Paint by Numbers Murals… why not… they look great right? Here are a few tips that might help.
They can make a phenomenal community project. They can be made from old paint by number craft templates, from licence plates, or any other posterized image you can get your hands on. But, they are not as simple as they look. The hardest parts, for a amateur, would be picking colors, sorting out what paint to buy and, finding a projector. Also, unless you have smooth walls do not even consider this… on texture a simple paint by number would be a mess.
Using the old templates are fun but a bit dated looking (but retro is ‘in’ so that’s a good thing right?). And, unless you are using a template you need to create a color plan.
So, here are a few suggestions (for interior murals)….
1. Remember…. only do ‘Paint by Number Murals’ (especially highly detailed ones) on smooth walls!!!!
2. Buy good quality paint (so that you won’t have to paint three coats of each color)
3. If you need less than a two square feet of a color buy a sample jar of the color (I would recommend Benajmin Moore for this as they have all their samples premixed and it is a good thick paint).
4. If you need more than two shades of a single color buy a quart of the darkest color, a quart of white and a few extra paint buckets (with lids). Mix the shades yourself.
5. All your paint should consistently be eggshell finish (or flat if you won’t be using any sample jars). Samples are made in eggshell and you need to keep your finishes consistent. Shinier paint will show brushstrokes. If you want your mural to have a satin or high sheen finish use a polyurethane clear coat over the whole thing once you are finished.
6. Projecting the image…. you have a few choices here (assuming you don’t already have an opaque projector). You can buy one for not less than a few hundred dollars or you can find someone who already owns one (a local mural artist perhaps) and pay them an hourly rate to come project he image for you. I would highly recommend the later. Getting your image onto the wall isn’t as simple as it sounds (especially if you are shooting for anything larger than about 6’ square).
7. If you want to paint your image exactly as you find it just go to the paint store and match up your colors to paint chips. If you want to change your colors here are a few thoughts. Try playing with the color settings in your favorite photo editing software… if this gives you something you like print it out and take your new image to the paint store. If you want to change things further print out an outline version of your image and color it in yourself (the old fashion way). You need to have a finished image in color before you put any paint on your walls!!!!
Good luck with your murals and if you need any further help please message me in my ‘ask me anything’ section.