How to paint an outdoor mural on a wooden fence

Written by mary love
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How to paint an outdoor mural on a wooden fence
A mural painted on your wooden fence can add interest to your landscape. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

While a beautiful mural painted onto the side of a wooden fence can add significantly to your landscape, the idea of creating a painting of this impressive size can be intimidating. Taking a small sketch and making it become a very large painting on an exterior surface requires a unique approach to painting. To complete such a project, you must first determine how to prepare the surface, what kind of paints should be used and how to copy a small sketch onto the fence that is to be painted.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Drawing paper
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Outdoor acrylic primer
  • Acrylic white exterior paint
  • Paint roller
  • Level
  • Chalk, dark colour
  • Outdoor-use acrylic paints
  • Paintbrushes, assorted sizes
  • Acrylic varnish

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  1. 1

    Pressure-wash your fence and fill any blemishes on its surface with wood filler.

  2. 2

    Mark a sheet of drawing paper with a grid of 1-inch squares. One square inch on your paper will equal one square foot on your fence.

  3. 3

    Draw a sketch of your design on the paper grid and colour it in lightly with coloured pencils.

  4. 4

    Apply two coats of acrylic primer to your fence with a roller.

  5. 5

    Apply one coat of acrylic-based exterior white paint to your primed fence with a roller.

  6. 6

    Use a level and dark chalk to draw a grid of 1-foot squares on your fence.

  7. 7

    Using your small drawing as a reference, copy the drawing, square by square, onto your fence in dark chalk. If you transfer your drawing one individual square at a time instead of viewing the drawing as a whole, it will be easier to copy onto the large grid.

  8. 8

    Paint in the chalk outline with the outdoor-use acrylic paints. Match the colours used, square by square, to the colours used in your small drawing.

  9. 9

    Paint two coats of acrylic varnish over the fence with a roller to protect your painting from the elements.

Tips and warnings

  • If your fence was originally painted with a high-gloss, oil-based paint, you will need to sand the gloss off of the surface before you can apply your acrylic primer or paints.
  • Cadmium and cobalt colours are prone to premature fading.
  • Varnish should not be applied during windy or damp weather.

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