Step 2: How to prepare the wall for your mural

Here’s the good news: painting an indoor mural is a lot easier than painting an outdoor mural!

Preparing a wall for painting a mural on doesn’t take much work as long as it is in good condition and chances are you can start painting straight on it.

A bold mural painted in a living room by bam.tron. It has a pastel green base with darker colours over.

A bold full wall mural painted in a living room by bam.tron. It has a pastel green base with darker colours over.

Just make sure the wall:

  • is wallpaper free. Unless you want the wallpaper to be part of the design it is best to paint straight on to the wall istelf. Wallpaper might distort when painted, show through the paints, etc.
  • doesn’t have mold or damp anywhere on it- you may think you can get away with it, but mold and damp can spread and will ruin your design.
    If you think your wall might have mold a quick test kit like IAQ Pro will help you out. If it is severe you will need to get professionals in. Mold can be dangerous untreated both for your home and lungs.
  • has no cracks or holes– small holes can throw shadows in your final painted mural so it is best to quickly fill them in. This wall repair patch kit contains everything you need if you don’t know where to get started. If you’ve never filled in little holes or cracks before then don’t worry, it is very easy and I’ve explained how to do it here
  • no rough patches or little bumps– this doesn’t mean the wall has to be perfectly flat and smooth but if there are bumps or any signs of major uneveness in the plaster or paint then they can cast shadows or distort your image like a crack or hole can. Just get a sheet of sandpaper and smooth them out, patching up with matching emulsion paint if you need to.
  • is clean! No bits of wallpaper, dust, food, crayon or other bits of debris. Give the wall a quick and gentle wipe with a soft sponge and slightly soapy warm water and let it dry.
A mural by my-name-is-annie. Painted on a white background the subtle colours still really "pop"

A mural by my-name-is-annie. Painted on a white background the subtle colours still really "pop"

I recommend painting on to a pale surface, white MATT emulsion preferably or for even better results a white primer, especially if your wall isn’t quite perfect. I can recommend Rust-Oleum’s Premium Latex Primer in white .

If you want your design to have a different color background than white I recommend trying to stick to paler more pastel colours. You can certainly use darker colours but you will have to make sure you use the best quality mural paints and don’t apply them sparingly to get a good full and vibrant coverage.

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