Mural Painting

42 thoughts on “Mural Painting”

    • Hi Marika – Usually with outdoor brick we recommend first making sure the surface is solid, and any missing mortar or crumbling surface be repaired using the proper commercial products. After that use a masonry sealer to help reduce the absorbency of the brick and prepare it for painting. On top of that apply a compatible high quality exterior latex primer. Once all of that is done, you are ready to paint! On a textural surface like brick we typically recommend Fluid Acrylics and would strongly suggest you read and follow our guidelines covered in this Tech Sheet on Exterior Murals – especially the recommended color list:

      http://www.goldenpaints.com/technicalinfo/technicalinfo_murals

      Once the mural is complete you then want to apply an Isolation Coat and a final UV Protective Varnish. Those are touched on in the Mural tech Sheet and you can find more information in the following Mural Resource Guide:

      http://www.goldenpaints.com/technicalinfo/technicalinfo_muralresources

      We hope this helps and if you need anything else or have further questions, give us a call at 800-959-6543 or email help@goldenpaints.com

      Reply
  1. I would like to do a painting for my outdoor kitchen that won’t receive any rain or sunlight onto it. Should I prime a wood product to paint on or can I use an artist’s canvas? I will be using acrylics.

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  2. I want to paint a mural on the side of an old garage but it’s moldy and been painted years ago. Should I power wash and primer it first?

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    • Hello Alicia.
      Thank you for your questions. To answer your question: YES! You’ll need to make sure the surface is clean from mold, grime, dirt and loose paint as best as possible before applying primer and paint. Start with selecting an exterior commercial primer intended for exterior acrylic (“latex”) housepaint. Their instructions will guide you as to their best practices for surface prep. You might also want to consult with local professional house painters that have worked on similar building surfaces. Local painters tend to have a better idea of what works and what doesn’t. Depending on the project size and importance, you may wish to ask them to check the site for you and possibly do the prep work. This can be extremely valuable for a muralist because it 1) allows you to not have to deal with surface prep and priming 2) allows you to focus on creating the artwork instead of preparatory work, and 3) gives you access to their scaffolding or cherry picker equipment. On a larger project, these companies can make sure the surface is sound and are more aware of local codes for painting in public spaces safely. If this project warrants this level of service, work with them to learn what products they are using and the process, as it can serve you greatly for future projects.
      – Mike Townsend

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  3. Two art teachers working for a non prifit art school would like to create a mural on the ground. Our Bike Rack Mural will have heavy foot traffic. 1. How do we set up the area to keep any rain and wind from getting on it? 2. What extra measures should be taken to keep our mural from being damaged by foot traffic and bikes.

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    • Hello Julie!
      Sorry for the delay in response to your questions. Ground murals are difficult to take care of, and protective coatings do not offer much extra durability than the paint already would have built into it. That said, there are a couple of things you may be able to do. First, the surface needs to be power-washed to remove as much dirt, grime, oil and salts. There are commercial acid-etching coatings to further prepare the surface of masonry materials such as concrete and brick. Masonry conditioners are then applied to prime the surface for painting. Ideally, use a product that is made from the manufacturer of the exterior housepaint you plan to use. The masonry sealer products (an example is Ben Moore’s UltraSpec line). It is possible they can advise a paint to use between their products, or possibly they can add colorant into their product to use as the primer and paint in one coat, and then a flat clear product to finish it. However, don’t expect them to be able to provide much assistance for a mural on a sidewalk path. I doubt this a standard application for them. I would think your best chance for success is to appreciate you are asking the paints to be used in a very demanding application, and plan for regular repainting and touch up. After all, even road stripe traffic line paints need repainting every few years. This makes keeping excellent records and paint swatches on hand for this maintenance. Keep leftover paints in tightly sealed containers in an indoor temperature-stable location. If you have further questions, please contact us at help@goldenpaints.com or 1-800-959-6543
      – Mike Townsend

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  4. What recommendation would you have for painting an outdoor mural on Granite. Would a leathered granite surface or a honed granite work better?

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  5. Great, helpful article! I am going to be painting a mural in an indoor (heated) poolhouse above a saltwater pool. The pool is not filled yet, and hasn’t been for years, as new owners are bringing a fun old location back to life. The walls are drywall and have already been primed and painted, but should I re-prime them for the mural? I was planning on using acrylic paints, any type you recommend? Thanks!

