How to Paint Pictures on Outside Walls

Updated April 17, 2017

Pictures painted on an exterior wall of your home can add visual interest to your outdoor spaces, provide a fun backdrop for your children's play in the backyard or add curb appeal to your home. The method of mural painting is simple and your children can be part of the process. Care must be taken to maintain the beauty and quality of the mural, but overall, this is an ideal way to rejuvenate your exterior walls.

Draw a rough sketch of the image or images you wish to paint on your exterior wall. If your children will be helping with this project, make the drawing simple but fun. For example, if this wall faces the backyard where your children play, choose a theme that will facilitate a fun play environment such as an underwater theme or a jungle. Talk to your children about their ideas for the wall. Finalise your drawing accordingly.

Scrub the wall with a mild detergent and water. Rinse off with a garden hose. Ensure the surface is entirely clean and free of any debris. Wait for the wall to dry completely. Lay down the tarp below the wall to ensure no paint splatters on your patio or grass.

Apply the first coat of primer to the wall on the entire area to be painted. Ensure the coat is even and smooth. Wait for the first coat to dry, then apply additional coats if necessary. The layers of primer should make the wall completely opaque in order for the colours you use to appear with their true pigmentation.

Draw the outlines of your sketch on the wall with pencil so you can see where the images are. You can take this opportunity to note the colour by section if your children are helping you so they will know what colour to paint where.

Paint the large areas first with a broad flat brush. Detail the smaller areas with a smaller round brush next. Step back from the wall to ensure no areas have been left unpainted and fill them in if any appear. Wait for the acrylic paint to dry.

Apply the varnish liberally to the entire wall ensuring full coverage of the painted areas. Wait for the varnish to dry. The varnishes are available in different finishes such as gloss, matt and semigloss. Wait for the first coat to dry, evaluate the finish and apply another coat if necessary to achieve the desired effect.


If you are a beginner, do not attempt a complex mural such as a trompe l'oeil, which translates to tricking the eye. These are murals that offer deep perspectives on the wall so the viewer feels as though they could talk right into it. Try something simpler to achieve the best results, especially if working with children.


Apply the varnish yourself, do not allow your children to help as these substances are toxic with high fumes.

Things You'll Need

  • Primer
  • Acrylic paints
  • Brushes
  • Pail
  • Tarp
  • Varnish
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About the Author

Rosalind Mohammed began writing in 2002. She contributes to various websites, specializing in writing about art and design-related topics. She holds a Bachelor of Environmental Design from the Ontario College of Art and Design and an honors Bachelor of Arts in English and fine art history from the University of Toronto.