Painting an Outdoor Mural with a Projector

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A fun way to add your personal style to the exterior of your home is by painting an outdoor mural. I recently painted one along our pool area and absolutely loving what it has done for our outdoor space. If you have no idea where to start with painting an outdoor mural, you’re in the right place! I’ll be walking you through how to come up with the design, an easy way to paint the outdoor mural, materials to use, and other tips and tricks. So, let’s dive in!

Painting an outdoor mural.

Choosing a Wall for the Mural

The first thing you’re going to want to do is choose where you want to paint your wall mural. This can be on a wall to create an outdoor shower like we’re doing, on the side of a shed, along a fence, or as a fun backdrop for your patio area.

Mural Wall: a Focal Point or a Surprise Focal Point

When deciding on an outdoor surface or wall to paint, you’ll want to think about if you want the mural to be a focal point to your outdoor area or a surprise focal point. Meaning, is it a wall you want to see right away or one as you move into your outdoor space? For us, our outdoor mural is a fun surprise as we go out into the pool area. It’s one that you can’t really see from the inside of our home looking out but can see from almost all the angles when hanging out by the pool.

Picking a spot for painting an outdoor mural.

Size of the Wall

If you have a few different surface areas that you can choose from, you also want to consider the size of the wall. Do you want the mural to take up the entire outdoor area or to help define a space? For example, I wanted the mural to help define the shower wall area which is why I kept to this one wall. You also have to consider the time commitment when you paint a larger area. Starting on a small wall and then eventually expanding might be a great game plan for you too.

Creating an outdoor mural.

Planning Wall Mural Design Ideas

So you want to paint an outdoor mural but have no idea where to start with the design. I get it! I was there too. So I have a few tips and tricks to help guide with designing your wall mural.

Creating a Pinterest Board of Mural Design Ideas

First thing I want you to do is search the type of mural design you’re wanting to paint on Pinterest. For example, I searched “abstract boho mural design”. Any mural, design, or palette of colors that catches your eye, add it to your Mural Pinterest Board. Don’t overthink this step. Just pin away! Once you get 5-10 pins, I want you to look at your Pinterest board and see what they all have in common that you love. Is it the palette of colors? A certain shape that is used? An overall theme with the murals? For me it was clear that I wanted to incorporate greens, a rust color, botanicals, and an overall abstract look.

Creating a Pinterest Board for mural ideas.

Deciding on a Wall Mural Color Palette

Once you have your overall design, you’ll want to narrow down your wall mural color palette. I knew I wanted a white background so the colors I picked for the actual mural would stand out. As far as narrowing down a color palette, refer back to your Mural Pinterest Board to see which colors are repeating among the pins. You can then search for color palettes on Pinterest using some of those colors you’re loving. This will immediately show you other colors that will work well with the colors that you already know you want to use.

Choosing a color palette for a wall mural.

When planning your wall mural colors, don’t forget to see if they will work with what you already have going on with your outdoor space. You want it to all flow together. I had to take into consideration the color of the umbrellas, the color of the pool water, and the landscaping around the mural. The colors that I went with are Cloud White, Evening Grove, Victorian Gardens, Peach Brandy, Terra Mauve, and Black Beauty all by Benjamin Moore.

Color palette mural an outdoor wall mural.

Working with an Illustrator or Graphic Designer to Create a Custom Mural

When coming up with an actual design for your wall mural, you have some options! I was having. a hard time coming up with a design so I decided to hire an illustrator to help with mine. I was able to send her my color palette, my Pinterest board of the mural designs I liked, a general direction of what I was looking for, and a photo of the wall the mural would be going on. Within a few days, I had two options to choose from for my painted wall mural. With this option, I paid the illustrator by the hour to create my custom wall mural. I used Ashley from Sunshine & Bo who is amazing!

Option 1 for a wall mural.
Option 2 for a wall. mural.

How to Design Your Own Mural

It’s also a doable option to design and create your own custom wall mural design. Take a picture of the wall you’re wanting to paint, making sure you get the entire wall in your shot. Also make sure that the photo is taken straight on and that the sides of the wall are aligned with the sides of your phone. From there you can use Canva, your phone, your ipad, or whatever you have access to, to allow you to start drawing your design ideas on your photo. You’ll use the colors you picked in your color palette and simply start drawing. Don’t overthink it and have fun with it! You can even draw a few different versions and then combine parts of each one into your main mural.

Creating a custom wall mural using a blank wall.