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    • Hello CF.

      Thank you for your comments. If the existing paint surface looks to be in great shape then you shouldn’t need to recoat the wall unless you’d prefer to start with a new base color that better suits your mural. Otherwise, a good wipedown with a sponge and water (with just a touch of mild dish detergent to help the water remove any grime or fingerprint oils, etc.). Paint with acrylics as desired. I would suggest Heavy Body Acrylics extended with our Glazing Liquid which adds a little working time for painting details and blending. Afterwards, apply a good sealing coat to reduce moisture from getting in once the pool gets refilled. “Clear Protectors” are commercial housepaint products used in bathrooms and kitchens to seal housepaints and decorative paints. They are water based and easy to apply. If you want to use a polyurethane, make sure it’s non-yellowing and brush apply to avoid generating bubbles and a stipple pattern. – Mike Townsend

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  6. What recommendations do u have from prep to seal for a mural project of concrete floor in a 2 car garage of a residential home indoor with bay door opening to outside.

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    • Hello Raymond.
      Thank you for contacting us with your questions. A commercial clear sealer is your best bet for long wear. There are several on the market that are acrylic or acrylic/polyurethane or pure polyurethane-based, such as Seal-Krete http://www.seal-krete.com/clear-seal-concrete-sealer.html

      I found some good information about their use for decorative applications: https://www.concretenetwork.com/products-sealer/acrylic.html . In this they state that you can use the product over decorative applications, probably an initial base coat, then the mural, then a final coat. After this cures, floor waxes serve to further product the mural. The waxes should be removed and reapplied as needed to reduce the wear of the decorative mural layer.

      – Mike Townsend

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  7. Brilliant article! I was wondering if you knew a technique for me to paint the inside of a plastic perspects bike shed at my school. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!! 🙂

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    • Hello Patt.

      Thank you for your kind words and questions. I believe you mean “Perspex” which is a brand of acrylic sheeting? This surface should accept acrylic paints well, with a couple of caveats.

      Paint the interior of the plastic, as heavy rains or standing water are very likely to compromise the paint layer and it will likely peel from the surface given enough time under these conditions.

      Prepare the plastic before painting. It’s likely the plastic surface has hand oils, smudges and grime on it, so get some 70% isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol and use a soft cloth such as clean tee shirt fabric to wipe the surface down well. This alcohol should not cause any damage to the plastic.

      After the artwork is complete, apply the MSA Varnish or a suitable clear EXTERIOR topcoat. There are some good waterbased topcoats available but test to assure it is very clear and not just untinted. Some of these clears are more of an amber tint, so make sure before using them on a project.

      Please realize that good adhesion doesn’t mean the paint or varnish are impervious to scratching or scraping. After the project is done, document all of the products, and possibly even create a set of “touch up” paints in small amounts for later repairs (all depends on how “permanent” you expect the work to be).

      Let us know if you have any other questions!

      – Mike Townsend

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  8. When using Golden fluids for an exterior mural on new plywood, How many square feet per oz will the fluid acrylic cover? Can the Golden acrylic heavy body be thinned for mural application? If so, what is the coverage area for this paint?

    Thanks for this info.
    Sally

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    • Hi Sally.
      Thank you for contacting us with your questions.
      As a general rule, most products will achieve in the neighborhood of 300 to 400 square feet per gallon. That works out to an average of 2.73 square feet per ounce (350sq.ft./128oz).

      This would also be a good estimation for the wood primer (commercial, acrylic based housepaint primers from companies such as Sherwin Williams, Valspar, and Ben Moore). If you extend the paint with a medium, you can factor this addition as well. For example, if you blend 1 quart of GOLDEN GAC 200 with 3 quarts of Heavy Body Acrylic, you’ll end with with a gallon of paint that is a bit thinner and you’ll also have added a fair amount of hard acrylic binder which improves adhesion and film strength.

      Please let us know if you have any other questions!

      – Mike Townsend

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  9. I was surprised that there would be a big paint selection for mural paintings. It makes sense that it would vary depending on the metal you put it on! It would be nice to hire a professional to do a commission for you because they would know all of this information.

