How to Paint a Mural: Step-by-Step Tutorial for Beginners
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 10 min read


  1. Choose the right wall
  2. Prepare the wall
  3. Gather your materials
  4. Design your mural
  5. Transfer the design
  6. Start painting
  7. Add details
  8. Seal the mural
  9. Clean up
  10. Admire your work

So, you've decided to dive into the colorful world of mural painting. You're in the right place! This step-by-step guide is the perfect starting point for beginners. Consider this your personal mural painting tutorial, designed to guide you through every step of the process—from choosing the right wall to admiring your finished masterpiece.

Choose the Right Wall

Before you get lost in a sea of paint brushes and color palettes, let's start with the basics: choosing the right wall for your mural. This is a key step in the journey and sets the tone for your entire project.

The first thing you need to consider is the wall's location. Outdoor walls are a popular choice for mural painting. They offer a large canvas and the opportunity to share your artwork with the community. However, indoor walls can work just as well, especially if you're looking for a more private or controlled environment.

Once you've settled on a location, it's time to consider the wall's texture. Smooth walls work best for mural painting. They allow you to create detailed designs without worrying about bumps and cracks. If you're dealing with a rough surface, don't panic. With a bit of extra preparation—which we'll cover in the next section—you can transform it into a suitable canvas.

Lastly, consider the size of your wall. Murals can be as small or as large as you like, but remember: the bigger the wall, the more time and materials you'll need. So if you're new to mural painting, starting with a smaller project might be a good idea.

All these pointers may seem a lot to take in, but rest assured—you're already on your way to creating a beautiful mural. So, grab your sketchbook, take a good look at your chosen wall, and let's move on to the next step: preparing your canvas.

In the following sections of our mural painting tutorials, you'll learn how to prepare the wall, gather your materials, design your mural, transfer the design, start painting, add details, seal the mural, clean up, and finally, admire your work.

Prepare the Wall

Moving on to the next step of our mural painting tutorials, it's time to roll up your sleeves and prepare your wall. This stage can feel a bit like a chore, but it's crucial in achieving a smooth and long-lasting finish. So, let's get to it!

Begin by cleaning the wall thoroughly. You can use a simple mix of warm water and dish soap, and a sponge or a scrub brush. This will help to remove any dirt, dust, or loose paint. If you're painting outdoors, be on the lookout for any small cracks or crevices where critters might be hiding—you don't want any unexpected surprises during your mural painting adventure!

Once your wall is clean and dry, assess its condition. If it's smooth and in good shape, you're good to go. But if there are cracks, holes, or rough patches, you'll need to do a bit of repair work. This involves filling in any cracks or holes with a quality filler, and sanding down rough areas until they're smooth. Remember to wear safety goggles and a mask when sanding!

Now, onto the primer. Primer creates a clean, uniform surface for your paint to adhere to, and it can help to prevent your paint from soaking into the wall. Choose a primer that's suitable for your wall material and paint type. Apply it using a paint roller for large areas and a brush for corners and edges. Let the primer dry completely before you move on—this can take anywhere from a few hours to a full day, depending on the brand and your weather conditions.

Well done! You've successfully prepared your wall for your mural painting project. Now that your canvas is ready, it's time to gather your materials and start bringing your vision to life.

Gather Your Materials

Now that your wall is primed and ready, it's high time to gather the tools you'll need in this mural painting tutorial. Having the right materials on hand can make the process smoother, and trust me, you don't want to be rushing to the store in the middle of your project.

The first item on your list should be paint. Acrylic paint is a popular choice for mural work due to its durability and vibrant colors. You might also want to consider mural paint, which is specifically designed for large-scale outdoor work. It's also a good idea to grab a variety of brushes. A few large, medium, and small brushes will help you cover all bases—from filling in large areas to adding those important details.

Next up: sketching materials. A simple pencil will work for sketching your design onto the wall. You might also want to consider using a projector if your design is complex or if you're working on a large-scale mural.

