How to Paint a Wall Mural

Tips and Tricks for Painting a Mural

Bedroom wall mural painted with moon and sand dune landscape

The Spruce / Christopher Lee Foto

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 1 - 2 days
  • Total Time: 2 - 3 days
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $200

You’ll be inspired to paint your own after learning just how easy it is to paint a wall mural. If you’re looking to add a big impact to a wall, adding a mural is the way to go. It’s a statement piece that will grab every visitor’s attention. It’s a big project to take on because of the amount of painting but the results are going to be fantastic. And don’t think that murals are outdated, many mural designs are fresh and modern.

Safety Considerations

Just like with any painting project, you should protect yourself. This means working in a well-ventilated area and wearing a respirator if needed. Protective eyewear is also a good idea, particularly if you’re doing any sanding before you paint.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Pencil
  • Drop cloths
  • Rag


  • Paper
  • Dishwashing soap
  • Acrylic primer
  • Acrylic paint or latex paint
  • Acrylic varnish (optional)


  1. Plan Out Your Design

    What type of mural would you like to have? Should it be realistic or more abstract? Make a quick sketch of a design that you would like to see turned into a mural. If you’re not sure of your design, you may want to decide which wall it will go on first and then plan it out from there.

  2. Select a Location

    Where would you like to paint your mural? Bedrooms and living rooms are popular choices but other areas like kitchens and hallways can be ideal places for a mural. Look for a large area of the wall that’s going to be big enough for your design.

  3. Prepare for Painting

    After you’ve selected which wall you’ll be working on, you can start getting ready to paint. Now’s the time you want to move furniture out of the way and cover anything you can’t move with drop cloths.

  4. Clean the Wall

    It’s important to start with a clean surface so the paint you apply adheres to the wall without any issues. Use a mild dishwashing soap along with some warm water to clean the wall with a rag where the mural is going to go. If you see any grease or stubborn dirt on the wall you may need to use a commercial cleaner to get it off the wall. After you’ve cleaned the wall once, do it one more time to make sure that it’s well cleaned and ready to go. Allow the wall to completely dry before moving on to the next step.

  5. Prime the Wall

    Priming the wall is a step you don’t want to skip. Not only does primer help cover up what was on the wall previously, but it also helps the paint adhere to the wall. Use an acrylic primer on the wall, carefully covering the entire surface of where the mural is going to be.

  6. Draw Out Your Design

    Take out the sketch you made and divide it into a grid. Each grid should be 1-inch square. Count the number of squares going vertical and horizontal. This is the same number of squares that you should be using as a much larger grid on the wall. This will help keep everything in proportion. Using a pencil, transfer your grid and the design to the wall. It’s not important to get details drawn on quite yet, focus on the large areas that need to be painted.

  7. Choose Your Paint

    There are several different types of paints you can choose here, and I recommend choosing acrylic paint for smaller areas and detail work. Latex paint works perfectly if you’re covering a large surface. Choose a paint with a matte or eggshell finish to avoid glares on the mural.



    Are you painting a mural on an outside wall? If so, you’ll want to choose a water and weatherproof paint such as latex, acrylics, or spray paint. Seal with a coat of varnish to protect against the elements.

  8. Painting the Mural

    Use a paintbrush or roller to apply the paint in the area you’d like it. Start with the large areas that need to be painted, such as the background. Switch to a smaller paintbrush when it comes time to add details to your mural. Refer to your sketch when adding the details, penciling in before you paint when needed.

  9. Sealing the Mural (Optional)

    If your mural is in a high-touch area such as a kid’s room, you’ll want to use an acrylic varnish to cover the work and protect it from greasy handprints. Allow the mural to dry completely before moving any furniture back against the wall.