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    • Hello Kate.
      I would not assume that every artist, even those that have done some murals, know the best pigments for use in exterior murals. Many believe that just because a color is listed as “ASTM LIGHTFASTNESS I” it is automatically a good choice for outdoor exposure. Our research is ongoing and before starting a new mural, it is a good idea to review the recommended colors first.
      – Mike Townsend

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  10. Hi! We are painting a mural using acrylics on inside steel doors that were primed with commercial grade/outdoor primers. It’s all done, but we wanted to protect it to preserve it for years to come. Is the varnish clear and does it turn yellow with time? Thanks for all and any advice. Great article!

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    • Thank you Anneliese.

      The varnish doesn’t yellow from age or UV light, so the MSA Varnish is a great option for long term protection. We would suggest doing a bit of practice using it – thinning it with the MSA Solvent as needed, trying different brushes, etc – to minimize any potential issues. This is a great picture varnish for acrylics, oils and other media.

      – Mike Townsend

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  11. Where is this?: (See Mural Quick Reference Guide, page 11.)

    I’m painting a Mural on panels to attach to a very large building I’m probably going to use three panels. My questions are: 1. what type of panel do you recommend and 2. do you think acrylic would work well? And 3. what kind of sealant?

    I’ve only done indoor mirrors on walls and such never outside, I want it to last THANK YOU VERY MUCH!

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    • Hi Cally.
      Thank you for contacting us with your questions.
      1) M.D.O plywood is a great option for exterior murals. Aluminum surfaced “DiBond” is an excellent choice as well.
      2) Yes, acrylic can be used for exterior murals, when sufficiently primed with a “DTM” bonding primer.
      3) After the artwork is complete, allow several days for the paint to dry, then apply an “Isolation Coat” over the acrylic paint, allow that to dry overnight, and then you can apply the GOLDEN MSA Varnish as the final topcoat.
      Please let us know if you have any other questions!

      Regards,

      Mike Townsend

      Reply
  12. Hi,
    I’m looking to paint some brand pieces of a business onto a corrugated metal building: any tips for application here or transfer of images on this tricky surface? As far as I know, the building was never painted, but came with a color (i’m ignorant to the manufacturing of corrugated metal, no idea how they are pigmented/what kind of paint is used etc)- would this be treated the same as the above metal prescription? Just clean and apply Primer/paint? Would primer be totally necessary, or would latex paint be sufficient? I realize this is mostly about golden paints, but are you aware if any spray paints would adhese to this type of surface (with or *ideally* without primer)?

    Thank you!

    Reply
    • Hello Ellen.
      Thanks for your questions.
      It’s very likely the corrugated metal has been “Powdercoated”, which means the paint was applied via electrostatic charge. You probably do not need to apply a “Direct to Metal” (DTM) bonding/primer, but it would be a good idea to mask off the area you intend to paint, then sand it evenly to create a dull surface. Wipe the sanding dust with isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol and then re-tape. Alcohol will eat at the masking tape adhesive so remove the tape first, then clean and let evaporate, and retape the design. After that is done, use an “Acrylic Enamel” spray paint such as Duplicolor or Rustoleum. That should be all that you need to do but be sure to read the labels carefully on the cans and follow their prep recommendations. If you are able to do a smaller test piece that would be a great idea!
      – Mike Townsend

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  13. Hi.

    We hold a yearly mural making event, using clean wood panels that are primed. Unfortunately, it misted throughout the day and while we did our best to allow the murals to dry before glossing, some moisture was trapped. Additionally, the murals stay outdoors for several weeks before being brought into storage. We are taking them out of storage to hang indoors, however, sections of the paint have separated from the wood in various areas, mainly where the two attached sections of wood meet. Most murals are done in acrylic paint, some in spray paint, the latter having the most damage. The paint is all in one piece, the image is clear, just separated from the panel. WHAT DO YOU RECOMMEND to fix, without being able to have them re-painted completely? We have been recommend to use some type of adhesive and put clamps on the wood but nothing specific. Thank you!

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    • Hello Jessica.
      Thank you for contacting us with your questions.
      Several questions come to mind:
      What was the primer used on the wood?
      What type(s) of spray paints were used?
      Did the paint layers separate from the primer, or did the paint AND primer lift from the surface of the bare wood?
      What product(s) was used for the “glossing”?

