How to Paint a Mural on a Fence

Updated April 17, 2017

Adding a mural to your fence will set your home apart. Depending on your skill level, you can choose simple or more complex designs. Whether you choose a whimsical set of cartoon characters or a wispy set of flowers and butterflies, it's certain to be a fun experience. You may want to incorporate stencils for part or all of your design if you are unsure of your drawing abilities. The environment surrounding the fence should also be considered when you choose subject matter and colour scheme.

Measure your fence and draw it to scale on graph paper. Sketch your design on the paper.

Mark your sketch in a grid fashion. Note the centre of the design both vertically and horizontally. Start at one side of your drawing and score the design in even increments. For example, note every 5 feet. If your graph paper scale is 1 inch to a foot, then mark every 5 inches.

Prepare the surface of the fence by washing it with a grease-cutting detergent. If the fence has never been painted, apply two coats of primer paint. If the paint is old, sand it well and apply two coats of primer.

Mark your fence with tape to correspond to the centre and other major measurements. Use a watercolour pencil to sketch the design onto the fence, using your graph as a guide.

Paint large blocks of background colour first. Work from the back to the front of your design.

Add small details last. In most cases you will want the background to be dry before you add the designs in the foreground.

Apply a topcoat to seal and protect your design. One or two thin coats of polyurethene or lacquer will work well.


Lacquer will give you a very glossy surface as a topcoat. If you want a satin, rather than glossy finish, try a polyurethane. However, be sure it is clear by applying some to a white paper or poster board first.


Be sure all your paints are rated for exterior use.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil
  • Graph paper
  • Ruler
  • Detergent
  • Bucket
  • Water
  • Sponge
  • Sandpaper or liquid sandpaper
  • Painter's tape or masking tape
  • Primer paint rated for exterior use
  • Watercolour pencil
  • Paints rated for exterior use
  • Art brushes of varying sizes
  • Top coat rated for exterior use.
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About the Author

Clare Bills is a writer, speaker and artist living in Ames, Iowa. She holds three Bachelor of Arts degrees, as well as a Master of Science in journalism/public relations. Bills worked in public relations for more than 15 years and now writes for several magazines and online sites. She is also the author of a foodblog: Nana Clare's Kitchen.