5 Steps to Painting a Mural in Toronto

5 Steps to Painting a Mural in Toronto

The winters are long and harsh for the average Toronto artist. After a number of ice storms, TTC delays and snow days, many of us are already daydreaming about the hot summer days to come!

From Kensington Market to Underpass Park and Graffiti Alley, the warm weather also brings the promise of beautiful new street art to bond and honour our city.

With programs such as StreetART Toronto (StART) (partnership applications open until Friday February 15th), local artists can start preparing their colourful, vibrant and inspiring mural contributions for 2019!

Offering support, mentorship and funding to large-scale projects, StART aims to reduce graffiti vandalism by showcasing local artists and their innovative designs, deliveries and messages.

With street art season just around the corner, here are 5 helpful steps to painting a mural in Toronto:

 


Step 1: Preparing For Your Mural

Before you start planning, take some time to evaluate your space!

Whether your mural will be on the side of a building, a concrete barrier or a traffic signal box, get a good feel for the canvas you will be working with.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Who will be seeing your mural?
  • What do you want them to feel?
  • What message do you have to share?

The project will be a lengthy one, so take a deep breath and enjoy the process of creating!


Step 2: Gather The Appropriate Tools

As a mural artist, you will need a very specific set of tools.

From paint, primer, varnish and brushes to paint rollers, sponges, ladders and stencils – consider the colours and textures you would like to achieve so that you have all of the necessary tools ahead of time.
If your mural is going to be exposed to direct sunlight, you might want to check the lighfastness (UV) qualities of your paint as well. Where quality acrylic mural paints may be ideal, traditional household paints are also a great way to handle blocking and/or under layers while being a bit more cost-efficient.

Be sure to bring along some protective tarps, aprons and goggles as well.


Step 3: Sketch Out Your Idea

Take off the pressure by having a plan in advance. This visual reference will help you transfer your ideas right onto your mural wall!

One easy technique is to divide your reference image and your wall into proportional grids.

Painting the image one square at a time will be much more straightforward than transferring a large image to scale all at once.


Step 4: Scan Your Mural Canvas For Imperfections

Take a careful look for mold, decay, old paint, warpage and/or imperfections before starting your project.

Once the area is cleaned, spackled and sanded, you should have a sufficiently smooth surface to finally start painting!


Step 5: Painting Your Mural

The background is always the best place to start. Feel free to cover large areas with large brushes and/or paint rollers! The faster the bottom layer goes up, the faster it can dry.

One helpful tip is to apply each layer and/or colour with periods of rest in between. This will allow for the paint to dry without the risk of smears and/or bleeding! Take a moment to step back and review your work from different angles as you go.

While you work your way to your final layer, you will find the opportunity to clean up your lines and cover up any accidents that may have popped up along the way.

Once you are happy, you can apply a layer of varnish sealant to protect the paint for years to come!

Interested in joining a collaborative community with like-minded people? Become a Creative Unicorn to participate in profit sharing projects, events and workshops within the city!