murals and hang them. Either option requires dishing out some serious dough or settling for something that’s not what you had in mind.
Enter your own ingenuity. You can make your own mural-sized artwork for very cheap, creating exactly what you want, in the color you want and in the size you want. And you don’t need mad skills to do it, either.
1. Bunches of Birch
Birch tree murals are the perfect paint embellishment for any room. They look good virtually anywhere and don’t require Bob Ross’ level of tree-painting skills. Can’t draw a straight line? No problem. In other words, it’s pretty hard to mess up this project. Excited yet?
White birch trees look especially stunning against a light backdrop such as a soft gray wall, but your main wall color can be any shade you like. Feel free to paint darker trees on a lighter backdrop, too.
To get started, apply strips of painter’s tape somewhat vertically up the wall, one long strip for each side of the tree. Allow the tape to be a bit crooked at times. Plot out basic tree shapes, complete with branches, from floor to ceiling. (For more crooked edges, tear the tape edges from time to time.) The painting happens between the paint strips; think of the tape strips as the tree outline. Add thin, somewhat horizontal pieces of tape to create markings for the birch bark. Paint the trees with a small roller or a brush, then remove the tape after 20 minutes or when the paint is somewhat dry. Instant art!
2. City Lights
A city skyline mural inspires thoughts of an urban loft, no matter where you live. Create your own cityscape – real or imaginary – with strips of painter’s tape to outline each building. Recreate the skyline of your favorite city or make up your own, structure by structure. Make windows with squares of painter’s tape for some of the buildings, if you like. Paint within the skyline area, then peel away the tape once the paint is almost dry and you’ve got your own stylish cityscape.
For a minimalist version of the skyline, simply make the outline of the cityscape using washi tape, electrical tape or painter’s tape (or paint it on for a more permanent skyline).
3. Angled Accents
An accent wall adds epic levels of visual impact to a room. Turn one wall into a work of angular abstract art with relative ease – all it takes is strips of painter’s tape, a straightedge and a fresh paint color.
Apply one strip of tape diagonally on the project wall near a corner, working from the top or bottom to an adjacent wall. Apply a second strip of tape sticking straight out from the first at another angle. Continue adding tape strips across the wall, angling them randomly but keeping each strip as straight as possible. The wall vaguely resembles cracked glass at this point.
Paint over the tape with a roller and any color you choose, then peel the tape away when the paint is nearly dry. The original wall color shows where the tape lines once were.
For those into quirky decor (or those with children who love Spiderman), create a spider web design with the tape instead.
For lovers of Dutch modern design, go Mondrian by plotting out rectangles on a white wall with the tape. Fill in the rectangles with blue, red or yellow, leaving some white. Remove the tape, then paint straight line borders between each box with black paint.
4. Stick With It Situation
You can still have mural-style wall art without painting the walls, thanks to contact paper. It’s essentially the same as removable wall decal material, but you can layer colors and cut the material to any size you like to come up with your own gigantic art displays. Create your own tree murals with colorful leaves, make rose gold polka dots or triangles, or create an outer space scene, complete with aliens and rockets, for a young astronaut-in-the-making.
Use a large sheet of kraft paper to draw out your design ideas. Cut the paper out to use it as a template on the contact paper, then trace the designs onto the contact paper and cut them out. (If you prefer, you could draw your designs on the back of the contact paper, keeping in mind that they’ll show up reversed from the front.) Layer shapes of one color of contact paper over another larger piece to create details such as stripes or facial features.
5. Projecting Your Vision
To create a mural that’s big on style without a big budget, employ the muralist’s secret tool: a projector. Projecting allows you to capture even fine details with complete accuracy, which would be fairly hard to do if sketching them out freehand.
An opaque projector reproduces images with full color on the wall, such as a favorite family photo or a page from a comic book. Inexpensive artist’s or tracing projectors can be found in big-box stores for less than $30, or you can rent one. (An overhead projector, such as the type used in schools, will also work, but it requires the image to be printed on a clear transparency first.)
Print out an image to recreate on the wall, such as a the moon or a comic strip panel. Project the printout on the wall, adjusting the projector so it appears as the actual size you’d like for the mural. Dim the lights, trace the design in chalk or pencil, then turn the lights on and the projector off. Fill in the details with acrylic or latex paint. Show off your art skills once the paint dries.
Go put on your overalls and grab the few tools you need to tackle this DIY project. You’ll be more than happy with the results and how little of time it took to create!