Monday, July 18, 2011

Simple Jungle Mural: Some Tips and Tricks

This is the mural in my son's room... he is rapidly outgrowing the animals and is much more interested in superheroes these days.  I'll be repainting this soon so I thought I'd share it with you all before I do!

I took the designs for the animals right from his bedding so everything coordinated.

This foliage goes all the way around the room for continuity (and as filler for behind pieces of furniture).  I wanted to make sure if we ever moved the furniture around, there wouldn't be a big blank space on the wall.  This is such an easy method for doing greenery:
  1. paint your background color (works really well with sky blue)
  2. mix 1 part background/sky color with 1 part greenery color and paint some foliage
  3. use full strength greenery color and paint more foliage on top of that

You can see another example of this here
See how some hills look farther away?  This is one of the murals I painted at our church.

This also works great with clouds (adding more blue to some clouds to make them look farther away)
The clouds on the horizon are really faint (mixed with a lot of the blue) so the painting has a quiet/hazy feel.  It helps push the horizon way off into the distance as well.

This technique gives the mural depth (even if it's cartoony like the jungle mural).  This is done by creating a sense of atmosphere.  When you go outside and look at something far away, it actually looks bluer than objects that are close to you.  This is because of all the "atmosphere" that is between you and the object.  It's the same stuff that makes the sky look blue.  You can play with the amounts;  just know mixing the two colors will help you achieve dimension in your painting!

The finish on this dresser was super ugly (it was mine when I was a kid) so I continued the mural on it.

I freehand this stuff just because I've been painting murals for 15 years, but I used to rely heavily on projectors to help save time.  If you can get your hands on one, you can have your mural done in no time!  One more thing:  use white chalk to draw your outlines.  It wipes right off with a wet rag when your paint is all dry.  You'll drive yourself nuts trying to erase pencil!

Any questions?  Are there other tips and tricks you'd like to learn about murals?  Ask in the comments and I'll get back to you (as long as your comment isn't "no reply").  I'm also going to start a "tricks of the trade" series on The Creative Imperative so I'd like to know what you're curious about!

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*Also, if you'd like to see more examples of my work you can go to Murals by Jamie.  I haven't updated it since last year, but you can click on the slideshow to peek at some of the things I've painted in the past*

This post was featured here

Mural Maker and More 

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  1. Wow!! You didn't mention that you were an amazing artist!!! I knew you were awesomely creative but I am blown away!! Can't wait to learn more about painting murals.

  2. I'm so impressed! Your murals are beautiful! I'm not a painter, but reading this post makes me want to try. Thanks so much for the inspiration. :)

  3. you are soooo talented! i can't believe you freehand that- amazing!

  4. This is amazing!


  5. you did an amazing job on these murals!! Thank you so much for linking up to Handmade Tuesdays @ Ladybug Blessings!

  6. Wow! You are so talented! Great tips!

  7. OMG. I did a jungle animal theme too...{and the boys are over it}. We will be moving on to pirates, I think.

    You are quite talented. Thanks for linking to CJ.

  8. Hi this is Taylor from the Hannah Handmade team. I wanted to say that this jungle theme is like the cutest thing ever! Come follow us back? :)!/pages/Hannah-Handmade/200408909971427

  9. I have always wanted to have someone paint murals on my kids' walls. What great tips you give here.

    I would love for you to link up and share this post on my mommy solution meme:

  10. Wow! Amazing stuff. Thanks for the tips. My favorite detail is how the mural continues on the dresser.

    I found your blog through the Power of Paint Party @ Domestically Speaking,

  11. You are so talented. I would love for you to stop by on Monday to link up your murals and any other projects you would like to share.

  12. That's amazing! I love how you explained your technique, but I'd still need you to come and do this for me! ;) Great job!

  13. That is amazing! You are very talented and I love your description!

  14. Wow!!! You are very talented! I would love to do something like that! The lines look so clean and I love the colors!

  15. what kind of paint do you use?

  16. Hi Mindy! I tried to write you back with the following answer, but the email went into "no reply bloggerland" :)

    I usually use Sherwin Williams paints... for places I'll need a quart or less I use their Color to Go samples which work great!

    The people who work at SW will tell you that the sample colors aren't intended to last a long time, but I've seen them last years and years without fading. Not to mention, most people tire of whatever theme the mural is after a few years (especially kids).

    I talk about the sample paint here and there is a pic in the post so you know what to look for

    I also use a lot of the cheapy acrylic paints you get at craft stores (like Delta Ceramcoat); with those you just want to make sure they are "opaque" colors or else you will need to 3 or 4 coat them!

    When I first started out after college, I was using pro grade acrylic and oil paints... it was costing a small fortune and I found the cheap alternatives worked even better in a lot of cases.

    Thanks for the question... I think I'll do something on this for the "tricks of the trade" series :) Sorry for the long answer!

  17. I'm off to visit Murals by Jamie right now! Amazing :)

  18. hé ! that mixing colors-tip is a great tip ! thanx !

  19. Wow, those are beautiful!!! Amazing job!

    Stop by and see me at

  20. Wow these are great! You make it look so simple I am tempted to try it. I love the animals too and how you even included the furniture in the artwork. This would be so cute in a nursery. I would love it if you would stop by and link up this post to the crafty linky party I just started at
    :) Rachel

  21. Just the tips I was looking for, thanks! My husband is getting ready to do a dinosaur mural in our son's room and it makes me a bit nervous.

  22. Really, truly, incredibly done! You definitely have gift. Thank you so much for sharing your talent and your tips as well!

  23. P.S. Can't wait to see what you come up with next!

  24. So awesome! I want to paint a mural for my kids so bad, just have to get a house first..ha ha.
    I am featuring you today at my party!

  25. I love the murals and the tips! I have painted for a while but have never painted a mural, I've been a bit timid about it plus never had anywhere to that we finally are in our own house I'm going to have to try it!

  26. ps- now following, I saw you featured on eisymorgan!

  27. I appreciate your long answer :)
    I have been wanting to do some turtles on my laundry room wall since we moved in to this house! With your tips I might just be ready to give it a try!!

  28. Thanks for your great tutorial! You've been featured on DIY Thrifty Thursday @ Stop by and grab an I was featured button. Hope to see you again this week! :)
    Thrifty 101

  29. Wow... wow, wow, wow!!! You are so stinking talented! Thanks for sharing your tips :)

  30. I love this mural. And your tips? Seriously awesome! I have to try this landscape-mixing-colors trick soon!

    (btw, I featured your mural today in my post.)

  31. Just found this when I was searching pinterest for jungle-themed murals. What a great idea! I love the plant silhouettes and the 50:50 mixture to create depth. I used your idea to paint to walls at our orphanage along the Thai-Burma border - Blessed Homes.

    I just posted some pictures of the finished walls on Facebook and set them as "public" so hopefully you can see them from this link. I thought you might enjoy seeing how your project and post from years ago has translated into this mural on the other side of the world!

  32. Your tips really are awesome. Thank you very much for giving such tips on Jungle Mural. I'm impressed. If someone has to know more about Mural, then visit you again


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