Oct 20, 2011 - Design Steps, From Scratch    33 Comments

Wall Mural Drama: Part 1 of 4

There is nothing like a mural or accent wall to give life to a stale box bedroom.  I am kind of obsessed with them, partly for their drama and partly because they can be so easy and cheap!  I currently, as of this post, have 4 murals in my humble abode.  I have painted each one.  Now, don’t get the wrong idea.  I am not some fabulously talented artist, painter or magician.  What I have learned over time is how to make murals simple, funky, and dramatic.  Anyone can do this, seriously, anyone.  I am going to do a 4 post tutorial, one post for each mural I have done.  I will start with the easiest and they will progressively get more difficult.  Ready for round 1?  Here we go.


The Pottery Barn Kids World Map Outline Mural

I love opening my Pottery Barn Kids catalog and seeing what their set geniuses have come up with.  A few years ago I came across this photo for an airplane themed room.

I knew when I saw the blue wall with white outlined map that I could do this mural.  My son had an airplane room turned Indiana Jones, but this mural was so simple and in classic colors, I figured it would go with just about any accessories in a house with 4 boys!


Blank Wall (painted the color of your choice) Printed Map Page Protector Fine Sharpie Overhead Projector Elmer’s Painters pen

I started by painting one wall in my son’s room blue.  I continued by searching the internet for a clean and simple world map. HERE is a similar map to the one I used (I couldn’t find the original one I used). 

Unless you are an amazing artist that can free hand that map on the wall, you are going to need an overhead projector.  If you don’t have an overhead projector laying around (like I do!) check your local library, many check them out for free.  The next step is to transfer the map to a transparency for use with an overhead projector.   You can do this by purchasing an expensive box of overhead projector sheets at an office supply store or take your image to Kinko’s and have them run one off for you.

Steps for Map Murals the Easy Way Being the cheap and antsy person that I am, I found another way.  I took a clear sheet protector and slipped a black and white print off of the map inside.  Then, with a fine Sharpie, I outlined the map on the top layer of the sheet protector.  After I took out the sheet, I laid it on the projector opposite the blue wall.  Overhead Projector for Painting Mural

Turn the projector on and move it closer or farther away depending on the size of the mural you want.  Now, the EASY part!  Purchase one Elmer’s Painters pen in the color of your choice.  I chose white, obviously.  I was nervous as to how many pens I would need, but for the entire 12-13 ft wall, one pen did the trick.  The great thing about using a pen is NO mess!  No need to make tiny brush strokes, just trace the projected map lines on the wall.  This took just a couple of hours and I love the results.

Wall Mural DIY for less than $3

(Check out the Indiana Jones Adventure room

I painted this mural in HERE)

Mural of World Map Outline Painting

As you can see I moved everything away that was in front of the map for the photo.  It actually makes a great backdrop for my son’s desk and other decorative accessories.

Elmer's Painters Pen Map Mural Outline

Pin It

The Elmer’s Painters pen worked better than I could have imagined.  It was just like the ones I remembered from the ’80′s, you know the ones that everyone used to write their name on EVERYTHING you own.  They are available at Michael’s for around $3 each (use a coupon of course) and I chose the one with the calligraphy tip.

World Map Outline Wall Mural with Elmer's Painters

Well, there is my first course in making an easy mural.  Stay tuned for Murals 101 part 2, 3, and 4.   Let me know what murals you have done in your home, I’d love to see them!

Now check out PART 2, Star and Stripes

Air Force Star and Stripes Symbol for Mural

And PART 3, Arches; Paint by Numbers

Paint by Numbers Mural

Linked up with: Whipperberry, The Shabby Creek Cottage, House of Hepworths, A Little Tipsy


  • Oh, I’d love to do that! I made one last year for my son, it was a construction theme silhouette and that was hard enough as it was to do! I do love maps though – so worldly!

  • Do those paint pens smell like spray paint? Will I need to be properly ventilated? “Don’t worry McKendrick, you’ll be ventilated!”

    • Oh Julie, only ventilate if want to. Seriously though, not as bad as a permanent marker.

  • Where did you find an overhead projector?

    • I used my family’s, we share one. They are for sale on Amazon for around $185, but check your local library, church, school, and there are also rental companies. Good luck and keep searching, it is really worth it.

  • Great Project. Now, how to find a projector screen!

    • Check your local library, church, or a friend that works at a school. My family has one that we all share, although I think I hog it the most :)

  • WOW, this is fabulous.
    Thanks for all the information and how to do it.
    I really want to try it in my family room.

    Is the drawing big enough for a large wall??

  • Great idea! Thanks for sharing the how-to directions. Love the blue paint color used….nice room.

  • Thanks so much for the great idea! I saw a big mural like that but I was wanting to find a way to transfer it onto burlap. Any suggestions?

    • Catherine,
      I have done murals on canvas before too. Use the same technique, just stretch the burlap on wood or pin it to a wall and then use the overhead projector. There are a lot of colors of pens if you want to do it with paint pens, trust me they are much easier than any brush for that kind of detail.
      Good Luck!

  • This is awesomespice so I totally featured you at my Hookin Up with HoH party! Yay!

    Feel free to stop on by and snag a button if you’d like.


    Allison @ House of Hepworths

  • LOVE it! I have a thing for maps and had a map in my last home and I’m about to add it again to this house….I actually have 3 projectors….I use them very often:-)

    Great job:-)

  • Looks awesome! And using the paint pen made such a great finish!

  • THanks for sharing this. I just pinned it. Maybe for my twin boys’ room, or their toyroom. THanks!

  • Wow–this looks great! I need to round up an overhead projector. :) Thanks for sharing this.


  • This turned out amazing! Love the white on the blue. I’ll be featuring this for DIY under $5!

  • what is the name of the blue paint on the wall

    • Valspar’s Navy 5 from Lowe’s.

  • Appreciate you sharing, great article.Much thanks again. Keep writing.

  • I am going to do the world map and I searched online and found one that looks more like your original :-) http://www.outline-world-map.com/outline-transparent-world-map-b1b

  • Hi, can you share what color blue you used on the walls….been looking for that color for my son’s room but can’t quite figure out!

  • […] In previous posts I have talked about how handy an overhead projector is for wall murals, well Public Surplus has them often, and for around $5! […]

  • […] If you haven’t read the other parts to the series, check them out here: Part 1 World Map, Part 2 Star and Stripes, Part 3 […]

  • […] you haven’t read the other Mural 101 series, check them out first.  Part 1 & Part […]

  • […] you were able to read Part 1 of this mural series before you landed here.  OK, now that we are all on the same page, here is […]

  • […] Via Burlap and Denim […]

  • Great idea!! This is what I was looking for… thank you for sharing.

  • I just want to say THANK YOU. I used your blog to do this for my son’s nursery and am so happy and proud of the results. FYI, I traced the map onto the wall in pencil first, and then used the paint pen. It meant I could erase lines if need be (which was necessary because I originally traced the country lines and then didn’t use most) and I could then use the paint pen with the room light on and not in the face of the projector light. I’d be happy to send progress/final product pics if you’d like!

  • looking good

  • nice post

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