Giraffes on a Wall


When my daughter was potty training, we had a hard time convincing her to get out of bed at night to use the bathroom.  When we asked her why, she said she was scared.  Her dad asked her if she’d be less scared if there was a friendly picture on the half wall next to the bathroom.  She said she thought it might help.  So, my husband asked me how we could giraffes (her favorite animal) on the wall.  While I had never done a mural, I said I’d paint them.  As usual, my husband was envisioning a quick and dirty job and I was envisioning how I could make the best giraffe mural I possibly could.  I don’t know how many hours it took, but it was many.

The view of the finished wall from the bathroom door.

The challenge on this project was that I had never worked on a wall mural before, and working close to the wall gives a very different perspective from how it looks when you stand back.  The wall is textured, so I had that to contend with.  And the hall is narrow, so I couldn’t really step back to get a really good perspective while I was working.

My giraffe drawing skills are not stellar.  So, my daughter’s wonderful art teacher loaned me a projector.  I found some images from a calendar we had and projected them on the wall.  Unfortunately, I did not project them at the best possible scale.  I wanted them as big as possible since they were the focus, but when I projected the tree, I didn’t think about how it was going to look in relation to the giraffes.  Since I didn’t project it on a good scale to be eaten by the giraffe, I made it darker to try to make it look like it was further back.  But at the same time, I painted too much texture into the leaves, so it doesn’t really look like it’s in the background like I intended.  And that was probably the most difficult thing about painting on a wall–trying to get all the elements into the right perspective for what I wanted.  The tree to the left is lighter in color with the intention that it would look closer.  Again, I don’t think I succeeded in this.

A view that includes all of the tree on the left.

My grass is a blend of yellows and greens to try to give it texture.  Overall, I’m pleased with each individual element, but I don’t think they worked together as well as I hoped.  My daughter, however, loved it, so I guess that’s all that matters.

What about you?  Have you done mural painting in your home?  What challenges did you face?  Any tricks you’d like to share?

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2 thoughts on “Giraffes on a Wall

  1. You mural is fantastic! I was a scenic painter in college and painting walls can be tricky. I would sketch the design on paper first using the same shape as the wall. Then I would use that as a blueprint. I would the measure the paper and transfer the measurements to the wall. It helped to keep it all in perspective. Before painting the wall I would faintly sketch my design with a pencil on the wall after the base paint. I hope this was helpful. Craft ahoy. Jess

    • Thanks for the tips. They will come in handy next time. I have another child who will probably want his own mural outside his bedroom door when he’s older.

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