      Not being able to see the damage you are dealing with it’s hard to say what would be your best remedy, but assuming you would be able to slip some acrylic gel under the now fully dry pieces, you could potentially re-attach the separated pieces. If we need to take this offline, that would allow some images to be sent to us for review. Please send an email to “help@goldenpaints.com” and we’ll have a better understanding of what is going on.

      – Mike Townsend

      Reply
  14. Hi,
    This article has helped me a lot. I’m painting my first outdoor mural on a concrete slab. I have a few questions…

    1. Would you still suggest that I use GAC 200 mixed in the heavy body acrylic paints? On golden’s website it says to only use on nonporous surfaces; however, concrete is porous (although it will be primed).

    2. I’m painting two areas, 6×7 feet (42 sq ft) and 4.5 x 7.5 feet (33.75 ft). What size of MSA varnish would be enough to cover both of these areas? (knowing that I will dilute with a 3:1 ratio?)

    Reply
    • Hello Caitlin.

      Thanks for your questions and kind comments.

      The mixture of GAC 200 and Heavy Body Acrylics should be fine on exterior-primed concrete. Adding the GAC 200 is a great way to extend and also strengthen the paint layers.

      For product estimate purposes, you can use 100 square feet per quart (32 ounces) to help figure out how much paint, primer and sealing coats you’ll require. You have about 75 square feet total, and many layers will require 2 layers, so use 150 sq.ft. as your amount, and better to round up when working on some texture. So, if you use 200 square feet as your number, you’ll need 2 quarts of commercial primer (most likely best to just get a gallon) and then your paint amounts can total up to the 2 quart (64 fluid ounces). You can use a grid system of a small maquette – with 1 square inch equalling 1 square foot – and then tally up the number of squares for each color. If you blend the GAC 200 in, that also counts towards the total amount. For example, you need 50 square feet of “blue”. That’s 16 ounces with 12 ounce of paint and 4 ounces of GAC 200 (for a 3:1 ratio). Same with the varnish. The MSA Varnish amounts are also 2 quarts, but you need to thin it. 2 quarts of varnish and 1 quart of the MSA Solvent will assure you have enough for the project and any leftover varnish may be used on interior artwork such as oil paintings or acrylic paintings.
      – Mike Townsend

      Reply
  15. Hi again,

    I’ve decided to paint the exterior mural on dibond aluminum panels. The company that I’m ordering them from sells the panels already painted white. Will I need to use any primers since it’s already been painted? (Knowing that the panels will be placed outside)

    I’m also planning on ordering golden heavy body paints and the MSA varnish to use on the ACM, would you recommend these paints and the golden varnish?

    Reply
  16. Hello, I am doing a large mural that covers the entire wall, its a fresh cement finish, I will use a acrylic paints, breathable Primer first, then 2 coats of egg shell sheen, then a scumble glaze acrylic, then a varnish to protect. I noticed this Note on your information above.

    Note: Breath ability is important to the successful adhesion of acrylic products. If a mural encompasses an entire wall made of a masonry product, it is advisable to apply thin coats of MSA Varnish. This will allow interior condensation and evaporating solvents and out-gassings to escape (some artists recommend leaving an uncoated breathing space near the edge of the mural as well). If this is not done, it may lead to premature adhesion failure between the coatings and the substrate.

    Does this mean thin coats of varnish on the final layer, and uncoated layer around the boarder, I can’t really leave and uncoated areas on the middle of the wall. any other advice?
    Many thanks,
    Lucan
    P.s Love your help and advice.

    Reply
    • Hello Lucan.
      Thank you for your questions.
      Your application sounds fine, as you are working with breathable products and they are relatively thin applications. The approach is to leave the very bottom open, which is nearest to the ground. Water tends to find the easiest way out of the wall. Gravity and a more porous lower area facilitate drying, instead of the water trying to push its way out of the mural. This doesn’t need to be a large area and it is more important of the wall is coated with tighter products like “Drylok” which is a coating meant to prevent water from seeping through cementitious walls.
      Let us know if you need any other details!
      Regards,
      – Mike Townsend

      Reply
  17. It’s good to know that muralists need to practice a sound methodology to ensure the project’s success. My brother has been telling me about how he wants to paint a mural soon. I’ll share this information with him so that he can look into his options for professionals who can help him with this.

