Paint a Mural in a Child's Nursery





Introduction: Paint a Mural in a Child's Nursery

My wife and I are expecting a girl. She found a giraffe mural in a magazine that we decided to try. It turned out pretty good. This instructable documents how we did it. It requires what some might call basic art skills like tracing and painting in the lines. Supplies:

Picture of image to be painted on wall
Overhead transparency
Carboard box
Colored chalk
Paint brush 1.5 or 2 inches wide
Small paint brushes - the artsy kind
Wall (duh)

Step 1: Choose Image

My wife found this picture in a catalog. The photo is a picture of the catalog.

Step 2: Trace Image

Trace your chosen image onto an overhead transparency.

Step 3: Projection

I made a makeshift projector using a box, a lamp and some tape. Project the transparency onto the wall. I found that using a light bulb without the "frosting" on the inside made for a clearer picture.

Step 4: Trace Projection

Trace the projected image on the wall with chalk. I used pink chalk since white chalk didn't show up at all and the color I wanted to paint was pink. You can barely see the pink chalk in the attached photo. Looking at the photo I realize you can't see it all all. Take my word for it, there's a chalk outline of the mural.

Step 5: Paint

Now that that the picture is drawn on the wall in chalk, paint. Just don't go outside the lines. This is the hard part. It takes a steady hand and patience. When doing touch ups I found these two things made a world of difference: 1) Solid lines with smooth edges and 2) A solid coat that does not allow the background color through.

Step 6: Finish

Finish painting and when the paint dries, wipe the wall down lightly with a clean rag. This will remove the chalk left behind from before. Now step back and marvel at your artistry.



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    37 Discussions

    Libraries are wonderful!!! You can borrow lots of devices and equipment from libraries, many even lend out overhead projectors just for these types of things!

    Thank You!!! We are moving and I was trying to figure out how to project the mural on the wall since I don't have an overhead projector. THANKS! :-)

    Thanks for such clear instructions and equally useful photos about

    wall mural. I bought some of these from:

    Awesome way to do a mural and save a bundle on a projector! Thank you so much for sharing!! I'm ready to try this!! Adorable wall you guys did too!

    Thanks for such clear instructions and equally useful photos. I searched other sites but they were nowhere near as good as this instructable!

    brilliant! Thanks for the projector hack, works perfectly... and for the torch i discovered an iPhone light is an LED and works perfectly!! No need to spend money on a torch or lightbulb! :-D

    This is a wonderful "pin". I am a retired teacher, used overhead projectors hundreds of times, but NEVER knew I could build my own. Thank you…we are expecting grand babies in March & May, so this has my "teacher" brain at work.


    1 reply

    There have been many questions about the projector. Some are having trouble with it. The projector is shown in step three with the image projected on the wall. I just tried this again using a transparency and a single LED flashlight with the lense/head removed so the small bulb was exposed. The image was very crisp from across the room.

    I've tried and failed. I used a sheet protector to trace the image on, made my box, and used a halogen desk lamp. The only time the image appears is when the posterboard I'm drawing on is 2 inches from the front of the box. Tracing paper didn't work at all. Has anyone else figured out any troubleshooting pointers?

    I am trying this right now and cannot get the image to show on the wall

    You can take any image to one of the office supply chain stores or a copy shop and they will make one for you. Its fairly inexpensive.. If you want just outlines, then as far as I know, you'll have to make that yourself as suggested.

    TIP: Depending on what you are looking for, GOOGLE your image, look for "cutouts" or "color pages" print them out, you can copy/paste multiple images on one sheet of paper to make your transparencies. Nine times out of ten, you can find just the outlined images.... :)

    When I would prepare the nursery at church for VBS or "just because" I would always make my transparencies. I would copy my images to regular copy paper, then I would take my blank transparencies, run them through my copier like I would the paper....PERFECT transparencies every time, no need to trace or strive for perfection. One year the theme was about "Underwater" and being that I had 4-5 year olds, I needed to bring it down to their level which ended up with "Nemo" I have to say, the kids and I were thrilled with the finished product and I had many many compliments.... :)
    ** I would like to stress using the thicker transparencies rather than the thin ones. The thinner ones will come out somewhat "melted" making the image blurred. Its worth investing extra pennies....! Also make sure you use the right side, but if you don't, they still work....!

    I realize this is an old post but if anyone could please help me my projector is not working I have no idea how to make this thing i put the box on the lamp and the picture in front and its not projecting at all the only time it shows up is when I put the picture really close to the wall please help I want it nice and big on my kids wall thanks so much!!!!

    1 reply

    I think I had that problem at first using a soft light bulb. I found a bare bulb helped make a clearer picture. Then I lined up the filament in the bulb so it was perpendicular with the plane of the transparency. I would guess the closest thing to a single point of light would be best. Maybe a flashlight with the lens removed would work better?

    Hmmm looks like my baby might get some palm trees and monkeys on his wall after all, thank you!!! The projector is brilliant!!!

    NICe! This is just what I was looking for. Well done. Especially the DIY projector because I was saying to myself "really do I have to find an overhead projector?"