Intro: Black Light Entryway Mural
For Halloween/Christmas I decided to make a large mural for my front entry way of my house. Since I did not want to paint the actual walls of my house, I opted to use several canvases connected together to have something I could take down after the season was over. It was a fun project and took about a month to finish working only a few hours a day. Supplies needed can easily be found at the local Home Depot, Craft Stores and Thrift Stores. I think I did the entire project for a little under $75. I had most of the materials on hand which made it a little less.
I have pictures of the steps for this build, but could not find them handy, but will update this instructable when I do. Sorry, I was able to get the end result posted for you to see.
Step 1: Step 1: Gathering Materials
You will need the following items to complete this project.
- UV reactive paints (You can test these at the craft store with a small handheld black light. I got mine from Fry's electronics for about $10.00) acrylic paints work best. Tempra paints are kinda runny and don't mix well. you can also buy special UV paint online, but it will definitely cost you more.
- Black light flashlight
- Various size pant brushes
- Light color or white paint
- Black paint
- Laundry detergent with whitener
- Small brackets 2 inches x 4 inches from Home Depot. (The number needed will depend on how many canvas you are joining together) these were about 50 cents each. I believe I used 12 total
- 1/4 inch screws (again number will depend on the number of canvas you are using. I used 3 per each attach point on the bracket to each canvas. I think I got 15 baggies of screws
- Screw gun
- Pencil or chalk
- 3 ft UV light. Depending on the size of the area you may need more than one.
- 3 black flat sheets
- Staple gun
- Measuring tape
- Canvases to fit the area you need
Step 2: Step 2: Determining Size
I measured the area I needed to cover using a tape measure and it was roughly 9 feet long by 7 feet high. I found 3 black flat sheets at the local thrift store for 99 cents each to cover the wall that the mural would go on. This created a black background that would not glow in the black light that would not distract from the mural. Next, I used staple gun to put the sheets up on the wall using a ladder to start from the top and work my way down to the bottom and to the end of the wall horizontally. You can overlap the sheets a little to make sure the wall behind it will not show through.
Once you have determined the size of your area for the mural, it is helpful to layout the various sized canvases you have to cover the area on the floor right side down so you will know which ones to connect together with the brackets. I used several different size canvases depending on what I could find at the thrift stores. Most I got for $5 or less by watching for the sale days and color tag discounts. This was great because if I bought some on the canvases new at the craft store the would have been quite a bit more for the larger ones I found. Reuse Repurpose, Recycle. Don't worry if there is something on them already. We will paint a base coat of a light or white color to make a clean slate to work with. You may have to work this like a jigsaw puzzle to get the canvases to fit to fill the wall. It is easier to do this on the floor since you can stand back and look at fitting it all to look a more uniform. I allowed for about an inch in between each canvas on all sides so they did not butt up to one another.
Step 3: Step 3: Putting the Canvases Together
I prepped all the canvases prior to screwing them together by using 3 to 4 coats of a light colored paint to have a fresh canvas. Most of the canvas had been previously used and some had darker colors that needed the 4th coat. You can use white paint to do this if you have it.
I found some flat 4 inch by 2 inch brackets at Home Depot that I was able to have my husband cut in half that had predrilled holes in them. There were 6 rows of 3 holes across the bracket. By cutting them in half I was able to use these to attach one canvas to another vertically. I kept the canvases face down from when I laid them out previously and used 3 screws for each canvas to secure the brackets to them using a screw gun. I had 4 sets of canvases connected together, usually 3 canvases vertically sometimes 4 depending on the sizes. I did not predrill the holes and got lucky it did not split the wood on the canvases. You can pre-drill the holes to help prevent splitting the wood on the canvases.
Step 4: Step 4: Hanging the Canvases
Once you have all of the canvases connected it is time to add an addition bracket to the top of each set so you can attach it to the wall. Using your ladder and screw gun hang the first set of canvases. remember that if you still have them upside down star with the canvas set on the far left on the floor will now be the set on the far right of the wall the mural will be on. I did not use a level and just eyeballed the sets of canvases on the wall. it is helpful to have a buddy help you on this step to check for evenness and to hold the canvases while you screw them to the wall. Again I left about an inch or so in between the sets to cover more area with fewer canvases.
Step 5: Step 5: Sketch, Paint Then Light
Using a pencil you can sketch our your design on the wall. This will help with placement and you can always go bigger if you need.
I found it easier to start with the lighter colors and then do the darker ones over. You can use your black light to see how they will glow as you paint. It is hard to find a white paint that is black light reactive. after a little research on line I found that if you add liquid or powered laundry detergent with a whitener in it this will make it glow. I can remember the ratio but ended up adding white paint to the detergent to get it to glow more. Once you have all of your UV colors done and blended the way you want you can go back with a black to fill in the negative space and the sides of the canvases where you can see them. Since I had gap in between each I did this for all of my canvases. Once the black areas are done hang up your 3ft black light to make it glow. It looks really cool and we got several compliments on it.
Have fun and I would love to see what you come up with.