Preparing for a mural
Before a mural can be painted you need to have two things: power and water. Certainly if it’s an outdoor mural, these two requirements can be worked around, but power is needed for lighting and projecting, and water is needed for cleaning brushes. Without those things, the level of work increases, the time it takes increases and the price of the project increases. If you’re a small business I recommend saving the mural for the absolute last thing you do before opening. Though, in my experience, it’s a good idea to even start after opening.
People love to watch the mural process. They will come in every day to see how the project has progressed. So if you’re a restaurant having an indoor mural painted, you instantly get repeat customers. You’re also creating brand loyalty. Those same customers who came in that first week or two to watch the mural get painted, bring their families from time to time always telling the same old story “I was one of the first customers here. I was here when they were still painting that mural.” It gives your customers a feeling of being connected with your restaurant, a shared experience. So, while you’re dodging the fire marshal and pretending to have way less seating than you’ll add in later, make room against the wall for your mural artist to put on an awesome show for your customers.
Prepping the room:
Protect the floors:
I always bring drop clothes to lay down when I work. I try to be as careful as humanly possible but ultimately it is your responsibility to protect your property. I recommend laying down drop clothes and runways in the areas leading to the mural, around the mural, and to the restroom or janitors closet (wherever the brushes will be cleaned).
Protect the furniture:
The way I get the mural on the wall is with a projector. This gives me a more accurate depiction of the sketch than if I tried to transfer it with paper, a grid system, or freehand. However, the downside is it means I need a clear path to the wall. In a small room, this may mean that all of the furniture needs to be removed. It really depends on the location and needs to be evaluated on a case by case basis, but it is something to keep in mind when preparing for a mural. If I have to move furniture around to get to a space, it is easy for the furniture to become damaged, and it slows down the mural process. Slower mural= more money. So having the area clear and ready to go can cut down on the cost of a mural.
Prepping the wall:
If the building is old, you may find that you have some unsightly holes in the wall. It is best to have a professional fill and spackle all holes before contacting a muralist. As a muralist I’m great at putting paint on walls, but spackling and floating… that’s a whole art unto itself. I can do it, but it ain’t gonna be pretty. So it’s worth it to hire a professional.
Another great money saving tip is to prime or paint the wall before contacting the muralist. This will reduce the time spent prepping the wall, and reduce the cost of the overall project. (Also, having a natural color of the wall that matches the rest of the room provides the muralist with a great opportunity to integrate the mural into the overall décor of the room. But be sure to save some of the paint you use for touch ups.)
And that’s the basics for prepping a location for your mural. You don’t have to do all of these steps, pick and choose the steps that feel right for your location, and just be aware that the more you do before hand, the less expensive the overall project will be.
Thanks for reading,