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Sharing this project has been a long time coming! I started this floral wall mural in my girls’ closet way back in January and then the bottom fell out of life for a while. One of my favorite uncles passed away from COVID-19 related pneumonia and shortly after, my grandmother was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. Her plucky soul went home just 33 days after her son. Only 16 short days after her diagnosis. Home projects were put to the side so we could care for Nana and mourn with our loved ones.
Life can be so fickle and grief is a beast.
Our family has been going through my grandmother’s house, sorting things, and preparing it to sell. Wow, that is sure a heavy and surreal experience! I know it’s a normal part of life, and with a son soon graduating from high school I do realize I’ve reached this life stage, but I don’t feel ready. I guess none of us are ever really ready to say goodbye, are we? In the span of a few weeks, I have stepped into the next phase of adulthood.
It’s terribly overwhelming.
So thank you for being patient with me as I’ve processed (and am still processing) some pretty big emotions. When I shared the first paintbrush strokes over on Instagram so many of you were excitedly looking for updates. I wasn’t able to meet expectations and I apologize for leaving you hanging. I hope a thorough photo packed blog post might make it up to you! Thanks for allowing me to be where I needed to be. Y’all are my people.
Without further ado, I give you my handpainted floral wall mural!
Last year, Ashley from Under the Sycamore hand-painted her breezeway and I couldn’t stop watching her Instagram stories and posts. It was so inspiring! When my girls said they wanted something fun in their closet, I immediately thought of her floral mural. Sherwin Williams was having a big sale on paint samples so I figured, why not? I ran to the store and bought a bunch of fun colors, went home, and just sort of started winging it!
I mean, it’s only paint.
(color matched at my local Sherwin Williams paint store)
Here are some before shots of the closet…
Wellllllll, semi-before. I scrubbed, patched, and painted the 17-year-old banged-up walls first but forgot to take pics of all that. You get the idea. (To see some way back before pics go HERE.) The base color I used was SW Alabaster. It’s a gorgeous soft white. I didn’t paint the ceiling and probably should have but I didn’t want to remove all my girls’ glowy stars. They love those.
I feel like I need to preface this by saying that I am not an artist.
I’m confident in my skills painting furniture and I can get beautiful crisp lines painting rooms but I’ve never been a sketch, watercolor, or oil paint kind of art artist. I’m a very creative person but I don’t draw. At first, I let that make me nervous but after thinking about it I decided to go for it anyway. How do you know you can’t do something if you don’t at least give it a try? Like I said above, it’s only paint. If it turned out horrendous, I could always paint over and try wallpaper.
Once the closet was prepped, the paint samples were purchased, and I got out of my own way, it was time to get to the fun stuff. I started off by lightly drawing vines with a pencil. I tried to make it appear like the vines were growing up out of the baseboard.
When I was happy with the vines, I painted them using an old artist’s brush my mom used to use in the 80s for tole painting. Sorry, I don’t have a link for what the brush actually is. I just picked one from my stash and started painting. I used the darker of the two greens for the vines.
As you can see from the photos, I didn’t worry about how messy the vines were at this point. This was just the first layer of the design. I cleaned it all up at the end. And ohhhhhh, baby! Check out that nice Utah special orange peel texture. Not my favorite. I’d have loved to have smoothed the walls but after all the work doing that big wall in my bedroom, I decided it’s just a closet, and uh, nope. Ha!
After the vines were painted and dry, I penciled in the blossoms.
Looking back, I probably should have just drawn up the entire mural first before painting anything, but I got excited and wanted to see what the vines would look like. I jump around and get ahead of myself a lot. What can I say? I’m sure there is a right way but I’ve never painted a mural before. Sometimes you just have to go with the flow. The green paint was calling my name.
Once I got the blossoms drawn how I wanted I started painting. Painting the flowers was super enjoyable for me. I’m not sure why because I should have been seriously doubting myself at this point! But it was really fun! I started with the darkest color of bloom but again, I have no idea how to paint a mural. I probably should have started with the lightest shades and layered on the darker ones from there. Meh, whatever. It worked out. Trial and error.
At this point, people over on my Instagram thought I was nuts and that the whole thing was going to tank. I on the other hand was all in! I listened to a couple of audiobooks, wore my pj’s, turned on some fun playlists, thought a lot, shed a few tears, and eventually totally zenned out. Paint therapy!
Maybe because my life was in so much turmoil and my give a damn was pretty busted? I’m not really sure, but I am very glad. There was a time not so long ago that I would have scrapped the whole thing over negative criticism and my own internal second-guessing. I’m proud of myself for seeing the vision and forging on. Maybe I am actually growing up? I mean, it’s possible?
When the blooms were all painted, it was time to tackle the details.
I cleaned up the vines and filled in empty spaces with leaves. I touched things up by painting over mistakes or rouge pencil marks. Then, I went back in and added details. I used the lighter green color to create shading on the leaves and vines, added stamens coming out of flowers here and there, and things like that.
I probably could have gone on adding more and more details for days but my oldest daughter, who is a real artist, took my brush and said it was time to walk away.
So I did.
See that big peachy bloom?
That one is my absolute favorite part of the whole mural! It makes me smile.
Well, there she is!
I’m not going to pretend it’s perfect because it’s not. I’m a total amateur. But it is whimsical and fun. And my girls love it and that makes me happy. I’m so grateful that I stepped out of my box and took the risk. Now to build some shelves in there on the opposing wall so my two daughters can actually move their stuff out of the family room. Yep, three months later and it’s still there. Oops. This week!
Or at least that’s what I’m telling myself.