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!!


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.


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.


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





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.


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.


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.


The final shot! I think it came out great!


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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