Step 3: Ways of getting your image on to your mural’s wall

Now that you’ve chosen your image for your mural you have a few options as to how to transfer it on to your wall.

These are the 2 (and a half) best ways I’ve found:

  • Drawing- if you’re quite good at drawing and your design isn’t too complicated then you can take a pencil (or colored chalk if there aren’t too many fine details in the image) and lightly sketch the image on to the wall. Pencil rubs off with a standard eraser if you don’t paint over it and chalk dusts off.
  • Projection– Unlike drawing,you can easily reposition images and try them out on different parts of the room first. For this method you will need to scan in or photograph your image and get it on to your computer. Now you have two options:
    • A image traced on to a transparency by mmelville3. Now it needs projecting on to the mural's wall and tracing!

      A image traced on to a transparency by "mmelville3". Now it needs projecting on to the mural's wall and tracing!

      transparecies– if you have a suitable printer you can use transparencies like these copier transparency film sheets and print your image on to them, otherwise you can print your mural’s image on to paper and trace it with a permanent marker on to a transparency. Don’t make your mural’s image too small and don’t worry if your image spans more than one transparency. If you don’t have access to an old fashioned projector you can make one easily! You will need a large piece of cardboard. Fold it in four  parts lengthways and tape the meeting ends so you have a square “tube”. Tape the transparency to one opening. Draw the curtains or otherwise make sure the room is quite dark. Using a lamp without the shade (and prefereably with a bright, non-frosted bulb) or a very bright flashlight, project the image on to the wall.

      An example of a home made projector by mmelville3- just a box and a lamp. Position your image and sketch it on to your mural's wall.

      An example of a home made projector by "mmelville3"- just a box and a lamp. Position your image and sketch it on to your mural's wall.

      Another example of a home made projector, made by redmag. This one uses a flashlight instead of a lamp.

      Another example of a home made projector, made by "redmag". This one uses a flashlight instead of a lamp.

    • digital projector– I’ve found this to be the best way for the most crisp and focused images and getting the most flexibility when it comes to testing out many different images and layouts. Projectors can be a little pricey so if you don’t own one, maybe you have a friend you can borrow one from? It’s worth asking! Otherwise they are a fun little purchase and can be used to project movies, games or slideshows on your laptop on to outdoor walls when having late evening/night BBQs and parties, on to your living room or even your bedroom wall as an alternative to a traditional television.
      This little pocket projector even comes with a mini tripod and has good reviews.
      Now just connect your projector to your laptop and load up your mural’s images. Unlike transparencies you don’t have to print or draw out each image on to a transparency before seeing it on your wall, allowing you to test out many.
A professional projector used by amyrtw to project her Van Gogh image straight from her laptop on to her wall. A smaller, more basic digital projector will work just as well.

A professional projector used by "amyrtw" to project her Van Gogh image straight from her laptop on to her wall. A smaller, more basic digital projector will work just as well.

Now you have the image projected on to your wall in the position you want, you can lightly sketch the image in place.
amyrtw sketches her Van Gogh image on to her mural's wall. Take your time over this- the more accurate you are now, the better your mural will be.

"amyrtw" sketches her Van Gogh image on to her mural's wall. Take your time over this- the more accurate you are now, the better your mural will be.

It can be tempting to just start painting over the projection and skip this step, but you will have to do it in low light conditions and if the projector gets moved it can be hard to realign everything exactly as you had it.

The next post will go in to painting techniques and materials.

One Response to “Step 3: Ways of getting your image on to your mural’s wall”

  1. Helen Naylor February 14, 2013 at 5:13 pm #

    I love the home made projector idea. I would never have thought of that. I’m doing a mural soon and I might give it a try. Thanks!

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