Painting my son’s nursery mural

So ever since my husband and I watched My Neighbor Totoro, we were in love with the children’s movie. It was decided then and there, before we were even pregnant, that our first child would have a nature/Totoro themed nursery. So when we bought our first house and the room meant for our unborn son was painted a sky blue already, we decided we’d follow through with our dream!

It began with lots of internet searching. I went to Pinterest to see if I could find any vinyls, but those were too expensive for my taste! I have a background in design! I can do this myself.

So I went into Adobe Illustrator and got to work. I found some trees that looked easy enough to recreate, and found a sleeping Totoro image. I traced those into Illustrator and decided our dog, Dottie, would be making her debut on this mural, so I found a sleeping picture of her and traced her onto Totoro as well. I had my image!!

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After a little more research, acrylic paints seemed like the option I needed for painting the actual mural. So I went to my local craft store and bought all the colors I thought I might need and surprisingly enough, all paints were 50% off that day! I bought some thick brushes and some sponges and had some left over thinner brushes from my college days.

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First step was to transfer the tracing onto the wall. I couldn’t get it near as big as I wished, but I went with it. I was able to rent a projector from my husband’s work and easily traced it onto the wall with a pencil. After the fact, I’m not sure I would have used as dark of a pencil as I did because it did smear a bit into the paint as I was painting.

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I started with the easiest parts, the trees and the ground.

 

 

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Then I began painting Totoro, his friends, and Dottie. I was quite dissapointed with the quality of paints I purchased and definitely would have spent a bit more if I had known that this was a three layer job. So over a few weeks, I would go in, paint a layer and then leave and come back the next day and do another. It was a tedious job and took a lot of patience.

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Work in progress shot. I had decided to add to the tops of the trees since they didn’t go all the way to the ceiling like I had planned. I used the sponge and three different greens to create this effect.

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After completing the layers, I got to outlining. Online I read in a lot of places that it was not safe for the walls to outline using a Sharpie or permeant marker so I opted for a thin paint brush, a steady hand, and some black paint and got to outlining.

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The final shot! I think it came out great!

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Here it is with all of the furniture. We will be attaching the leaf from IKEA to the wall besides the closet, but that day just hasn’t come yet. I plan on this part of the room to be the play corner while he’s small and then we will move his toys into another room and have a separate play room for him. Who knows if I’ll do a mural then! This took a total of probably 2 1/2 weeks. It killed my neck and because of the three layers of paint on everything, took longer than I thought. But I love the outcome! Let me know what you think and feel free to use my design!

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