How to Paint a Triangle Wall Mural in 4 hours and $30


Who wants to know how I managed how to do this? Well I’ll tell ya…. 
PicMonkey Collage

So, we’ve lived here in Dowagiac for one week and things are starting to come together. There is a whisper of order in the midst of chaos, a hint of something more than tearing apart and putting back together.

I feel the spirit in that whisper and when I hear it, feel it, sense it in our midst I feel a physical urge to reach out and hold it close.

The spirit is hope.

This weekend my dear, brilliant friend Naomi came for an overnight with her clever husband Aaron and their adorable two year old.

They are both creative spirits and when they’ve come to help us with house stuff before, stuff gets done.

Naomi recently moved into a new place of her own and she is busy making a small space work for them in a way that is inspiring and creative, worthy of a model on the showroom of Ikea.

Naomi's dining room and my real-life inspiration

Naomi’s dining room and my real-life inspiration

And even with their own chaos, they still made time to drive down and stay the night. They are my people, my home team, and this weekend they were a saving grace like none other.

My walls have art, my living room has a flow, my fire place was painted, and Aaron did all the dishes and most of the cooking all weekend long so we could co-parent, plot and work.

One of the things Naomi has been doing in their apartment is these art-deco wall murals. She’s been texting me pictures of her progress and telling me “We’re doing this at your new place! pick a wall!”

I wasn’t sure but, she hasn’t really led me astray before and so I stared souring the internet for color pallets that I liked. In the flurry of selling, packing and moving I asked the beautiful congregation here in Dowagiac to paint the house mostly gray. I figured I would add color with art and window treatments.

And apparently also this crazy wall mural that looks like a stained glass mosaic which I decided to do in the focal wall of our new eat-in kitchen area. (We have a dining room for the first time in my life, and while we still don’t have a table, I’m thrilled anyway.)

Here is where I landed color wise, and let’s be honest I found this on the way to Lowes to buy paint. leah_duncan_meadow_summer_grove_in_day

It’s a fabric swatch that I found on Pinterest, which really seemed to embody the feel and tone I was going for in the kitchen / eat in kitchen area.

So I purchased samples of the following colors:

Palladian Blue by Benjamin Moore (leftover from the dining room)
Hale Navy by Benjamin Moore (leftover from the lowers in the kitchen)
Peach Ash by Olympic
Rhinestone by Sherwin Williams
Bayside by Valspar
Coral Reef by Sherwin Williams
Grand hotel awning yellow by Valspar

The wall was already Mindful Gray by Sherwin Williams

I didn’t worry about mixing paint finishes, I have some satin, some eggshell and some semi gloss and it still all worked out fine. Well, mostly… more on this later.

Here is what I bought

Brushes for each color (Use the best you can afford, even craft brushes. The cheap chip brushes are pretty awful to work with.)
The Paint, again you could do this in all tester samples.
Frog tape, two rolls 1.41 inches wide. (buy the frog tape, you won’t regret it)

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1. Start with a clean wall, mine had been painted in the last month so I wasn’t too worried.

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2. Start taping. I started with one long line that extended from the top left to the middle bottom. Then make sure all of your corners have triangles, or else you will end up with some trapezoids. And that’s fine, it’s your wall.

Be sure to get your tape where you want it before pressing it down, or else your lines can curve a little. And they may not be perfect in the end, I’m sure mine aren’t. I didn’t use a level or a chalk line or anything.

Seriously I just started taping.

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Sometimes I had to bisect trapezoids to make triangles, but that works well because geometry is my math jam.

Step back often to make sure things look right to you, and make sure to keep a mix of big and small triangles.

3. Once you have everything where you want it, you are ready to start painting.

Or ready to run to the store for more brushes, like I did. I needed to come up with 7 brushes, but in the end I used 6 brushes and a roller.

Take an adorable baby with you to the store, if you’ve got one, I did and have no regrets.

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All sizes are fine, and seriously bigger, nice craft brushes work well too. You need soft, smooth bristles, or foam rollers, but don’t make the mistake that I did and get cheap brushes, it will make more work for you.

Start with your boldest color and make sure that you have some in every quadrant, but not too much. I used my boldest color only 4 times to start and stuck to mostly my smallest triangles.

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Keep working as you like, making sure that you are using enough soft neutrals to balance out your brights and, as Naomi kept telling me, “give the eye a resting place.”

Oh and keep your brushes or rollers in plastic baggies so they don’t dry out as you work.

My favorite resting place is the Palladian blue.

Keep filling in, at the end I started marking my colors out with a dot of color to figure out what could go where and not touch another triangle of the same color.

4. Grab a trash bag and pull the tape AS SOON as you’re done painting. You don’t want it to dry. Watch out as there will likely be wet paint on the tape, you don’t want that getting all over the place. Take a goofy, nervous picture of yourself with no makeup and baggy eyes before you pull the tape.

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5. Enjoy your focal art wall. Walk by it and do an end zone dance because you DID that! You’re practically friggin Picasso.

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Addendum- So you have an issue: I had an issue. The first blue I used (Narangasset navy) was a hot mess, no idea why but it peeled right off with the tape, sometimes in whole sheets like a decal. This made me very sad. GET as much of it off as you can because if it’s not sticking the first time, odds are if you paint over it, the base color will peel off with the new, wet color on top.

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The one with the issues! Don’t give up, don’t worry, you can correct even this!

Luckily I had the Hale Navy on hand. So after it all dried I matched my tape to the existing lines and painted again with the new navy.

And if you have a bleeding issue you can fix it with a small craft brush, I have a few little bleeding issues that I am ignoring because they’re so minor.

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  • Mark Allman

    Leanne,
    It looks great and thanks for the directions!

  • http://simply-rea.blogspot.com Rea

    I LOVE this! The colors you picked are beautiful! You are absolutely friggin Picasso. :)