You Don’t Need to Be an Artist to DIY This Color-Blocked Mural
Ready your paint roller.
Updated Sep 29, 2021 6:58 AM
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We’re no strangers to the art of the (wall) cover-up. But it’s one thing to coat your living room in a shade of sunny yellow and another entirely to DIY a geometric mural. To say this type of large-scale artwork is a daunting endeavor may just be the understatement of the century. Then when we came across the color-blocked wall in Three Six Nine blogger Joy Lofton’s kitchen. Despite its apparent difficulty, we knew we had to get the inside scoop—the cluster of vibrant shapes was just so cool.
“My kitchen always felt so generic and boring, and since it’s the hub of the house, I needed to do something to upgrade it that wasn’t going to involve a remodel,” Lofton explains. Music to our ears: The actual logistics of the DIY weren’t nearly as tricky as we predicted. She maintains that patience and a lot of Frog tape are the keys to mastering the style. But by far, the most fun—albeit time-intensive—part of the whole project was picking out the colors. If you’ve been torn between a few different hues for your walls, consider this design the perfect compromise.
“Right now, I’m loving the color combos in the Christene Barberich and Clare V. fabrics for [home brand] The Inside,” says Lofton, who recommends going with unexpected palettes like blue and yellow, terracotta and lavender, red and pink, or forest green and tomato red. The bolder, the better for this project; just be sure to take home paint chips from the hardware store to note how the tones change in your actual space. If you need to narrow down your choices, do like Lofton and cut up the chips into little squares, playing around with combinations until you find something you like.
Now that we have the basics sorted, it’s time to get painting:
- Measuring tape
- Graph paper
- Artist’s eraser
- A makeshift protractor, made from a string and that pencil
- Frog tape
- Drop cloth (or old sheets)
- Damp rag for drips
- Paint (Lofton used Sherwin-Williams’s Connor’s Lakefront, Secret Cove, Cut the Mustard, Gentle Grape, and Baked Clay)
- Small and/or medium-size paint rollers (one per color)
- Artist’s brush for touch-ups
- Measure the height and width of your wall with the measuring tape.
- Draw a to-scale replica of the wall onto graph paper and sketch out your pattern to give you an idea of the proportions you’ll be dealing with.
- Using the yardstick, measuring tape, level, and a whole lot of patience, carefully draw your pattern onto the wall in pencil. Use the artist’s eraser to get rid of any mess-ups.
- For any circles and curved lines, tie a string onto a pencil and extend it out, using this makeshift protractor to draw the shape evenly onto the wall. (Check out this YouTube tutorial on mastering the skill if you’re feeling stuck.)
- Once you’re happy with your pattern, paint one color at a time, starting with the largest section. First, tape off the area you’ll be painting with Frog tape, being sure to run your finger along the edges of the tape to get rid of creases and bubbles. For curved lines, the tape will stand out from the wall and not lay totally flat—that’s okay!
- Using a paint roller, apply the first coat of paint. Use a paintbrush to fill in the corners and any other spots that the roller can’t reach.
- Let the paint dry completely before adding your next coat. Repeat once more.
- Continue this tape-paint-dry-paint-dry process for each section of the mural until you’re finished.
- After everything is done, go in with a fine-tip artist’s brush to fix any mistakes.