Don't forget about the essentials. You'll need a sturdy ladder or scaffold if your mural is high up, plus protective sheets or tarps to keep paint drips from damaging the surrounding area. A bucket and sponge will come in handy for clean-up, as will some rags or old towels.

Finally, consider investing in some quality sealant. This will help protect your mural from the elements and ensure it stays vibrant for years to come.

There you have it—a list of the materials you'll need for your mural painting project. With your supplies gathered, it's time to move onto the fun part: designing your mural.

Design Your Mural

Once you've gathered all your materials, it's time to let your creativity shine—this is where the real fun begins in our mural painting tutorial. Designing your mural is a personal and exciting process, where you get to bring your vision to life.

First, consider the size and shape of your wall. Is it tall and narrow, or wide and short? This can impact your design, as certain images might look better on a particular type of wall. For instance, a tall tree might look great on a vertical wall, while a sprawling landscape might be better suited to a horizontal space.

Next, think about the colors you want to use. Remember, colors can evoke different emotions, and the right color palette can really make your mural pop. Don't be afraid to play around with different shades and tones until you find a combination that works for you.

Now, let's get down to sketching your design. Start by drawing a small-scale version of your mural on a piece of paper. This gives you the chance to experiment and make changes without committing to the wall just yet. You can also use digital tools like Photoshop or Procreate to create your design, which can be especially helpful if you plan to project your design onto the wall.

Once you're happy with your design, it's time to transfer it to your wall. But don't worry—we'll cover that in the next step of this mural painting tutorial. For now, take some time to admire your design and imagine how amazing it's going to look once it's up on your wall.

Transfer the Design

Now that your masterpiece is designed—it's time to get it on the wall. This step in our mural painting tutorial is all about transferring your design from the paper to the wall. There are a few methods you could use, depending on your comfort level and the complexity of your design.

One of the simplest ways is to use the grid method. Start by drawing a grid on your paper design. Then, draw a larger, proportional grid on your wall. The objective is to recreate each square from your paper onto the wall. This method can take some time, but it's a surefire way to keep your proportions correct and your design intact.

If you're a bit tech-savvy, you can project your design onto the wall using a digital projector. Just make sure the image is focused and fills the wall exactly how you want it to look. Then, trace the design onto the wall with a pencil. This method can save you a lot of time, but remember, you will need a dark room and a projector.

Alternatively, you could use a large piece of tracing paper or carbon paper to transfer your design. This is a handy option if you have a lot of details in your design.

Regardless of the method you choose, remember to take your time. This stage is important because it lays the groundwork for your painting. So, be patient and precise—and before you know it, you'll be ready to dive into the painting process in our mural painting tutorial.

Start Painting

With your design successfully transferred onto the wall, you're now ready to bring it to life with colors. This part of the mural painting tutorial is where the magic truly happens—where your mural starts to take shape.

First things first, always start with the background. Why you ask? Well, it's easier to paint over mistakes in the background than it is to correct errors in the foreground. So, grab that paintbrush, dip it in your chosen color, and start filling in the larger areas of your mural.

Next, move on to the mid-ground elements. These are the parts of your mural that aren't the main focus, but they still add depth and context to your design. Once you've filled in these areas, you're ready to tackle the foreground—the stars of your show.

As you paint, remember to take breaks and step back to view your mural from a distance. This will give you a better perspective on how the colors and shapes are blending and help you decide where adjustments might be needed.

Painting a mural can be a time-consuming process, but don't rush it. Enjoy the process and watch as your wall transforms into a work of art through this mural painting tutorial.

Add Details

Once you've laid the foundation with your background, mid-ground, and foreground elements, it's time to delve into the finer points of your mural. This is what sets apart good mural painting tutorials from great ones: the attention to detail.

Details can be anything from intricate patterns to subtle shading that adds depth and dimension to your design. It's the little touches that make your mural unique and engaging. By now, you've got the main elements of your mural painted; it's time to make them stand out.

