With the addition of the custom ping pong table, the shop’s front room is almost finished. The bare concrete walls really needed something eye-catching to bring the rom together, so I asked a friend who is a graphic designer to create a huge wall mural.
- Measure the Space
- Design a Graphic
- Draw a Reference Grid on the Wall
- Tape off Distinct Edges
- Get Painting!
This seems obvious, but accurately measuring the space is an extremely important step in the process. If you have a photo or image in mind, you have to ensure that the wall can support the picture’s aspect ratio. Just like a picture on a TV screen, if the image doesn’t scale correctly to the size of your wall, there will be empty spaces either at the top & bottom or the sides. When you do get the final dimensions, you may find it easier to round up to the nearest inch because it’ll be easier to add reference grids later without worrying about 1/4s of an inch. At this size, a few fractions of an inch won’t really make a difference.
I commissioned my good friend and editor to design a cool wall graphic. He designed my logo and most of the other branding you see on my channel so he knows my tastes and stylistic preferences. The one stipulation I had was that I didn’t want the wall to be too busy. We discussed the purpose of the room and any potential furniture that would be places on that wall so he could design the mural to work with the space. I really love the geometric patterns he came up with and I thought the subtle addition of the I Like to Make Stuff “M” was fantastic. This design could also be easily translated to the wall because he had the original dimensions from the beginning.
When the mural was designed, it was based on a 12 inch by 12 inch grid system. All we had to do was mark a point every foot from wall to wall and floor to ceiling and use a laser level to project a line on the wall. I then marked where the grid lines intersected on the wall. We had to make sure that we measured from each wall because we kept running into problems when measuring from the baseboards. Because each baseboard is 1/2 inch thick, measuring from this point messed up the 12 inch grid system, so make sure you measure from the wall itself.
Because of the straight lines and geometric nature of this mural, I was able to connect the necessary points with blue painter’s tape. I masked off just the areas that would become the shapes rather than sing up all my tape making dedicated grid lines. The mural pieces began to take shape as we connected each point. After a lot of tape and cross referencing the original artwork many times, the masking process was done. If your mural had overlapping designs or more complex curves, it may be necessary to tape the wall off in layers.
Because this mural only had three colors it seemed pretty easy. Josh went to the home store and got sample sizes of three different shades of grey. To help eliminate confusion, we created a paint-by-number system based on the original artwork. We marked 1 for the lightest, 2 for the mid, and 3 for the darkest color in the appropriate blocks and started painting. Because this was is concrete, it wasn’t completely smooth. Using the blue tape helped create defined borders, but we had to make sure that the tape was properly stuck to the wall as we went and not bubbled up.
We used foam brushes and found that dabbing the paint on the wall rather than traditional painting strokes worked better. We applied two coats of paint per shape and then slowly pealed off the tape. I was happily surprised with the crispness of the paint lines and super excited to see the amazing art work at such a massive scale.
The Room Looks Amazing!
The mural looked awesome, I was so happy with how it turned out. But, this room needed a little more love than just a painted wall. We added a must better light fixture with a custom enclosure; drilled through the office wall to run audio cables for the upcoming podcast with Josh and I; rearranged some furniture; put the ping ping table and the arcade cabinet back in place; and added some fun artwork to the other walls.
This room quickly became an awesome space to play music, record podcasts, play some fun games, and to just hang out. It is amazing how a fun piece of art and some paint can dramatically change the feel of a room. I encourage anyone who is looking to spruce up a drab wall to consider painting a big mural, it isn’t as hard as you’d think. If you liked this project, check out more of my work!
(purchasing via these affiliate links supports ILTMS)
- SawStop cabinet saw
- 8″ Dado stack
- Dewalt 20v drill driver combo
- Pancake compressor/nail gun combo
- Shop Fox Hanging Air Filter
- 2HP Dust Collector
- 1 Micron bag
Finishes & adhesives I like:
- Sherwin-Williams Paint Colors:
- “Essex Grey”
- “Time and Space”