Folk Art Mural – Before & After

by | Sep 3, 2009 | Miscellaneus | 10 comments


I’ve been posting before & after pictures of furniture so far, so I wanted to change it up a bit and put some before & after pictures of a mural I rendered in a client’s home. Above is the before picture. It is a very welcoming room, but they were ready for a change and they were very open. Their home is a historic home that was used as a hospital during the Civil War, so I wanted to capture that in a mural. I suggested we paint the walls a creamy yellow and on a focal wall, I would paint a Rufus Porter style folk art mural of their home, a nearby covered bridge, and some surrounding barns.

This is the after above their fireplace. The house centered in the middle is their home as it looked in the 1800’s.

And here’s the after picture of the family room. It was so brave of them to let me paint a mural on their entire wall! They loved how it turned out and I must confess…I hated the fact that I couldn’t take it home with me. 🙂 I get to visit it often, though.

So, for the how-to part of this blog. YOU CAN DO THIS! Even if you’re not an artist…it’s just paint. If you mess up, wipe it off or paint over it and try again. And a folk art style mural is very forgiving.
1: Paint the walls in a satin, eggshell, or semigloss finish in a good background color. Light blues are nice because they resemble sky, so are greens, yellows, and whites. You do not want to try to paint a mural on flat or glossy paint. A surface painted in a flat finish will suck up your paint and your paint will smear on a glossy finish.
2: Find an inspiration for you mural. This can be a photo, illustration, or another mural you spotted in a book or magazine. My inspiration for this mural was the artist Rufus Porter.
3: Plan out where your mural is going, how large it will be, and what colors you want to use. Ready to start? You’ll need a cheap paint brush (a chip brush will do nicely), some rags (I like to use the onesies my boys have grown out of), acrylic paints, water in a spray bottle, paper plates, paper towels, plastic cups, artist brushes (I prefer flat, filberts, and rounds and I’ll talk later about the kind of brushes I like), water based polycrylic in a satin finish.
4: For the background, mix your landscape colors in paper cups with water and polycrylic. The mix should be thin, but not runny. Use the chip brush to spread the paint on the wall and spread it around with a rag. Use the spray bottle of water to keep the paint thin and workable. Just spray it directly onto the wall where you’re working. This is the method I used to create the “hills.” The color should be darker at the top of the hills and fade as you go down.
5: Now it’s time for the fun part. Add the trees, the farm houses, tree line, fences, whatever you want in your landscape. I use paper plates as a pallet to mix my paint colors and I add some polycrylic with my paint in order to make to smoother to work with and more durable when it dries. If you can’t draw freehand use carbon paper, a projector, or even stencils. You ca also find a friend who can sketch it for you to paint. Be creative!
6: In order to soften the look of the mural, I mix the base paint color (Sherwin Williams’ Full Moon) with water and rub it over the entire mural (make sure it’s dry) with a rag in order to give the mural a faded and aged appearance. If you’re doing a mural in a kid’s room or bathroom, you will want to put a top coat of polycrylic to protect the mural.

Sorry I don’t have pictures of the process, but I did this project before I started the blog! I’ll make more pics in the future. Hope this inspires you!


  1. Jane

    Wow…your paintings are beautiful! Your one talented mamma!

    Decor mamma

  2. Aimee

    You are so talented! I'll be back to see what else you come up with.

  3. Its So Very Cheri

    Thank you for posting to the party. You did an amazing job. My Dad is an artist. I hope you will come back often and post lots of projects.
    I look forward to getting to know you better.
    I will sign up as a follower and hope you will do the same.
    Its So Very Cheri

  4. Crafty Niche

    That is very neat and thanks for the directions!

  5. Janell @ Isabella and Max

    Gorgeous! It reminds me of a friend's home that has a mural running around a room from when the house was built in the early 1900's. The colors work perfectly and look aged. I can see why the clients are so happy with the work, at least YOU have photos!


    Stunning. This is lovely! Love it.

  7. dayana

    I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.



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Marian Parsons - Miss Mustard Seed

I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer.  READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…


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