If you or your foodie lovin’ friends need to revamp your kitchen, today is your big day!  Use the code:  APRIL50 to get 50% off your entire order in The Produce Stand.  TODAY ONLY!

Food Paintings by Heather L Young

I even still have a few canvas prints available for purchase. These were a very limited edition, so grab them fast!

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People always assume my house is covered with murals.  The fact is, I’m usually painting a wall for someone else and I’m quite indecisive when it comes to my own decor.  That said, I have dreamed of the day I would get to design and paint my own nursery, and the time has finally come!  I thought I’d document some of the process in case in of you DIY folk out there would like to try your hand.  And yes, I’m fully aware that you can buy a vinyl decal these days, slap it on the wall and voila…but where’s the fun in that?  This technique will show you how to take a simple sketch, blow it up, and transfer it to the wall.  All you’ll need is a pencil, some paper, painters tape, acrylic paint, good brushes, and a steady hand.

Since our nursery was already blue, I decided long before we found out we were having a boy that rather than repaint the whole room, we’d go with an Under the Sea theme.  (some of you may recall a similar project I worked on a few years back…click!)  Our nursery is small, so I wanted a focal point over the crib, and decided an Octopus would be fun to paint…

Mural Sketch

I sketched a few options with my favorite color scheme (blue and yellow-green with accents of red-orange) and chose the version with the white undersides to balance out the white in his sailor cap.

Next I scanned my tiny sketch into photoshop and printed him out to scale on regular letter sized paper.  In the past, I’ve been known to free-hand a mural or two, but in the interest of keeping my proportions and minimizing the amount of touch ups needed, an enlarged template is never a bad idea.

Octopus Mural Painting Step by Step Instructions

Yep, that’s my big ole belly making a cameo.

After putting all the pieces back together with tape, I flipped over the template and used the side of my pencil to roughly apply graphite to the black lines visible through the paper…

Graphite Transfer Mural Technique

It doesn’t have to be perfect, in fact it’s best if you go a little outside the lines here.  The more graphite applied, the better it will transfer to your wall.

Graphite Transfer for Mural Painting Template

Next, tape your template to the wall using painters tape.  You can move it around until you get it just where you want it…

Octopus Mural in Progress Graphite Transfer

I measured our crib and marked the height with those little pieces of painters tape to make sure that Ocho (yes, that’s his name) would be properly placed without being cut off.

Next, I took my pencil and traced over the black lines, applying medium pressure.  This will transfer that messy graphite to your wall.  Before you remove your template completely, be sure to sneak a peek and make sure that all of your lines transferred nicely.

DIY Graphite Pencil Transfer Technique for Mural Painting

The lines will be faint, but they are there!  Those little white spots are patched holes where we had nails from other artwork prior to making this the mural wall.  To save myself from touching up blue paint, I strategically placed Ocho’s arms in the areas where the holes were.

Now it’s time to prime…and prime some more….and some more after that…and some more after that.  Trust me, you don’t want to skip this step if you’re planning on painting a colored wall.  It will save you LOTS of time in the long run.  I used Killz low VOC primer that we had on hand from another project.  (with windows open for good ventilation of course)

Priming Octopus Nursery Mural

Now that you’ve laid quite the foundation, it’s time to start painting the fun stuff. I always paint from the background to the foreground.

Ocho Underpainting

I kept my sketch of Ocho nearby for reference.  Oh and I won’t lie…yellow-green, though one of my favorite colors, usually requires many, many coats for a nice opaque layer…this green took 4 coats to cover well…I’d probably still be applying coats if I hadn’t primed!

Octopus Nusery Mural with Sailor Hat and Starfish

Here he is!  Spots and all!  I’m really happy with how he turned out!  He’s bright (no pastels for my baby) and he’s the perfect size for over the crib…measuring roughly 3 feet tall by 4.5 feet wide.  I won’t lie, he was definitely time consuming…roughly 20 hrs, start to finish, but totally worth it!

Octopus mural over crib nursery mural painting

The best part?  He’s completely custom for our lil man.

I’m sure I’ll be adding some additional features to his room as time goes on, but for now, this is about all I have in me…(and standing on a ladder probably isn’t too terribly safe for a pregnant woman anyway)

I’d love to see some pics of your own DIY murals, and hope this little tutorial gives you a few tips to help you create something really spectacular!

Baby’s First Mural!

April 6, 2013

I’ve been absent, but with good reason!  We are expecting a little fella late summer, so life has taken on a new urgency if you will.  So many projects to tackle before his arrival.

Babys First Mural

One of which was finally updating my Dutch Island mural from many years ago.  (see here to refresh your memory.)  Naughty clients decided to remodel, trim down the mural a bit from one side and *gasp* tear a hole in the wall to put in double doors!  (it’s okay Meghan and Bill, I still love you!)

mural revamp

Beveled edges are so tricky!  Matching paint from 8 years ago, even trickier, but I think I successfully brought their waterfall back to life.

Mural Painted Doors

Oh and they had one more addition arrive in those 8 years, Sophie.  It wouldn’t be fair to leave her out of the mural…

Mural Pet Portrait

Here’s a better shot at how she fits into the mix…

Waterfall Mural Dutch Island Georgia

Here’s a glimpse at the right side.  I added some embellishments to beef up the silhouette since a few feet had been trimmed on that side of the mural.  Sorry for the split shots, it’s impossible to be a shot of the full mural (roughly 20 feet wide)

Dutch Island Mural

For a better idea of the scale of things, take a look at the original mural.

Happy Spring y’all!

A little something for the only two people on the planet brave enough to let me marry them.  Can’t believe it’s been a year already!  Happy Anniversary Val & Pat!

The Narnia Estate Wedding Venue Gazebo Lemont Illinois Pen and Ink Drawing

The Narnia Estate – 5×7 inches – pen & ink

©2012 Heather L. Young

Merry Merry Merry Christmas!!! Thanks to all of you who have supported my work and shopped hand-made this Holiday Season.  I heart you.

2011 vayda and thomas jay christmas card

“Vayda gets a Baby Brother for Christmas”

The 2011 Vayda & Thomas Jay Christmas Card

©2011 Heather L. Young

Congrats to the Happy Couple!  The Bride commissioned a custom pen & ink drawing of her parents’ home as a wedding gift for them, and it was a pure pleasure to draw!

Custom pen and ink drawing of the bride's parents' house

We even worked up some Mini-Prints as little favors…

Custom Pen and Ink Drawing Mini Favor Prints

…and linen note cards as a little something extra sweet…

Pen and Ink House Drawing Linen Note Cards

Hope you all had a lovely weekend!

My observation:  it’s really just fruitcake with extra nuts.

Granny's Holiday Nut Cake

but don’t tell my fruitcake hatin’ Granny this…she claims they are culinary worlds apart (and she made the nut cake)

Abstract Fruitcake Painting by Heather L Young

A striking resemblance to the ugliest painting I’ve ever painted, no?