We’re so excited to announce our new product line—Paint By Number Mural Kits! I didn’t even know PBN murals were a thing until I stumbled across a video on YouTube. This couple painted a beautiful PBN mural on their wall, and I immediately knew I had to do that in my house.
The only problem, though, was that the couple in question were obviously professional artists. How do I know? Well, they took a PBN canvas, drew grids on it, then drew matching grids on the wall and sketched in the line art by hand. Yikes…
I’ve mentioned in other blog posts that my talents lie elsewhere. That was a bit too sophisticated for me. I knew what I drew on the wall would look nothing like the canvas I started out with.
I am a determined person, though, so I wasn’t about to give up. Instead, I started trying to find a workaround. I took the picture I wanted to put on my wall (one of Lauren’s—A River in Fall, which you can find here), created PBN line art for it, then got her to help me mix the paints. Having a sister-in-law with an art degree comes in so handy sometimes.
Then I got a projector, beamed the artwork onto the wall and…voila! A PBN mural. Considering that Lauren and I have a PBN website, my husband suggested that we put together a kit for like-minded PBN enthusiasts. We thought that was a great idea. So now, you can share in a project that I had a great time putting together!
Now understand, a detailed PBN takes patience. A PBN mural takes even more. And, since I’ve now done one, I can give you a few tips that will keep you from pulling your hair out (mine has grown back, thankfully). So if you want to dive in to one of our PBN mural kits, here are instructions and a few helpful tips.
You start with a blank wall. I decided to paint my mural in my guest bathroom:
Using a standard projector, you cast a picture of the PBN line art onto the wall. My dog (say hello to Milo) decided to help me with this part:
Once you have the line art beamed onto the wall, here's the first tip:
Make sure the room is dark!
My projector was in my living room because the bathroom door was too close to the wall. My living room is basically a big glass box, so I couldn’t see anything during the day. I did most of my tracing at night (I got a bit impatient, so I did work on some of it during cloudy days). But you will find that the work is a lot easier in a dark room with the windows blacked out.
Again, this will take some time to do, so be patient. That leads to the next tip.
Try to keep your projector in place until you’re finished.
That might be a tall order considering you can expect several days of tracing, but it makes things a lot easier if you don’t move the projector. If you can’t leave it in place (I couldn’t), then make sure to mark the place where your projector is sitting. I used clear tape to mark the spots where the feet of the projector sat. If you don’t, trying to line the projector up again can be a real pain. Don’t ask me how I know.
Next, you trace the lines:
As you’re tracing, here are a few more tips that will make things easier:
Use a pencil.
There was a good bit of erasing and redrawing involved because sometimes the projection looks like a line when it’s not (like when the lines are really close together). Keep a copy of the line art handy while you trace so you can check your lines. The projector will give you a really good outline, but it’s not perfect, so make sure to reference the original art as you go (I actually took a photo of the line art with my cell phone and used that photo to follow along, since the room was dark and the cell picture was easier to see).
The tracing doesn’t have to be perfect!
I can’t stress that enough. Not only can you fix mis-drawn lines with the paint, you’ll find that the shapes are fine as long as they are close. So if the shape on the original is a bit more jagged than what ends up on the wall, don’t worry about it. It’ll still look great.
Add the numbers as you trace.
I started out tracing without the numbers, thinking I could look those up on the sheet as I painted. Ugh! There are A LOT of lines on these PBN paintings and trying to pick them out as you paint is a pain (at least I thought it was). I found it easier to add the numbers as I traced.
Once you’re done tracing, it should look something like this:
Now, you’re ready to paint. This part is just like a regular paint by number, so get out your brush, match the number on the wall to the label on the paint pots, and get to it.
Which leads me to my final tip:
If you can, erase the numbers before you apply lighter paints.
We hand mix the paints for these kits, and we chose a thinner paint because it doesn’t dry out as quickly. I absolutely HATE getting a PBN kit only to have the paints be too thick/dry to use within a month. It takes me a while to finish a project, and I want my paint to hang in there with me. The down side to thinner paints is that they take more coats to get the right color. However, what I found is that the darker paint will cover the wall with two passes, three at the most. The lighter paints can, too, depending on what color your wall is, but it takes more coats to cover the pencil marks. If you can (some wall paint doesn’t react well to an eraser, so make sure you test in a non-visible area first!!), erase the number before you paint when you’re using a lighter color, and you will need fewer coats.
I hope you enjoy your mural painting as much as I am. I’m not quite finished yet, but when I am, I’ll add a picture of the finished product here. So make sure to check out our collection of original mural kits and paint by number kits. We’re adding more as soon as we can get the paint colors right, so stay tuned. You can’t get those anywhere but here!