Instructables

Paint a Mural in a Child's Nursery

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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
Marker
Lamp
Carboard box
Tape
Colored chalk
Paint
Paint brush 1.5 or 2 inches wide
Small paint brushes - the artsy kind
Wall (duh)
 
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Step 1: Choose Image

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

Step 2: Trace Image

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Trace your chosen image onto an overhead transparency.

Step 3: Projection

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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

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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

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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

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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.
dana leigh1 year ago
AM I MISSING SOMETHING? I DON'T SEE THE INSTRUCTIONS FOR MAKING THE PROJECTOR. CAN YOU GIVE MORE DETAILS. ALSO, DOES THE MAKE SHIFT PROJECTOR ENLARGE THE IMAGE LIKE A REAL PROJECTOR?
mmelville3 (author)  dana leigh1 year ago
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.
amg1010801 year ago
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?
Kbm1231 year ago
I am trying this right now and cannot get the image to show on the wall
amiii1011 year ago
How do you make a makeshift projector?
sleeder2 years ago
Any good tips to make transparencies???
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!!!!
mmelville3 (author)  cligmercurio2 years ago
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?
Elaina742 years ago
Hmmm looks like my baby might get some palm trees and monkeys on his wall after all, thank you!!! The projector is brilliant!!!
Fader4D82 years ago
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?"

THANKs!
jscott312 years ago
I used a page protector from a binder and drew the image on with permanent marker. Now I just need to find a box....
jbrecken2 years ago
Looks like Mama Giraffe had twin babies. Isn't it tempting fate to paint that on the nursery wall when you think you're only expecting one?
tmoose2 years ago
For transparencies I would suggest using permanent marker on laminating paper or maybe wax paper? I'm not sure how wax paper would work but I know laminating paper would work well.
zeechan4 years ago
I would have never thought of making a projector like that! Thanks for the idea. Makes it so much easier to trace on the walls to paint now. ;)
Tamdort4 years ago
I like your projector idea,I was thinking to buy on.
thank's
really groovy-no "cookie cutter" looking mural...sweet!
PeckLauros5 years ago
I just like that!!!!
Chico5 years ago
Yes! Kudos on the projector! For my instructable I found an old-fashioned overhead projector at the MIT flea-market for $25 and then sold it on craigslist when I was done. But yours is quick-and-dirty, cheap, and perfectly adequate for the job! Congratulations!
mmelville3 (author) 5 years ago
I had no idea the projector would steal the show! Thanks for your comments.
misemono5 years ago
The Makeshift projector is really what makes this a great instructable. With little,to no, technical knowledge, this is an incredibly easy, yet professional looking decoration idea. I think it should be given an award due to it's simplicity.
jeff-o5 years ago
Nice work with the projection box! A halogen spotlight would also produce a nice, crisp image. The most useful place to find one is in a halogen desk lamp.
Instead of tracing the pic you can have it printed onto the transparency if you wanted, of course it's the lazy method.
The projector is great....I was going to do this with a digital projector with some pics from my computer but I didn't get around to buying the digital projector so.......
I like that a lot =]

sgsidekick5 years ago
I LOVE the makeshift projector! Who needs to spend $35-$55 for one when a pizza box and bare bulb will work! That is also a nice job on the mural. Baby Girl is sure to love it!
canida5 years ago
Looks great! And the projector hack is awesome - who has a real overhead projector anymore?
mg0930mg5 years ago
Very cool. I would do a peter pan one, myself. I don't know what I would do, though. I don't have an overhead.