How to Create a Mural Without a Projector

By Marissa Abernathy ; Updated September 15, 2017

Things Needed

  • Pencil
  • Tracing paper
  • Sketchpad
  • Roll of banner paper
  • Source material (Books, printed illustrations, etc)
Murals are a fun way to add color and vibrancy to an interior room.

If you have a specific image or illustration you would like to use as the subject for an upcoming mural project, a projector can be a useful tool. However, there are plenty of ways to plan the subject and overall composition of your wall painting without one. Whether you want to paint from scratch or base your mural on an existing image, plan ahead to maximize your surface space and avoid potential mistakes.

Practice drawing the subject(s) to be included in your mural in a sketchbook. Once you have a concept in mind, sketch the overall composition of your painting. If possible, practice on a large sheet of banner paper to be sure you have a good grasp of the layout. Research mural ideas on the web if you are struggling -- this is a great way to brainstorm and discover what types of paintings might be appropriate for your space and wall size.

Use tracing paper if you already have a specific illustration in mind. Tracing paper is a simple solution that can help you capture an image without the use of a projector, especially when there is a certain subject or graphic you want to incorporate into your mural. Although you won't be able to enlarge an existing image on the wall for tracing, you can still use full sheets of tracing paper to transfer specific objects or segments of the image. If you are creating an undersea mural for example, use a children's illustration book to trace pictures of specific fish or other sea creatures and then transfer them onto the wall with a sharp pencil. If you are certain of the placement of the object, you can also use a black marker that is heavy enough to bleed through the tracing paper.

Use pencil to trace outlines of subjects by freehand. Even if you make a mistake, markings can be easily erased and corrected. Use your source image or sample illustrations to guide you as you go along. You can also use the grid drawing method to help you duplicate an image, tracing a light grid over the wall with pencil to help you with the overall composition and perspective. If you are not confident in your ability to replicate a specific image on your own, you can always ask a local artist or friend with drawing skills to help you establish the basic outlines of your subject.

Use stencils. If you are completely new to painting murals, stencils are a practical and straightforward solution. Wall stencils can be purchased for all kinds of subjects -- from simple shapes to more complex objects. Stencils are ideal for mural lettering, borders and patterns. Even if you have a specific theme or focus in mind for your mural, stencils can still come in handy when sketching basic shapes and straight lines.


To avoid mistakes, first sketch the full subject(s) and/or composition of the mural in pencil.

About the Author

Marissa Abernathy began writing professionally in 2007 on parenting, travel, electronics and technology. She has contributed to the "Norfolk Daily News" and to nonprofit publications of Northwestern Publishing House. As a writer for a web development company, she has provided content for hundreds of resort websites. Abernathy has a dual Bachelor of Arts in art and communicative arts from Wisconsin Lutheran College.