Frugal Wall Mural Ideas for any room...

Published: 13th March 2009
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Learn to paint inexpensive wall murals that glow in the dark too with this easy tutorial!

The trend these days is to discover extremely innovative ways to decorate interiors on a budget. The tips provided below are just a few of the many ways one can inexpensively achieve a truly original look for a room. Wall murals are a very inexpensive way to decorate any room.

The ideas and procedures I have outlined here can be applied using ordinary paint as well as water-based glow in the dark paint. The originality about this is that the mural which is visible by day will turn into a glow-in the dark mural at night.

You could paint certain portions of the mural with ordinary wall paint and paint other parts with glow in the dark paint that is invisible by day. Then, your wall murals will look normal in the day but when the lights are turned off, the glow in the dark portions will light up and you will have a really 'cool' Glow Mural!

Lets say your walls have a couple of mermaids or fairies (for girls' rooms) or UFOs and star ships, Pokemons etc (for boys). You can paint over these shapes with a layer of clear glow paint. After painting, make sure you charge the glow paint with a good strong light source, like a Compact Fluorescent Lamp bulb or even a Black light (tube not bulb, please!); then turn off the lights and darken the room and voila...! You have fairies, mermaids, UFOs, starships etc that Glow in the Dark!

To make the clear glow paint, you have to mix together, one part of glow powder with 3 parts of clear nail polish. If you are using any other clear paint like varnish etc, make sure it is safe to use in kids rooms.

Now here are some more design ideas for kids' bedrooms and playrooms. Remember, all these ideas can be applied to ordinary paint as well as glow in the dark paint. Always be careful with paint materials when around children. Make sure an adult is always supervising these projects if kids are doing them.

Hand Painted Wall Mural with Glow Borders

Borders on a wall are an elegant way to change the look of a room. The easiest way to do this is to paint two parallel lines either at eye level or about a foot above the floor. Deciding on what motifs or designs to paint or stencil between these two lines will depend entirely on who the occupants of the room are. For example, if it is a child's room then you could dip the child's hands in paint and make hand prints between the lines at regular intervals.


Every alternate hand print could be made by dipping in water-based glow paint as it is not harmful like other glow paints. This way, the wall mural handiwork will become a glow mural at night!

I am yet to find a kid who doesn't enjoy this activity thoroughly!

Vegetable-Stencil Borders


Another option for border design is block printing using vegetables or fruits. Use these vegetable-stencils with glow paint and you can create stunning glow in the dark wall designs.

Capsicum, okra and apples when cut in half horizontally, dipped in paint and stamped onto the surface produce ready made floral designs.

String beans can be used to print tiny leaf designs. Use your imagination to cut up a design on potatoes or carrots. Then use this as a homemade stencil to reproduce the design.

Here are more ingenious ways to add design to your wall murals:

Childs-Play Roll-Out Border

Choose any old toy car or truck in your child's toy basket, Dip the wheels into the paint and roll it along the surface to create parallel lines; or you could zigzag them for a cute effect!

Walk-in-the-Park Leafy Borders

Step outside for a walk. Pick up a few leaves that appeal to you. Now dip the leaf surface into the paint and press it onto the wall to create a naturally stenciled leaf design.

Milky Way Artistry Murals on a Dime

For a genuine work of art, try this. Dip an old toothbrush into paint. Hold the brush close to the surface you would like to produce this effect on. Now pull back the bristles and release them gently so that a fine spray effect is produced on the desired surface. Test out the spray action on a piece of paper before trying it on a wall.

Sponge painting is another surface painting method to create special effects inexpensively. Sponged-on designs actually let you personalize your space with minimum effort, cost and time. All you need is a plain wall, some cheap acrylic paint, a sponge and lots of enthusiasm!

If you can't afford the expensive sea sponges, then don't fret yet, there is help. Just get any old/new sponge, randomly pinch out pieces so you get an uneven plucked out effect. Now hold this piece of 'personal art' comfortably in your hand and dip it into the paint. Then dab the paint-soaked portion onto a scrap of paper, just to get the excess paint out. Proceed to applying the sponge onto the wall at regular intervals. Stand back and view your artwork before touching up the design. Have fun!

To go in for a really coordinated design scheme, you can use the same effects you used on the walls of the room on the furniture or other accessories in the room.

For example, if your kitchen walls have the leaf design, then you can use the same design on the cupboards, tabletops, and refrigerator door and bread box too! I hope that was a fun set of frugal ideas to spruce up your walls this summer. But before you rush off to start, make a note of the following tips too:

1. Make sure the surface to be decorated is clean and dry.

2. Keep your supplies [sponge, paint, rags, scraps of paper or tissue, stencils, vegetables or fruits etc] on an old newspaper so you don't have a messy floor to contend with at the end of your project.

3. Use acrylic craft paint instead of the oil-based stencil paint because it is brighter and easier to clean.

Now that just reminds me, there are a whole lot of people staying in rented homes who aren't allowed to paint their walls! Guess what? You can still decorate with any design you want!

Here's what to do:

Using any of the tips given above, paint, stencil or block-print the designs you want on cheap sheets or old bed sheets. Make sure you use good quality fabric paint. Let it dry thoroughly. Then cut out these designs and soak them in a solution of liquid starch and water [2 tsp starch to one cup water]. Now place them on the walls wherever you want. They can be peeled off easily when you get tired of them or when it's time to move!




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