Outdoor Mural Materials

Now that you have a design for your custom painted wall mural, it’s time to get your materials ready to paint. Here’s what you’ll need to create your mural:

  • Projector – You’ll take the design you or your illustrator created over the photo of your wall and project it onto your wall. This projector wirelessly connects to your phone or laptop to be able to easily access the photo. It’s also has an amazing image quality!
  • Projector stand
  • Chalk
  • Craft Making Paper
  • Painters Tape
  • Exterior Mural Paint Colors – You want to make sure you use an exterior paint for your mural colors. I colored matched my mural color palette to Benjamin Moore paint colors. I used Benjamin Moore’s exterior Element Guard in the sheen low lustre. It’s an amazing paint that’s very durable, amazing coverage, will hold the vibrancy with the paint colors, and does well in extreme weather environments like here in Florida with our excessive heat, humidity, and rain almost year round.
  • Paintbrushes / Rollers – Depending on the size and surface area of your mural will determine the type of paintbrush and possibly roller you use. For a larger surface area and design, you’ll want to fill in the larger areas using a regular paintbrush and roller. To outline the mural design, especially with a textured surface, I found it easier to outline using angled craft brushes.

How to Paint a Wall Mural with a Projector

Using a Projector to Trace the Design

When painting an outdoor mural, one of the easiest ways to paint it is by projecting the design and tracing the outline of it using chalk on the surface area you’re painting. It basically turns it into one big paint-by-number. Using a laptop or your phone, you’ll open your design that was created on the photo of your surface area. I used my laptop and found it best to open the image in full screen mode.

Painting an outdoor wall mural using a  projector.

You’ll then connect your phone/laptop to your projector. For my particular projector, I was able to wirelessly connect to my laptop and then have the projector mirror the screen of my laptop. This displayed my mural design on the outdoor wall and I was able to line it up perfectly to be able to trace it.

Using a projector trace an outdoor wall mural to paint it.

One thing that helped me with painting the mural was tracing each mural color with a certain chalk color versus all one chalk color. Of course, this isn’t necessary because you have the design to refer to but made it a little easier when painting the mural.

Tracing an outdoor wall mural to paint it.

Painting a Mural: Techniques to Try

When painting the mural, start with the lighter colors and then work your way towards the darker colors. It’s possible that your mural will need two coats of paint. I painted all the areas of a certain color and once it fully dried, I went back and painted the second coat.

Painting an outdoor mural.

If working with a rough surface like I did with the stucco when painting an outdoor mural, it can be a little tricky to get the straight/smooth lines. Outline each area first using an angled craft brush and then slowly go back in to smooth out the line. Remember, it’s just paint! So if you mess up a spot, it’s easily fixable with whatever paint color you need to use. Once you paint the outline, you can easily fill in the rest of the shape/area with a larger paintbrush. You can use a larger craft brush or a regular paintbrush.

Painting an outdoor mural that is a custom design.

And the biggest thing with painting an outdoor mural is using paint that is made for your surface area and if your mural is inside or outside. I’m using Benjamin Moore’s Exterior Element Guard in the sheen low lustre that can be used on stucco and also wood if you’re painting a fence or shed. I also bought them in the quart size and had plenty of paint for this size wall mural.

Painting and outdoor wall mural.
Painting an outdoor mural next to a pool.

Finishing Your Outdoor Mural

Once you’ve completed your mural, you’ll want to take a warm bucket of water and a cloth and wipe off any chalk lines that are left behind. Next you’ll look for any paint areas that need to be touched up or fixed. It’s then time to stand back and admire your new mural!

Finishing work for painting an outdoor mural.

Looking for more mural design inspiration? Read more about my process of planning this mural and what else we’ll be adding to it.

Painting an outdoor mural to add color to your home.

Common Questions About Painting an Outdoor Mural

  • How long do outdoor murals last?
    There are many different variables that will determine how long your mural will last on an exterior surface. Variables like your mural being in full sun all day or more shade, harsh weather conditions like extreme heat/humidity or snow, if it’s under a covered area outside, the type of paint used, and keeping up with regular maintenance over the years.
  • Do outdoor murals need to be sealed?
    I personally did not seal my mural because I used an exterior paint that is durable and made for extreme weather conditions. If you do choose to seal your mural, use a water-based clear varnish (preferably matte). Avoid using one urethane based because it will yellow your mural.
  • What is the maintenance of murals?
    It’s fairly simple and quick if you stay on top of it. If you have any landscaping around it, you’ll want to keep it well maintained or trimmed to stay off of the mural. You may also have to wipe down the wall when you start to notice any dirt. Lastly, make sure to do paint touch ups where needed over time.

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