Using a smaller brush, start by adding highlights and shadows to your design. This will create a more realistic feel to your mural. Don't be afraid to experiment with color and texture to achieve the desired effect.

Next, add any finer details that bring your mural to life. This could be anything from the pattern on a character's clothing to the texture of a tree's bark. Remember, the devil is in the details, and it's these small touches that will truly elevate your mural.

Take your time with this step. While it might seem tedious, it's the details that will give your mural its character and charm. And who knows? You might even find this part of the mural painting tutorial to be the most satisfying!

Seal the Mural

After all the hard work and countless hours you've invested, you don't want your mural to fade or get damaged over time, do you? That's why the next step in our mural painting tutorials is sealing the mural. It's like putting an invisible shield on your artwork that protects it from the elements.

There are many types of sealants available in the market. Some are spray-on, others are roll-on, and the type you choose depends on your preference and the nature of your mural. Make sure you pick a sealant that's UV-resistant and weatherproof for outdoor murals.

Before you start sealing, make sure your mural is completely dry. A good rule of thumb is to wait at least 24 hours after your final paint stroke. Then, apply the sealant evenly over the mural, starting from the top and working your way down. Be careful not to miss any spots — you want every inch of your mural to be protected.

Sealing a mural might sound like an extra step that you can skip, but trust me, it's worth it. It preserves the vibrancy of your colors and extends the life of your mural. Plus, it gives your mural a finished, professional look. So, don't skip this step, okay?

Clean Up

Wow, you've done it! But hold on, we're not completely done yet. One of the less exciting yet important steps in our mural painting tutorials is the clean-up process. It's all about leaving the space as you found it, if not better.

First things first, clean your brushes and other painting tools. Using warm, soapy water works well for most brushes. Remember, good tools can last a long time if you take care of them. And who knows, you might feel inspired to start another mural soon!

Next, pick up any trash or debris from your painting area. This includes empty paint cans, used masking tape, and any other waste materials. It's not only about respect for the environment, but also about maintaining a clean, safe workspace.

Also, if some paint happened to find its way onto the floor or any other unwanted areas, make sure you clean it up. A little bit of elbow grease can go a long way in removing unwanted paint splatters.

So, ready to roll up your sleeves one last time? Cleaning up is just as important as painting the mural itself. Let's make sure we leave no trace behind, except for the stunning mural, of course!

Admire Your Work

There it is, your masterpiece! Now comes the most rewarding part of our mural painting tutorials—taking a step back and admiring your work. After all, you've put time, effort, and creativity into this mural. It's truly a piece of you on that wall.

Take a moment to appreciate the detail, the colors, and the overall design. Does it tell a story? Does it evoke certain emotions? Art, including murals, is all about evoking feelings and thoughts. It's your voice in a visual form, and it's worth taking the time to listen to what it has to say.

Also, don't forget to capture this moment. Snap a few pictures of your mural from different angles. These photos will serve as a reminder of your hard work and creativity. Plus, they're great for sharing with friends or posting on social media—if you're into that sort of thing.

But remember, the joy of mural painting isn't just about the end result. It's about the journey—the planning, the painting, the little hiccups along the way, and yes, even the clean-up. So, as you stand back and admire your work, take a moment to reflect on the process as well. You've learned a lot, haven't you?

With that, we conclude our mural painting tutorial. But remember, this is just the beginning. With each mural you paint, you'll learn more, grow more, and create more. So, what's next? A sunset, a landscape, or perhaps a portrait? The wall is your canvas, and the possibilities are endless. Happy painting!

If you enjoyed this step-by-step tutorial on painting a mural and want to take your mural skills to the next level, check out Bryan Sánchez M.'s workshop, 'Creative Mixed Processes: From Traditional Sketches to Large Murals.' This workshop will provide you with in-depth knowledge on various techniques and processes involved in creating stunning murals, helping you become a more versatile and skilled artist.