    Reply
    • Hello Suzanne.

      Thank you for your questions. This is a bit of a complex subject. Galvanized metal is difficult to paint because it’s coated with a layer of oil to prevent white rust. Alkyd and oil-based paints may seem to stick at first, but the oily layer eventually “sheds” the paint. Beside this, the zinc content of the galvanized coating reacts with paint’s binder to create a film that causes the paint to peel [source: Sherwin-Williams]. Therefore, it’s important to follow the correct procedure when painting galvanized metal.

      Here’s what you’ll need to paint galvanized metal so that the paint won’t peel off [source: Do It Yourself]:

      Ammonia
      Heavy duty sandpaper, 240 grit
      Metal primer – It should be listed as a Direct To Metal (usually listed as “DTM) Bonding Primer, such as this one from Sherwin Williams https://www.sherwin-williams.com/homeowners/products/dtm-bonding-primer
      Tack cloths

      Here’s how to paint galvanized metal:

      Wash the metal thoroughly with hot soapy water.
      Rinse the metal and let it dry completely for several hours.
      Rinse the metal with a weak solution of water and ammonia and allow it to dry.
      Sand the entire metal surface thoroughly.
      Wipe the entire surface with tack cloth.
      Apply the primer as directed, covering the entire surface of the metal.

      The above advice is general. When you obtain your DTM primer, carefully read their directions as to their ideal preparation method, as it can change from product to product. After the primer has cured, you can then use acrylic paints to create the imagery. The most current color suggestions and topcoat products are listed in our Mural Information Sheet, located here:https://www.goldenpaints.com/technicalinfo/technicalinfo_murals

      Regards,
      – Mike Townsend

      Reply
  18. Very informative page! Perhaps you can offer advice on my project. I’m painting a natural PA fieldstone to create a headstone for my pup. Originally I did not expect it to be very elaborate, as I haven’t picked up a paintbrush in years. I chose rustoleum enamel since it was on hand and i knew it would be fairly durable, even though its intended use is not on stone. I primed first–just the area for the painting, leaving the rest of the stone bare. Well I ended up with a beautiful portrait of my pup, much to my surprise I can still paint! So now I would like to preserve this as long as possible. It will be outdoors. Had I known from the start how nice it would turn out I would have done preliminary research on paints. The rustoleum blended wonderfully and although much quicker drying than artist oils, the colors look great. My local hardware store recommended spar urethane spray on the entire stone. I have ruled this out due to stone breathability issues, but would it be appropriate to use over the painted area and perhaps a 1-2″ border around it? Or should I do the isolation coat/MSA varnish as mentioned in the article? Thank you in advance for any advice you can offer!

    Reply
    • Hello, Kristen.

      Thank you for your questions and comments. You should not use an isolation coat of acrylic on enamel paints, just apply the MSA Varnish. You can apply 1 or 2 coats by brush, but just apply it to the painted section of the headstone. Leave the rest of the rock uncoated as to allow moisture to migrate out of the rock over the seasons. Spar Marine Varnishes should not be used on painted works, not because they are not durable, but because they are notoriously amber and only become deeper over time. Great on bare wood, but bad news for painted pieces!

      Let us know if you have any other questions!

      Regards,

      – Mike Townsend

      Reply
  19. hi michael.Love the page has so much info . i wanted to ask if theres anyway i can paint a mural on Composite Fencing? do i need a specific type of primer?

    thank you

    Reply
    • Thank you Jordan.
      This is a difficult question from our end, but I would start with the manufacturer of the fencing, and see if they can suggest primers meant for it. Some of this fencing can contain HDPE plastic, which is extremely difficult to get paints and even primers to adhere to. Look for exterior bonding primers meant for plastic, if you just want to try something.
      – Mike Townsend

      Reply
  20. Thank you for sharing that the location of where the mural painting will be painted will impact the artist’s methodology. My friend was asking how an artist will execute having an indoor wall painted as he would very much like to have a wall in her dining area painted with a mural. After reading your post, I will advise my friend to consult with the artist directly so that she will know how the artist will paint the wall.

    Reply

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