Introduction: How to Paint an Orange Sunset Wall Mural Using Shadows
I always wanted a scenic painting stretching across my entire wall. My room is painted in an ugly orange so why not make the best use of it and paint an awesome sunset scene from firewatch on my wall.
Step 1: Chosing the Location
All things considered, projecting images using shadows won't work outside in the sunlight, unless you either do it at night or use some ultra powerful torch.
Figuring out how to transfer an image onto my wall
Best course of action would be to borrow or buy a cheap projector, trace the picture with a pencil on the wall and paint inbetween the lines. Me being a poor student, decided to use shadows. The idea is a very basic one, similarly to a puppet show I'll use a light, a box and a cardboard outline to project the basic outline of the image onto a wall.
Step 2: Making Sure You Have Enough Paint
The simplest way to see the paint can you're buying has enough paint to cover the wall is to measure the surface area of your planned mural and comparing it to how much.
Step 3: Painting the Base Layer
My room is a very ugly orange color, so I decided to paint the whole room while doing this. You want your base color to be the same color as your sky or whatever the brightest part of your mural is. This is so the mural will blend nicely with the rest of the walls that don't have anything painted on it.
Step 4: Making the »projector« Lightbox
I needed to make a contraption that will allow me to project the images onto the wall in a somewhat reliable way that wont move inbetween me switching the layers. I did this by just making a small cardboard box, duct taping it to my chair and making a small pocket to hold the light source behind it. The light source being my smartphone. All the lamps in my house were multi bulb torches, which projected multiple shadows on my wall. The only thing in this house that didn't have this sort of a setup was my smartphone.
The lightbox has nothches in front of it, making swapping layers easy, and more importatnly, not move the box and the shadow.
You might want to make your lightbox yourself instead of using my desing, since your phone might be bigger or smaller than mine.
Step 5: Preparing the Image for Projecting
I used a wallpaper from firewatch as the template for my mural. I love the art style and the game itself and I thought it would be cool to have something from it on my wall. And, well, my room is orange.
So I opened the desired image in gimp and got to seperating the layers. The picture I was using already had a screen printed sort of an art style, so this was fairly easy. I just selected the layers of the image using the »select by color tool« then copy pasted them to another layer. The objects closest to us are the darkest color, the objects slightly further away are a lighter color and so on.
Step 6: Projecting the Image
Once you seperated the image into layers, it's time to print them out. I dont have a printer, so I just placed a thin sheet of paper onto my monitor and taced arround the edges. I then placed the layer into the lightbox, placed my phone in the pocket and started placing masking tape arround the edges of the shadow.
Step 7: Painting the Layer
This is a very straightforward part of the instructable, just chose a brush of whatever size you want, take the paint and start painting the layer. Once you're done, just keep repeating this and the previous step until you get the desired result. Make sure you let the previous layer to completely dry before you apply the next one to avoid blending of the colors.
Step 8: Painting in the Details
Since the shadows were quite fuzzy, it was hard to
see the details of smaller objects, such as tree branches. These had to be painted in manually without any guidlines. I then took a hard bristled brush, applied paint to it, then wiped off most of the paint. Then I started stippling the edges of the branches which gave them a more natural look.
Also, I should have made the water in between the mountains different color from the mountains arround it.