- Acrylic or enamel paints
- Floating or clear medium
- 1/2", 3/4" and 1" paint brushes
- Styrofoam plates or plastic containers
- Razor blade
- Warm water and basin
- Washcloth and paper towels
- Masking tape
- Trash bag
- Sketch pad (optional)
- Camera (optional)
- Cell phone (optional)
How to Paint Window Murals. As a window mural painter, you mirror other mural artists throughout the centuries like Claude Monet, Michelangelo, Diego Rivera and Leonardo da Vinci. Murals--a very ancient art form--are large-scale pictures created on flat surfaces such as walls, ceilings, buildings and now, windows. Whether you paint these designs for fun or professionally, they're great for home and office decoration, business advertising and urban area enhancement.
Prepare for Painting the Mural
Determine the different criteria for the mural such as size, design, purpose and deadline before you begin. Also, decide which side of the window to use--exterior or interior--and when is the best time to complete the work. If you create the mural for compensation, consult with the project director, store manager or homeowner about these items.
Tailor the mural to the desired specifications. For example, a craft store supervisor hires you to paint a Halloween design on the front window to attract customers. In this instance, you use temporary materials to allow for easier removal after the holiday and work during off-peak hours so you don't disturb business flow. In addition, the manager probably prefers you to leave at least part of the window free so people can still see in and out.
Plan the design and color scheme ahead of time. If you're creating the mural for others, show them your plans and get their input. Many mural artists bring their preliminary sketches with them.
Prepare your work site before you begin. First, spread out newspapers underneath the window. Then clean the glass with warm water and a washcloth. If the surface has leftover paint from a previous mural, use a razor blade to remove the more stubborn parts.
Use masking tape to cover any areas around the window that need protection. Then, set out your supplies on top of the newspapers including a basin filled halfway with water, trash bag and paper towels.
Paint the Mural
Pour each color from the bottle into individual plastic containers or styrofoam plates. Then, add the desired amount of medium to each color. Mediums control paint flow and consistency. For temporary murals, use acrylic paints with a floating medium, but for more permanent designs, use enamel colors with a clear medium.
Switch to different sized brushes to create specific images as you're painting the mural. For example, work with a 1/2 inch or 3/4 inch brush for detailing and outlining as opposed to a 1 inch brush, which works best for covering wider areas. Each time you change colors, first wipe the excess paint off your brush with a paper towel and then rinse it in the basin.
Step back and examine your work when you're about halfway through the project. Decide if any areas warrant a second coat or other touch-ups. Use a paper towel to get rid of unnecessary paint.
Repeat the same process outlined in the previous step at the end of your project. Once you're satisfied with your creation, get your client's feedback--if applicable--and make any necessary adjustments.
Leave the work site in the same condition as you found it. Rinse out your brushes, empty the water basin in an appropriate place and clean up any spills. Finally, remove the masking tape that protected the window borders and throw away the paper towels and newspapers in your trash bag.
You should possess at least basic artistic skills, including a fundamental knowledge of sketching, color selection and mixing and painting techniques before you create window murals. Intermediate to advanced skills are best for professional mural artists. If you're painting the mural on the inside, remember to reverse the image. This technique is more difficult than outside murals and may require additional training. For safety, bring a cell phone if you're working alone during off-peak hours. Take a picture of your window mural to share with loved ones or attract future business.
Don't use window cleaner to wash the surface unless it's really dirty and you have enough time to wait for it to dry completely. Warm water reacts better with the paint. Don't use too much floating or clear medium. The more you use, the more transparent the paint will become.