How to Draw on a Wall


You got in so much trouble as a kid for drawing on the walls that doing it now seems deliciously transgressive. But now that you're adult, it's time to break all the rules. If guilt is your thing, use a method that lets you erase the evidence. For something more permanent, go freehand or cheat with a stencil and paint markers.

Things You'll Need

  • Cleaner
  • Rags
  • Primer
  • Paintbrush
  • Roller
  • White board paint kit
  • Blue painter's tape
  • Dry erase markers
  • Microfiber cleaning cloth
  • Paint markers
  • Chalk
  • Regular markers
  • Stencil (optional)
  • Art to copy (optional)
  • Projector (optional)
  • Stenciling brush (optional)
  • Spray fixative or polycrylic (optional)

Wipe-Off White Board

  • Clean and repair the wall to be painted if it has cracks or flaws. White board paint is glossy and highlights every imperfection, so old flaking plaster will be obvious.

  • Tape the edges of the section to be covered by the paint with blue painter's tape.

  • Prime the wall to be painted with eggshell, glossy or high-gloss paint. Stick to white or off-white if you are using clear white board paint. A white or very light prime coat is best for white white board paint as well. Apply two coats of primer, allowing the final coat to dry for 24 hours.

  • Remove the painter's tape while the primer is still wet.

  • Re-tape the dried primed area and mix the white board emulsion according to the manufacturer's instructions. The paint must be used within an hour of mixing, so prepare to work quickly.

  • Roll on the white board paint, let it set for about three minutes, and then roll on another coat. Don't fiddle with the paint after the second coat. If you see streaks or uneven ridges of paint as you are applying it, use roller pressure to eliminate them.

  • Remove the painter's tape and let the wall cure for at least four days.

  • Draw on the wall four to seven days after painting. Use white board markers for best results, and during the initial four to seven days, wipe off all drawings the same day. After that, the wall is safe to draw on and erase whenever you like.

Plaster as Canvas

  • Wash and prime the wall to be drawn on or just clean it, if you are drawing directly on an old wall with plenty of character.

  • Sketch the freehand image you plan to draw on the wall, or just get your pencils, paint or markers ready.

  • Prepare the wall area to be illustrated by taping up a stencil with blue painter's tape, lightly drawing a grid in chalk, projecting an image to copy on the wall or taping off the area of the wall you will freehand sketch.

  • Draw along the stencil design with a paint marker, black permanent marker or pencil. Remember that pencil lead will show through some paint, so use it only if you don't mind the evidence. Block in the color on the grid according to the areas in that color on the original image. If you are turning artwork into a wall-size mural, filling in a large grid identical to the smaller image will retain its perspective.

  • Copy your projected image in chalk outlines or just fill it in by sponging or painting the projected image on the wall. This drawing method allows you to reproduce a picture or photograph with a high degree of accuracy, even if you are not an artist. If you are an artist, draw directly on the painted or plastered wall. Work from the top down to avoid smudging your work as you cover the wall.

  • Fill in a stenciled image with color -- hobby paints, paint markers, regular markers or stencil paint are fine. A stenciling brush lets you stipple in opaque color, controlling how thin or thickly the paint covers the design. Outline or shadow the color blocks of the grid drawing to define the shapes and details. The grid itself will disappear under the drawing.

  • Protect your work with clear, non-yellowing fixative spray or a light coat of polycrylic to preserve the art and make it easy to dust off or wipe down without damage.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use a carpenter's level to align a stencil, grid, projection or other design on the wall to ensure that it is even.
  • Look for low volatile organic compound, or VOC, white board paint for a healthier environment and your own protection.
  • Always apply paint in a well-ventilated space.
  • Secure the projector so it can't be moved until you finish your work.
  • Some stencil paints, markers and hobby paints are toxic, so keep all art supplies out of the reach of small children and store them safely when you are not working.

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  • Photo Credit rzoze19/iStock/Getty Images
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