Monday, June 30, 2008

Types of Tree Murals

There are many different ways to paint a tree mural:

  • Simple
  • Realistic
  • Soft pastel colors
  • Dark defined lines
  • Cartoon trees
  • Thin budding branches
  • Autumn leaves
  • Bushy and full
  • Sparse winter trees
Here are a few examples that may help you better understand how to choose what kind of tree you would like to paint or have painted.

This mural is more realistic. It has a lot of detail, yet is is soft. The colors almost blend with the background.

This tree is simple - not much detail. A few different color greens were used to highlight the leafy areas which gives the tree some dimension and almost makes it pop out of the wall.

This is an example of a thin budding tree. The leaves are painted individually on each branch.

This tree is a detailed tree, but done with darker colors and defined lines.

This tree was painted in warm autumn colors.

This tree would be considered simple, but has a little bit more detail/shading in the trunk and branches. The leaves were done by colorwashing shades of green and then doing separate single leaves on top to bring dimension and depth.

This last mural is a good example of a cartoon style mural. Cartoon murals can also be done with black outlining.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Color Washing - An Easy Faux Finish

Color washing is my favorite faux finish, because it is quick and easy to do. It adds subtle color variations and a soft, natural glow to your walls. It is also great at hiding any small imperfections on the wall surface. Best of all, this finish can be done in ANY color.

Here is a list of what you will need:

- Paint
- 2 small buckets (to mix the paint & glaze colors)
- Paint Roller (to roll base color)
- Paint Tray
- 2 4" latex brushes
- Low tack painters tape
- Disposable latex gloves
- Drop cloth

1. Pick Colors - Choose colors that are 2-3 steps away from each other on a color swatch.

2. Prep walls - Repair holes and cracks with spackle, sand, spot prime

3. Tape - Mask off everything that is not to be painted such as baseboards, window seals and frames, crown molding and door jams.

4. Base coat - Paint the room with your base color. Allow it to dry overnight.

5. Mix glazes - Use your base color as one of the glaze colors and then mix your second color in a separate bucker. If you use your base color as a glaze color it adds to the softness of the finish. This is a great trick if you have made the walls too dark with your glaze, you can go in with the base color glaze and blend the colors.

6. Color wash - Apply darkest glaze color with your 4" brush working in a 3 foot area. Use random X or criss-cross strokes with your wrist.

7. Blend - this is very important. You will need to soften and blend the brush strokes when the glaze is still wet. Use a clean 4" brush and move the brush in a light random swooping motion.

You can wait till the entire wall is finished before adding a second color. You can also use both colors at the same time, which, in this case, you would want to use 2 brushes.

If you have any questions, please feel free to email us. Click Here

HGTV Article - How to Colorwash a Room

Step by Step Tutorial from Faux Like a Pro

Monday, June 23, 2008

Create a Stone Block Wall with Paint

I came across this picture and was so impressed with the work of this company out of Las Vegas, Nevada, called Unique Paint Finishes.

This finish is called Stone Blocking. It is a trompe l'oeil technique that gives the painted surface the look of a real stone block wall. This is not a simple finish to attempt, by any means, especially if you have a room with angles and odd shaped walls. But if you have a simple box room and you are good with measuring, then I say go for it! It would even look nice on one wall (an accent wall) to make it a focal point of a room.

Great how to article on using plaster to create a stone effect:
Click Here

Here are a few simple steps on how to paint a faux stone wall:

Basecoat - Paint the entire wall the color that you want the grout to be. Make sure you do 2 coats of pearl or satin finish paint. DON'T USE FLAT! The paint finish will allow the paint to be more movable for the decorative glazing.

Measurement & Size - how large do you want each stone to be? You will need to use some of your math skills with this. Once you come up with a size, you can use a pencil or chalk line to put your lines on the wall.

Tape - Tape comes in all sizes. I would suggest a 1/2" tape. Otherwise you can use 1" painters tape and tear the outside edge to give the lines a more natural look. Tape all of your lines.

