Tips for Making Your Mural Last


  • Paint
  • Paintbrushes
  • Primer
  • Dropcloths
  • 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