The Business of Home Murals: Show Up Prepared

Nothing is more aggravating to the artist or client than for you to get to the job and realize you do not have all of the items you need. Here is a helpful checklist you can use to ensure you always show up prepared.

Containers to carry your mural supplies: To carry my mural supplies I like to use two five-gallon buckets with handles. You can purchase these at home depot for approximately for less than $10.00. Just about, everything you need should fit into these buckets.

Mural Paints: Carry all of the paints you will need to complete the mural. Personally, I bring three large tubes of Van Gogh Acrylics in yellow, red and blue. In addition I bring two large jars of Van Gogh while and black acrylic paints. I also bring a large tube of acrylic medium. If a large section of my mural is a color that will need to be mixed like brown, orange, purple, or green, I bring a large tube of that color also. As for the other colors, I mix them on site.

Artists Palette: I do not necessarily carry a palette to mix my paints. Instead, I bring a pack of white Styrofoam plates and a few Styrofoam cups. For larger murals, I bring Saran Wrap to cover the cups of the mixed paints. I prefer using these disposable palettes so I spend less time cleaning. I like to bring Popsicle sticks to mix the paints.

Painting Drop cloths: Do not forget to bring drop cloths when you are painting in someone’s home. The last thing you want to do is to ruin their property. Canvas tarps work great, but if you like to roll it all up and throw it away, you can use the clear plastic tarps.

Cleaning supplies: Just in case you do drip paint on the carpet, or need to clean your brushes, do not forget to bring cleaning supplies. If you catch the stain immediately, all you need to clean it up are baby wipes, a bit of dish detergent and a wet rag. I like to keep sample size packages of these items in my mural kit. My best advice to you about cleaning paint stains is not to make any. Tiny drips ten to happen but larger stains can be avoided by putting down drop cloths carefully and being neat.

Drawing tools: When you are in the mural business, the last thing an artist wants to do when they get to a clients house is ask for a pencil. (I have done this. It is terribly embarrassing.) Bring pencils, pens, sharpeners, artist’s erasers, and sharpie markers.

Artists Brushes: Do not forget to bring your favorite brushes when you are painting a mural. Try to use quality brushes, or you will find yourself picking brush fibers out of your mural. Personally, I bring a few high quality bristle brushes for details, and a large pack of disposable sponge brushes to cover larger areas. You may want to bring a small roller with you (edging roller) to cover very large areas.

Measuring tape and yardstick: Do not forget to take your yardstick, ruler, and/or measuring tape to your mural comission. You may need to it to make straight edges and to prove to the homeowner that the mural is actually the promised size.

Snacks and water: I prefer to bring high energy, healthy snack and bottles water when I paint a mural. It keeps my energy up and keeps my focused on my work instead of my stomach. When I bring snacks and water with me, I get more work done more quickly.

Step stool or ladder: Do not rely on your mural customers to have a good and safe ladder or step stool. If a large ladder or scaffolding is needed, you may want to put the requirements for it n the contract. Otherwise, bring your own.

Miscellaneous tools: Don’t forget to bring your special tools of the trade for painting murals. Mine include stencils, an assortment of stamps (for small flowers and bugs), scissors, kitchen sponges (which I sometimes cut into small animal shapes), sea sponges, scissors, and a few small tubes of sparkly or metallic color paints. I also bring a projector along for larger murals.

Music: I find that bringing my favorite inspirational music makes the time go faster when I am painting a mural. Music also helps to keep the creative process flowing when I paint murals. Do not ask to borrow the customers equipment, bring an ipod or old portable cd player with you.

Camera: If you forget everything else, DO NOT FORGET to bring your camera when you paint a mural. Well-intentioned customers will promise to email you a picture of your work, but they seldom remember. Should you forget your camera, it helps if your cell phone also has a camera. In pinch, when I have forgotten both, I have run to the local convenient store and purchased a disposable camera.

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