Glazing - This is the fun part. You can use any number of faux finishing techniques: sponging, ragging, or even colorwashing. The key is to layer your colors. Be sure to do samples on foam board so you can make sure that you are happy with the color combinations that you have chosen. Start with the darker color and then gradually go lighter.

5. Shading - This is very important final step. You will need to choose an imaginary light source. If the light is coming from top left, then the tops & left sides of the stones need to be highlighted with a lighter tone and the bottoms & right sides will need to be shaded with a darker tone. This will make the stones look more realistic. You can also add some shading on the grout lines.

There is a lot more I can say about faux stone blocking, so if you are going to attempt this at home, please feel free to Ask me a Question. I would be happy to help you!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

How to Paint a Cloud Mural

There are differences when painting clouds on a ceiling or on a wall.

This is a picture of clouds in the sky, when looking up at them.

Ceiling Cloud Mural: - Dawn Papandrea-Khan

In this picture, we are looking out at the clouds. Notice how they get smaller - the farther they are away.

Wall Cloud Mural:

If painting a ceiling, you will need to paint the clouds as if looking up at them. If painting clouds on a wall, you will need to paint them as if looking out at them. Take notice of where the shadows are and where the light and dark tones are. Using a few different colors will give the clouds a more realistic feel.

Simple Steps in Preparing to Paint a Cloud Mural:

Choosing your blue base color. This can be tricky, because there are soooo many different blues. I would suggest grabbing a color chart and choosing a couple favorites. Grab some samples and practice on foam board before actually painting your walls or ceiling. You may want to choose a lighter blue for a nursery. You can choose gray blue, bright blue, turquoise blue - the possibilities are endless. Be sure to choose a blue that you are comfortable with and that will go well with the room's decor.

Painting the white clouds. After you have painted your sample boards blue, start adding your clouds. Mix white paint with glaze (1 part paint to 3 parts glaze). I like to use a great tool called - The Woolie. It is a wool pad with a handle attached for easy maneuvering. (See Below) Do not dip the Woolie directly into the paint, because it will soak up quickly with paint and be too wet to work with. Use a brush to dab white paint onto the sample board (or wall if you are confident & ready) and use the Woolie to blend and soften. Practive moving your wrist and you will get a rythm.

A few great tips:

  • Don't over-do it with the amount of clouds you add.
  • Use a picture as reference.
  • Keep the clouds random and not evenly spaced - this will help them look more realistic and believable.
Click on the picture below to get your own cloud making tool (The Woolie)

Window Frame Murals

The following pictures are of faux painted windows. These window murals range from old world style with stones and arches to country with white shutters and even western with faux exposed plaster & brick with aged wood shutters. They are a great example of what you can do to add dimension and space to any room in your home or business. This is a great option if you have a small office with no windows. Add a painted window overlooking a gorgeous countryside landscape.

Read this article on: How to Add a Faux Window and Create the Look of Tuscany in Your Home

iLia Anossov (fresco) of iLAdesigns

This window painting was done by Patricia's Palette. She gives a great step by step tutorial on how she did this mural. Check it out Here!

This window is a classic style window with the slats. It is a mural done on canvas, which can be adhered directly to the wall with wallpaper paste or even velcro.

I hope you have enjoyed this post on Window Murals. Please feel free to subscribe to this blog to get emails every time we add new posts.

Dawn Papandrea-Khan

Friday, June 20, 2008

Nursery Tree Mural - How to

Creating a Simple Nursery Mural
I just wanted to share a few steps on how I created the above simple-nursery-mural trees.

My client and I sat down with a color chart and chose 3 different greens and 3 different browns that went with her daughter's bedding, area rug, and accessories. The greens were for the leaves and the browns for the tree trunk and branches. It is so much easier when you paint a mural with just a few colors. It is much less intimidating. My local paint store mixed the paints in small 2oz. samples (many paint stores are now offering this, so be sure to ask about it).

