Paint For Doing Wall Murals | What Paint Do I Use For Wall Murals?

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What type of paints should you use to paint a wall mural? If you have just decided to try your hand at painting a wall mural… you might be a bit confused about choosing paint. Just hit the paint aisle at your local craft store and the choices can be overwhelming.

If you’re just an average Joe, wanting to use inexpensive materials to get started with your first (or even second) wall mural… it’s easy to find cheap paint products to safely use on your walls.

It may seem like you need to go to your local big box hardware store and buy a jillion gallons or quarts of “wall” paint… because you are painting on walls, right?  Nope… that’s not the way to start painting cheap at all.  That will cost you in the hundreds of dollars and then you will be left with a bunch of cans filled with leftover paint that you won’t be able to ever use again. YIKES!

Now… if your doing a large mural of a beach scene or Italian countryside… then you may want to get a few quarts of wall paint. Maybe a pale blue for sky or a warm tan for buildings or beach. These cans of paint will go a very long way… but they are only for very large wall murals and only if the mural includes a large expanse of one color.

I have invested in quarts and even a gallon of pure white, high quality wall paint that I use to mix with other colors to create a large pallet of colors to use for wall murals.

With a basic set of 6 colors you can create almost any color needed for a wall mural. But… I find it easier and a bit more fun if I have “LOTS” of colors – sort of like a new 48 pack of crayons. Just add a bit of blue to a half-cup of white wall paint and you could paint a sky or ocean filled with water to fit an 8′ square mural.

If you need a nice sand color for your beach… just mix up equal amounts of red, blue and yellow and this turns to brown. Now add that brown to a 1/2 cup of white wall paint and you should be getting close to a nice sandy color for your mural.

Liquitex Basics Acrylics Set of 48 Colors

What Paints To Use For Kids Room Murals?

First off… don’t use any paint that requires a solvent for cleaning. It not only smells, but the odor can cause problems long after the painting is finished.

Acrylic paints available from your local craft store are non-toxic.  They will even say this on the bottle. They all clean up with water… as does acrylic or latex wall paints.

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If your painting a wall mural filled with your child’s favorite cartoon characters, you will probably want to list out every color on a shopping list.

  • Peach or flesh color for face, hands and feet
  • Brown, yellow or black for hair color
  • Clothing colors etc.

Just keep looking at the picture you want to copy to the wall and list every color. You may want to even take the picture with you to the crafts store.

At the crafts store you will find a aisle that holds racks of paint. Don’t choose Apple Barrel brand. It’s very inexpensive… but the coverage is poor. I mean really bad.

The other brands – Deco-Art and Americana are both very good… so whichever is the least expensive will be your choice. I use Liquetex… It’s more expensive – but the colors are more intense and they cover better. When I want White – I don’t want to paint the area a dozen times to get the coverage.

Acrylic Craft paint goes a long way… so you will only need one bottle of each color. Since they cost about a dollar a bottle, you can get a ton of cute colors for a very reasonable price.

Tip: If you run out of the color you need to finish your wall mural… and need to purchase another bottle: It will always match. Most paint dye lots in acrylic paints are an exact match.

I usually purchase a bottle of LIquitex brand paint in white. It’s very thick and covers well. It’s more expensive, but when I want to make the highlight in an eyeball or create a shine on an apple… this is the only way to go.

Tip: If red is a color you will be using in your kid’s mural… choose LIQUITEX brand CAD RED MED red paint. You see… red is the hardest color to get good coverage. The pigment in red paints is usually low in volume and just looks like a blotchy mess. So I use the LIQUITEX brand because it usually only takes 2 coats to get a really good red.

So… now you can see that choosing paint for doing wall murals isn’t really that difficult. And… it can be a very inexpensive project that will make a big impact in a room.

Try a mural in your bathroom… for your kids or your guest bathrooms. These are really easy and fun to do!

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  1. THAT Painter Lady says

    Hi Lynn…

    I love all brands of craft paints… except Apple Barrel. You get what you pay for… and higher quality paints have better coverage. This means that you won’t have to layer on the paint to get the desired color!

    I mix brands of craft paint often. They are essential all made with the same ingredients… so Mix Away!

  2. Rhonda says

    When you say to get a quart of white wall paint to mix colors into, do you mix in acrylics, such as decoart, or other wall paint? Also, what is the best finish to use on a mural? Satin, or semi gloss? I’ve been decorative painting with acrylics for years, I’ve even tried my hand at oils, which I didn’t care for. I would love to do a beach mural in my bathroom, but I’m not sure where to start. You have given some good tips, thanks!

  3. THAT Painter Lady says

    Hi Rhonda…

    Yes I mix acrylic craft paints like decoart into white house wall paint. However… it will turn the color into a much paler shade of the decorart or acrylic craft paint.

    If you use red craft paint and mix it into some of the white paint… you will get pink. So… I use this tip for colored areas that I don’t mind if they aren’t red.

    This means I only have to use the full strength red for areas that are red… and I don’t have to buy various shades of pinks or peach or flesh tones. As I can use red to make pink, and red and yellow into the white make peach and flesh colors.

    So… buy purchasing one quart of white paint… and only having to purchase a few colors of craft paints… I can mix lots of colors that will cover a large area.

    Using the more expensive LIQUITEX brand paint in colors makes this process go even farther.

    I am always looking for ways to cut costs and also… I don’t have to carry around so many tubes of paint.

    I usually have large expanses of one or two colors when starting a mural. Such as sky blue for… well… sky. If I mix up a cup of sky blue using a cup of the white quart paint and a portion of a bottle of dark blue craft paint… I get a cup of sky blue that will cover the entire sky area of my beginning mural.

  4. Nick says

    In a few weeks I will start painting a friends daughter’s walls in a jungle theme. While I have drawn and painted for a long time, this will be my first on walls. Is acrylic available in bigger containers? Primarily for the green. I am very particular on detail and shading so I will need many colors, especially for all the different animals. Also, any first time tips would be great. Thank you.

  5. Dawn Papandrea-Khan says

    Hi Nick, I am Debra’s guest speaker, Dawn. I am a muralist out of New York. I have done several jungle themed murals (feel free to check them out on my website if you need ideas).

    As far as the paint, I do not always use expensive acrylic paints for my murals, especially for the larger areas where I need to block in color. I actually use quarts of latex paint. You can just grab a color chart, pick your greens, have them mixed at your local paint store, and you are good to go.

    You can paint with your acrylics right on top of the latex without any problems.

    I always tell everyone to send pictures. We would love to see your mural when it is complete.

    That Painter Lady – DAWN

  6. Chris Frosztega says

    Yes, the more expensive craft paints have better pigment and binders and blending your own gives you more colour flexibility, same goes for latex paints.

    Great articles and videos

  7. goodsoil says

    I am in the process of doing a wall mural for the kids area of a church. Idraw & love to do water colors but never painted on a wall. I need tips as to how to proceed, the type of paints to utilize & smart techniques. I am considering a noah’s ark theme or a garden of eden kind of concept. Is there a site that has illustrations/demos?


  1. [...] As well as knowing your basic paints and allied materials, you might want to explore some of the novelty paints and glazes on the market: metallic, fluorescent and textured paints are just a few of them. Playing with effects is all part of the fun! About the Author: Get even more help with your wall mural painting at Here’s a helpful article that answer your questions about paint for doing wall murals. [...]

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