One "oops" I've found is that Sharpie eventually bleeds through, so I'd
recommend using a black paint pen, just pencil, or use a small brush to
do the initial outline.
At a mural class I took a couple years ago, they also recommend having
everyone paint everywhere on the mural, not just "pick a spot" that way,
they all take ownership of the whole thing, not saying "I painted THAT
star" type of thing. Our mural ended up turning out NOTHING like we had
planned, but it was a pleasant surprise. It just evolved.
I have done one mural with students, two students did most of the work,
with my guidance, and the help of a couple other students. I haven't
been brave enough to do one with a regular size class yet.
The mural we made was moveable, due to the fact that we didn't have an
art room at the time, and would the following year, we didn't want it
getting painted over or in some other room. We made a 2x4 frame, and
stretched sheets over it, primed with Gesso. Worked pretty well,
although we had to use two sheets, and I wish we had sewn the seam on a
machine rather then by hand, it pulled in spots, but overall, we were
very pleased with it.
Brookings Middle School
From: email@example.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Sunday, November 26, 2006 6:32 PM
To: TeacherArtExchange Discussion Group
Subject: [teacherartexchange] wall mural
I have made many murals. I would use acetate first to trace the logo and
the other information. Use a Sharpie pen.
The size of the drawing should be about 5x7.
You are going to put this on an overhead projector and project the
images on the wall. You will trace these with a Sharpie right on the
Then you can paint in the image using acrylic paints. Use good quality
paints. Wash and prime the wall before you paint and finish with a coat
of acrylic varnish (non-yellowing). Let the paint set up three weeks
before you varnish. After you varnish, wait a few weeks again and try
washing a small area of the mural to see how well it will withstand
cleaning. Weak ivory soap and water with a soft cloth should work well.
Before you start the project, you (the teacher) should do a tryout to be
sure the system described to transfer the image to the wall will work.
It will be best if you have a good sized space where you have room to
enlarge the image enough on the wall. A foyer is best.
Draw a simple shape and see how the overhead projects it. How close do
you have to come to the wall? How far back can you go? Trouble shoot.
How many students? I usually have a couple at a time. Be careful if they
have to climb. this is a safety issue. The safest is to have an actual
scaffolding, but if not, risers can work. No chairs on top of desks, no
ladders. You should check with your maintenance workers and your
principal or AP what system will work for you.
Don't proceed if the safety issues are not worked out.
Another safety issue is passing times. Painting should stop completely
if students are passing through the area during a change of class.
Mess is not a problem if you give the paint out in small containers with
lids. Students planning to paint should be wearing clothing that is not
precious, or they should wear coverings. I use large trash bags and ask
students to wear short sleeves.
Accidents can happen, but if you explain that the paint is indelible
- permanent, students are usually very careful.
If you have many students you can divide the numbers by task.
Everyone will want to paint, but you need to find out who can paint
carefully and slowly so no do-overs. You will probably need two or three
coats of paint for a rich and permanent finish, so you will probably
have enough work to include all your students.
If the wall is cement block, I like to paint a background color, as well
as the main images.
It's important that you control the project. Too many painters at once
can get chaotic. But everyone should have a chance!
If this works, you might be able to paint other kinds of murals.
Murals are great. What an opportunity you have.