Tips for Painting Murals on Furniture

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Repainting can enhance the look of your old furniture, but you could make a piece even more unique by painting a mural on it. It doesn’t need to be anything intricate or abstract--a simple forest scene or seascape would change the appearance of your old furniture and give you a nice looking conversation piece. Following are a few tips for painting murals on furniture.

Uneven Surfaces Make the Job More Difficult

Basically, painting a mural on a piece of furniture isn’t much different than painting one on a wall--except there will more than likely be a bunch of uneven surfaces, which could make the job more difficult. An important part of the scene could fall exactly where a drawer pulls out, or scrollwork starts. That’s part of what makes painting a mural on furniture challenging and exciting.

Prepare the Surface

The first part of the process is to prepare the surface of the furniture for painting. In most cases, that will mean stripping off the old paint. Although it’s possible to paint over old paint, it would probably be best to remove it altogether. If you don’t think it’s necessary, or merely don’t want to, then you could simply sand the furniture in order to make sure the surface is smooth. Paint won’t stick to a clear finish or wax, so the surface should either be stripped or sanded. If the surface is uneven, which it most likely will be when dealing with furniture, then you should make use of a small wire brush to get the old paint out of the cracks and crevices. The entire surface of the furniture should be consistently smooth if you want it to look good.

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Final Preparations

Before you begin painting the mural, you should make sure all the dust from the stripping or sanding process is removed from the surface of the furniture. Wipe it off with a clean cloth. It can be either wet or dry, but make sure you get into all the cracks and crevices to get the dust out. If you’re using a wet wipe, give the surface ample time to dry before you continue. A coat of primer may be used, but if you do, make sure the surface is absolutely dry before you begin painting.

Envision the Finished Project

Mural painters work in a variety of ways. Some simply begin painting, and let their imagination run wild. Others plan every step before proceeding to the next one. However, most people who paint murals begin with an idea of what they want the finished project to look like before they start. Unless you’re doing an abstract painting, you’ll more than likely have a specific concept in mind, such as a patriotic collage, a forest scene, or a seascape. Whatever your choice is, it would probably be best if you were to envision the finished project before applying any paint to your furniture. The more detailed your plans are before starting, the easier it will be to finish the project.

Make an Outline

In order to avoid mistakes, it would be best to make an outline of your proposed mural before you start. That way you won’t end up with any part of the project out of proportion--you don’t want to end up not having enough space to complete the scene you’re working on. For instance, if you envision a seascape, with waves, palm trees in the foreground, and a boat in the background, you don’t want the palm trees to end up taking the majority of the room you have to work with, and not leave enough space for the beach, waves, and boat. Knowing ahead of time exactly where the important parts of the scene are supposed to fall will allow you to plan how to use the cracks and crevices that most furniture have.

Begin Painting

Once your furniture’s surface is prepared, and you have a general idea of what your mural is going to look like, it’s time to start painting. This is what you’ve been waiting for--a chance to express yourself through your creativity. Have fun.

Guest post from Payton Price. Payton writes for

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