Since I posted about our finished nursery, I’ve had quite a few requests for a how-to for the mountain mural. So here it is! Read on for more…
Rob and I are not the most handy of people – the extent of our decorating experience before this was painting one wall of our kitchen, which resulted in some very unsightly blotches on the ceiling. So before starting the mountain mural, we weren’t filled with confidence about our DIY skills… but turns out, this is a super easy project to suit all levels of skill!
To start with, we prepped the room that was to become the nursery. After cleaning top to bottom and washing the carpet we used a primer paint on the walls to cover the existing colour (a dark grey), gave the ceiling a fresh coat of eggshell white and painted all the woodwork.
I wanted to keep the nursery gender neutral in soft pastel shades, but I didn’t want the mountain theme to look too realistic. So rather than choosing blue for the main wall colour, I went for a gentle green – Farrow & Ball’s Cromarty. It’s a beautiful green with a hint of grey and works so well to create a calming atmosphere… perfect for a nursery.
With the walls and radiator painted and dry, it was time to start plotting out the mountain range!
This is where I handed over to Rob. He sketched out his idea on paper first, then recreated the layout on the walls using masking tape. Rob came up with theee most adorable meaning for each peak – the big ones represent him, me and Baby A, and the smaller ones on the side walls are for our cats, Travis and Lily. I almost wept when he explained that bit to me!
We didn’t want the peaks to look too uniform, so we did a bit of shuffling about once the tape was up – stepping back and surveying the overall scene helped. Once we were happy with the layout Rob trimmed the excess tape, making sure the points of each mountain were sharp.
It’s really important to use a good quality decorators’ tape here – you need a really crisp line and cheaper tape will bleed. A top tip is to rub over the tape with a damp cloth to really seal the glue and make sure the paint stays where you want it to!
This is how things looked after we’d painted the main peaks and the background peaks. We gave each section two coats to ensure an even finish, waiting about 20 mins between coats. Then we waited another 20 mins before crossing our fingers and peeling off the masking tape – success! No leakage!
We stuck with Farrow & Ball colours for the mountains. I wanted soft greys with a warm tone and settled on Pavilion Grey for the background peaks and Dove Grey for the foreground peaks. I love the combination of these two colours against the pastel green.
Next step – filling in the gaps. For this part, we waited until the paint was touch-dry then lined up the masking tape with the edge of the foreground mountains, making sure to add an extra piece of tape to complete the side of the background peaks. It’s quite complicated to explain but hopefully the pics make sense!
With the masking tape in place and dampened down, we painted within the lines to complete the background mountains.
The final stage was to paint the snowy peaks – we mapped these out with more tape while waiting for the background peaks to dry a bit, then slapped on a few coats of Farrow & Ball’s Wimbourne White. We could’ve actually done this way back at step one when we painted the main foreground peaks, just by adding the additional tape then rather than painting the grey colour right to the top of each peak. But, no harm done – 3 coats and the grey was as pure as snow. 20 minutes later it was time to peel off the masking tape with fingers firmly crossed…
We finished the mountain mural about 2 months ago and I’m still so delighted with it. It’s not totally perfect – some of the lines are a little shaky and there’s a tiny bit of cracking in the white paint because we layered it on too thickly. But none of that matters (or is even visible unless you’re up close) – it looks fantastic and I’m so proud of us DIY newbies for doing it all ourselves.
It really was a very easy project, and the finished result looks way more professional than I expected. For a couple of first-timers, I think we really smashed it! Here are a few tips if you’d like to paint your own mountain mural…
– It’s time-consuming, but don’t rush it. Set aside a full weekend and give yourself enough drying time
– Use good quality paint and decent brushes. You want an even finish without the stray brush hairs!
– Buy the best masking/decorators’ tape you can find. We found the blue stuff was the best, and a rub-over with a damp cloth strengthens the glue even more.
– Sketch out your mountain scene first and use your sketch as a reference for the wall. Don’t make it too formal or uniform, and don’t worry if your peaks aren’t perfectly straight!