The Magic of Murals
Decorating the Nursery or Playroom
Gina Shatney, an elementary school teacher from Philadelphia, knew exactly how she wanted to decorate her infant son’s nursery. She picked a cool color palette, but chose to brighten up the wall over her son’s crib with bold colors and friendly animal faces. Instead of trawling home décor stores only to have to settle for something less than what she had in mind, Shatney decided to do it herself by painting a mural.
Planing the Perfect Mural
The options for murals are limitless. You can create whimsical animals, a bright circus scene, or a simple pastel pattern. You’re only limited by the wall space available and your budget. By creating a mural herself, Shatney—who quickly says that she enjoys art but is not an artist—saved a lot of money. But even if you cringe at your lack of artistic acumen, there are lots of options when creating a fantastic mural that will enliven your child’s room.
Murals are a magical artistic medium. They can be big or small, complex or simple. Katie Reim (katiereim.com), a Philadelphia-area artist who specializes in children’s murals, says that a mural is “a unique piece of artwork in that it surrounds you in the space you’re in.” She adds, “It’s more than just a painting on the wall.”
Before doing anything else, consider what the theme or the subject of the mural will be. If your child is old enough, ask him or her to brainstorm with you about favorite hobbies, animals, or other images. A great source of ideas is the Internet. You can find thousands of clip art images to get ideas or even to use as part of your mural design. Shatney found her inspiration in five-month-old Timothy’s bedding set. “I decided that the jungle animal characters would be the perfect theme for his wall, and something fun to look at together and grow with over the years,” she shares. “I loved the simple lines of it and knew that they were something I could handle myself.” She plotted it out on one-inch grid paper and then sketched the animals directly on the wall, freehand.
If you’re not especially confident about your drawing skills, stick to fairly simple, two-dimensional pictures or designs that don’t require elaborate shading or perspective. Also, consider the number of colors the image will need. “Use smooth lines so you don’t have to do a lot of detail work and shadowing—that’s the stuff that really gets difficult,” confides Shatney. “You can do something attractively simple, like big geometric shapes or a flower design that can be really appealing to your infant.”
Supplies you’ll need:
- Image you would like to recreate
- Overhead projector and transparency film
- Soft pencils
- Paints: poster, acrylic, or wall paints
- Assorted size paintbrushes
- Ladder, depending on mural height
- Painter’s tape
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