I started by doing a simple outline, with white chalk, of the tree trunk and branches. I then started painting and filling in my outline. I used the medium toned brown for the majority of the tree trunk color, the darker brown for the shading, and the lighter tone for the highlights. This did not take long at all.

I had previously, sat down with my client to discuss what shape she wanted the leaves to be. I did a few drawings and she decided on an almond shaped leaf. So, I used the 2 lighter greens to paint the leaves, randomly doing one lighter and one darker. I used the darkest green to add a faint outline on each leaf. I also added a vein through the middle on a few. This gave the tree some depth, bringing the lighter leaves to the front and pushing the darker leaves to the back.

The mural was completed in only 4 short hours. The majority of my time was spent on painting the leaves. I would suggest using a 3/4" artist's angled brush for the leaves, that way you can paint each leaf in only 2 strokes. The tedious part is adding the outlines, shading, and highlights, which you can probably get away with not doing at all.

I hope this has helped you realize that you CAN paint a mural with only a few paint colors, 1-2 different brushes, and a little imagination. Happy Painting Everyone!! DAWN

Click Here to see more pictures of Dawn's children's murals.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Plaster Stamping

I came across this awesome finish on I am loving it!

In order to achieve this plaster stamped finish, you would first apply your plaster to the wall and then while it is still wet lightly press the stamp into the plaster and gently pull it away, leaving the stamp imprint. Once the finish is completely dry, you can go over it with sandpaper (if using a tinted plaster) to lighten the raised areas. Or you can use a glaze wash, if using a white paint-able plaster.

Please feel free to contact me if you would like more details on how to achieve this finish.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Tuscan Landscape Murals

The warm tones, rolling hills, and tall cypress trees are a wonderful backdrop in any room of the home, but I especially love these murals in kitchens and dining rooms. It brings a sense of warmth, sunshine, and peaceful serenity as if you were visiting the distant lands of tuscany.

Denise Ivey Telep, Inc

This last one, was done by a friend of mine, Sheila Eastman. She is a very talented artist for Eastman Art & Painting, LLC out of Phoenix, AZ. Check out her website to see more of her work.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Bas-Relief Plaster Murals

I found this awesome site called Dragon Art. They do a lot of bas-relief work which is a sculptural art. It is a 3-D painting created with plaster.

Here are a few of their pictures that I thought you might enjoy.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Inspiring Nursery Mural Ideas

Great Books on Nursery Decor:

I have also gathered these nursery pictures along the way. I hope you can be as inspired as I have.

Detailed Nursery Jungle Mural

I love the dimensional block wall, it makes you feel like you are in a child's toy box.


Winnie the Pooh Nursery Mural

Soft clouds are a simple but beautiful way to bring the outdoors in

Wow, when money is no option...

Christina Aguilera's Nursery on Ohdeedoh

Soft Paris Inspired Nursery Mural:

Terramania - A Blog about Design

Vintage Mickey Mouse Nursery Mural

Fairy & Butterfly Nursery Mural

Books on Nursery Decor:

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Painted Stripes

The above colorful stripes are by:, and the horizontal blue tone stripes are Homescape

What a creative way to add depth and dimension to a room with Painted Stripes.

Keep these in mind when choosing the color, width and size of your stripes:
  • Wider stripes have a more casual look
  • Narrow stripes have a more formal look.
  • Spaces with shorter ceilings - vertical stripes will make the room appear taller
  • Spaces with higher ceilings - horizontal stripes will make the room seem shorter
  • Tone on Tone stripes give a more subtle look
  • Use the same color in a flat & glossy finish will give an elegant look
  • Stripes of all different colors and sizes bring life to a room, great for teen room or laundry room
Here are a few pictures I found on the internet of some beautiful painted stripes:

This one is of horizontal painted stripes with silver metallic tiny stripes separating the colors. Gorgeous!

I love these soft pastel tones in this nursery:

Demi's Princess Suite - HGTV

What a great idea to add a painted vine going up each lighter toned stripe:

This is my work -

Check out these great Do It Yourself articles on How to Paint Stripes:

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