Making Your Mural Last - Materials and Preparation Tips
Mural Upkeep PDF
- Clear varnish
What Paint to Use:
- Acrylic water emulsion paints work best
- Other Acrylic paints
- Flat Interior Paint (flat finish, not gloss)
How to Make Sure Your Mural Will Last
Preparing the surface
- Remove all loose particles or damaged paint surfaces
- Clean surface with degreaser, such as TSP mixed with warm water
- If there is mold or mildew: scrub with stiff brush and mixture of 1 part bleach, 3-4 parts water. Rinse twice with warm water and let dry completely.
- Apply 1-2 coats of primer
- Make sure surface is completely dry before starting
- If paint needs to be thinned: use mixture of 50% water and 50% varnish. Too much water will weaken the paint film.
- Apply varnish to protect your mural from fading, graffiti, and other worries
- DO NOT USE Urethane varnish. It is more likely to yellow and it cannot be painted over.
- Acrylic polymers with a layer of wax varnish over the surface work best.
Cleaning and Upkeep
- Clean marker or paint within a week or they may become permanent
- For small smudges and graffiti:
- use GoofOff or Cleverclean (test them on a small area first! If any paint runs, don’t use it)
- scrub with scrub brush
- blot with rag
- rinse with water
- For larger issues, remove the varnish and reapply:
- Dampen a soft, white, lint-free cloth with mineral spirits (not “odorless”) or turpentine (nothing stronger!) Do not use ketones or paint removers.
- Work horizontally.
- Generously apply mineral spirits and let sit for 15-30 minutes (longer times may be necessary, depending on mural age and mineral spirit strength)
- Rub cloth over 1 square foot till varnish begins to dissolve
- Use clean cloth and clean solvent over same are to remove residue
- If any paint color shows on the cloth, stop immediately and let the surface dry
- Let mural dry before reapplying varnish
Things to Keep in Mind
- Murals in the sun will fade more quickly
- Richly pigmented acrylic paints will last longer
- Moisture on the surface (during painting or after) will deteriorate the mural more quickly