Wednesday, December 17, 2008

How to Thin Acrylic Paints


Here is a reader question about painting with acrylic paints:

I have recently painted a small mural in my nursery. I just used acrylic paints as it was a small project with just a few colors. However, the colors look rather flat and heavy. Is there any way I can sand the image? or what would you suggest for me to do to lighten it up a bit, or give it more depth? ~Kerri

Hi Kerri,

I would not sand the mural, unless you plan on painting the entire wall over again. But from the sound of it, if you say the paint has come out heavy and flat looking, then maybe it would be best to start over.

When painting with acrylics, it is important to use a thinning medium - something to make the paint more fluid and moveable. I use a product called - matte medium. All you have to do is dip your brush into the medium and then into your color and it does wonders.

Acrylic Medium Golden Fluid Matte Medium 8 oz

You really cannot fix the paint once it has dried. If you are truly determined not to have to start over, then you may want to wash over the mural with a few lighter versions of the colors that are already there. Be sure to use a medium to mix with the paint.

If all else fails, start over!!

Check out this book on:
New Tricks and Techniques for Working with the World's Most Versatile Medium

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Mural Wallpaper Cutouts & Stickers

Another reader question:

Hi, I am in the process of opening a day care center. I need help with decorating the walls.
Is there any place where the wall stickers are sold, where i can just get a ready made one in form of a wall paper?

Yes, you can actually purchase them online on Please click on the links below.

Click here for more Wallpaper Cutouts & Stickers

Thursday, December 11, 2008

How to Paint (Mural) a Shingled Roof

Another reader has written and asked how to paint roof shingles in a mural that they are doing.

I'm painting an interior wall mural and need an effect for shingles on a roof. I'm guessing a similar technique to the stone block effect using a darker color for the base coat which would be whatever you call the "mortar" area of a shingle. Then I will glaze coat a lighter color in shingle shapes? How do I get the perspective of say, three rows of 4x8" shingles?

Here are a few step by step instructions:

1. Gather reference pictures like the one above. All you do is go to Google Images and type in what you are looking for. A million pictures will come up.

2. Choose colors going from light to medium to dark. I would pick 4 to 5 different colors to work with.

3. Practice on a sample board. This is always my number one suggestion before attempting to paint an actual wall. That way, if you make a mistake, you can figure it out before making a mess of the mural.

4. Paint the area with the darkest color first

5. Measure the area. You may need to use some perspective skills depending on how the roof is being viewed in the mural. Notice in the above picture that you are looking at the roof from the bottom, so the shingles look smaller at the top. The first picture below is one point perspective and the second picture is two point perspective. This will give you an idea on how you should be measuring.

The Art of Perspective: The Ultimate Guide for Artists in Every Medium

Tip: use a watercolor pencil to mark your measurements. It will be washable on your painted surface and you can get them in any color.

6. Start painting the bottom shingles first. You will have to layer one on top of the next. Use your medium color.

7. Paint in the shadows with your darkest color

8. Paint in the highlights with your lightest color. Remember that your light source will be coming from one direction, in this case the top of the shingle roof, especially if your imaginary sun is out.

So, that should give you an idea of where to start. The hardest part will probably be getting the perspective right. I always have trouble with that. But once you figure that out - you should be fine. Happy Painting!!

Be sure to check out this great book on Perspective Painting.

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Murals & Faux Finishing - Tips, Advice, and Ideas - Design by Dzelque Blogger Templates 2008