How To // Monochrome Mountainscape Mural

First, let me just say “May the 4th Be With You!” haha, sorry! Had to, I did!

I had originally planned to start a micro series on the blog today, with tips and tricks for bringing small doses of boho into your home, but the truth is that I didn’t write the post in advance and quite honestly friends, I don’t have the mental capacity today to form any coherant thoughts on the subject, haha— so we’re going to do a simple post with a how to for the DIY wall mural I recently shared in my fitness room tour (HERE).

Shall we?

First, my photo inspiration from many moons ago…

Image Source

After coming across this photo on Pinterest, I was pretty set on recreating the effect in my fitness room, but with a different color scheme. I had already decided on lilac, so I chose a pale version for the other walls and a considerably darker shade to mix in and create the graduated hues.

After deciding on my color scheme, step one was to sketch the outline of the mountain ranges onto the wall (not pictured).

This can be a very organic process, or you can look up inspiration from photographs of mountain ranges or similar painted murals you can find online. You can get fancy and project the image onto the wall somehow and trace the outlines. I freehanded mine while trying to mimic the lines in the inspiration photo above. Then, as I painted each level, I made adjustments on the fly that looked better to my eye as I went along.

I don’t have a good photo of step two, so this one will serve as both step two and step three.

Step two is to paint your background color, plus your lightest and darkest colors in the gradation.

My very top level is the creamy white I have in my hallway and on my woodwork, serving as a misty sky in the background of my monochromatic mountainscape.

The next level down is the pale lilac on the other walls.

The dark shade in the bottom right corner is the darker shade of lilac I purchased, straight from the can.

TIP #1: Apply two coats on each level, before mixing the next color(!), for best results.

TIP #2: Keep a portion of both the lightest and darkest colors, unadulterated, in case you need them later.

Step three is to start mixing paint!

I was VERY hesitant to start this step. So much so that I abandoned the project for three YEARS! Knowing I was going to do a blog post sharing my fitness room tour kicked my butt into gear and I finally bit the bullet and tackled this beast. I am going to be completely honest here. This was a trial and error, hit or miss process for me.

My strategy was to add a cup (with an old dry half cup measure as my scoop) of the darker paint, to a small portion of the pale lilac that I had remaining after painting the rest of the room many moons ago. I mixed it in a paint cup before brushing it on to the next level in the mountain range.

TIP #3: Let each level dry before moving on!

Paint can be very deceiving, especially with such subtle differences between the hues. The lighter lilac in the photo above is intended to be darker than the shade above it, but when the paint was wet it was LIGHTER.

When I read the blog post attached to my inspiration photo on Pinterest, the blogger said it took her three days to complete her mural (and she is an artist who does this type of painting on canvas all the time!). I couldn’t believe it would take that long, despite the fact that I had waited three YEARS to finish mine, haha, but I digress. But now, having completed it, I can totally see that three days is a very accurate timeframe and I wish I had spaced mine out. If I had to do it again, I would give myself a couple of weekends to complete it. But I was fast tracking mine to keep my blog schedule in tact, so I did all the in-between levels in one day. It was exhausting though, like I worked a full day and then went to the gym for an intense cardio workout. But worth it.

Here you can see how the paint that looked lighter when wet dried every so slightly darker than the shade above it.

Another peak with that same mixed shade of lilac. The subtlety varies depending on lighting or where you stand in the room, as this section appears to have more contrast than the section using the same color on the left side of the mural (away from the window).

Keep adding more of the darker shade as you move down from level to level in your mountainscape.

This level required a remix after the first coat, as it was hardly distinguishable from the shade above it. I came up against a couple of levels that I had to make modifications to.

With the last two sections to go, I only had a very small portion of my dark lilac paint left and I knew it wouldn’t be enough to get a significant enough difference in hue. I dipped into my reserved paint I had luckily set aside at the beginning.

I split the current mixed shade into two containers and added one-ish cup of the reserved dark lilac to one of the containers and two plus cups to the other. And crossed my fingers that it would be enough of a difference.

First coat of the next darkest shade up. VERY subtle on the right side, but that was okay.

Second coat on and then coat one of the final section…and now it was a waiting game to see how it would dry

Womp womp… SO subtle and so NOT okay…

So I took the very last of my reserved dark lilac and added it into the mix, painted and held my breath, hoping it would dry dark enough to see the difference. Otherwise I would have been going back to Lowe’s to buy another quart of dark lilac!

And in the end it was more than dark enough, almost too dark! I did consider going back and adding a little bit of the reserved pale lilac to the mix and adding another coat, but in the end I was pleased enough with the subtle contrast overall that I let it be.

Knowing the obstacles I came up against, I’d probably tackle this project differently if I had to do it again. But I’m not sure exactly how to best go about it to ensure that the color mixes would be just right. Maybe there is no way to guarantee it. Maybe it’s a hit or miss kind of process. Despite the stress I felt while working on this project, I love the results, so i’d say it was worth it!

TIP #4: Buy more paint than you think you’ll need and you should be fine!

I wish I could give you all clear cut, no fail, instructions for how to do this project in your own home. Maybe I will update this post at a later date when I’m able to think it through and develop a fool proof method to the madness. In the meantime, I hope you enjoyed! And happy painting!

Have you ever painted a mural? Was it harder than you imagined?

Many thanks and much love,

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