How To Paint A Mountain Mural - Erin's Inside Job

How To Paint A Mountain Mural

Apparently I’ve lost my mind and decided to dip my toes into the world of DIY projects. My first was learning how to paint a mountain mural in Miles’ room and I LOVE the way it turned out. Even for someone like me who has no experience with painting rooms or artistic talent, it was super simple and I wanted to share with you what I did in case anyone wanted to replicate it.

picture of a nursery with a crib and a mountain mural in the background

The whole project took me about five hours (not including going to buy paint). This included drying time to allow the first coat of paint to dry, so all in all it was a pretty manageable time frame.

Planning & shopping

I got the inspiration on Pinterest and read a couple posts for a general idea on what I was supposed to do. Initially, I was going to buy a wall decal, but the ones I found didn’t have dimensions that really worked. Also, given the large wall size, prices easily went over $200 as I tried to find one that would fit well. After reading the DIY posts, I felt like this was something I could execute without screwing it up too terribly AND save a lot of money.

Once I made the decision, the first thing I needed to do was pick out colors. His room only has one window, so it doesn’t get a ton of natural light (you can see what the room looked like when we bought the house here). This meant that I didn’t want to pick colors that were too dark or it would make it feel even darker in there. I ordered a redwood-colored Nugget couch that should be here in the next month or so, so I went in thinking that I would do some variation of yellow, red, and gray mountains. Once I got the actual store, however, I found no combination of yellow and red that didn’t remind me of the McDonald’s logo, so I nixed that idea.

I settled on two shades of gray and one yellow and then the red would come from the Nugget couch itself. I have no paint brand loyalty and for no reason other than they had colors I liked, I chose:

  • Valspar Golden Treasure (gallon – way too much, quart would have been fine)
  • Valspar Tempered Gray (quart)
  • Valspar Urban Sunrise (quart)
  • Valspar Du Jour (sample)

Because I’d never painted a wall like this and definitely hadn’t gone and bought paint, I did what I always do when in similar situations — admit I know nothing and ask questions. I went to the salesperson, told them I needed to buy paint to paint a mountain mural in my son’s room, had no idea what I was doing, and they very nicely walked me through it. I may have sounded like an idiot, but I got all the answers I needed and didn’t have to go back to the store.

Things you will need for this project:

  • Drop cloth (I used a tarp we already had at home)
  • Painter’s tape – I recommend Frog Tape. Get a good quality brand.
  • Paint tray/liners
  • Paint rollers (I had one big and one small)
  • Paint brush for small areas or details

I bought a kit that came with a paint tray, one liner, two rollers, and one paintbrush. Thankfully, I had exactly what I needed, but I may have grabbed a couple more liners for the different colors. Instead, I used the one liner and then wrapped the tray in saran wrap for each of the other two.

Outlining the mountains

I did this part entirely freehand. All I knew was that I wanted three layers of mountains, but no idea what configuration. I started with the most forward mountains and simply started taping. After I did some, I would stand back and see how it looked. Anything that needed tweaking I would adjust and step back again. Rinse and repeat. Thankfully, I’ve always had a pretty good eye for symmetry, so I was able to see what needed to move and what didn’t. Just play around with the layout until you find something that you like.

Prepping for painting

The next thing I did was take a picture of the outline once I was satisfied with it. I needed to know what orientation of colors looked the best on the mountains, so I simply did a markup on my phone and tried different color combinations until I found one that worked. Here’s what I came up with:

Some people who paint a mountain mural don’t leave the tape lines in between the different mountains, but I liked the look better when they did, so I needed to make sure that both the top and the bottom of the tape were cut precisely. I drew lines with a pen and then used a box cutter to (carefully) trim the tape into the right shape.

Once the tape was trimmed, I ran a damp cloth over it to help flatten it to the wall. Another tip I’ve come across is to paint the edges of the tape with the background color of the wall, which helps seal the edge and prevent bleeding from the new paint color. I didn’t have the original color, so I took my chances. In the end, there was some minor bleeding (also because I just used painter’s tape we’ve had for a couple years), but nothing that couldn’t be fixed.

Then…you PAINT!

Paint a mountain mural

There are a couple options when you buy paint. If you spend a little more, you can get paint that allows you to only need one coat. I bought one that was in the middle, and I was able to get away with one coat for two of the colors, but not the third. If I was doing it again, I would just spend a little more and get the one coat paint.

I painted all my mountains based on my markup, then waited about 90 minutes to go back and repaint the dark gray. According to Google, you’re supposed to wait closer to 2-4 hours, but I knew that would cut into Miles’ bedtime and I also couldn’t wait until the next day to do the second coat because you’re supposed to take the tape off when it’s still slightly wet.

I finished all the painting, then waited maybe 30 min or so before I started carefully peeling the tape off (obviously the most satisfying part). I was really impressed with the outcome, but as I had anticipated, two of the mountains didn’t have any contrasting colors behind them, so there was no defined peak. The next day, I did some more taping and painted a thin peak line for both.

There were a couple places where I needed to tidy up the tape lines, but overall it turned out really well! I am now confident in my ability to paint triangles on a wall and in your ability as well!!

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