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Thursday, November 17, 2016

DIY Mountain Mural



I do a lot of work for ANASAZI Foundation, a Wilderness Therapy program for at-risk youth and I frequently visit their lobby. Now, as much as I love ANASAZI, I hated their lobby—its main wall was particularly offensive to mine eyes. Every time I thought about it, I would get an Edgar-Allan-Poe-esque twitch.

The wall was driving me mad! Mad, I tell you!

Something had to be done. It was either me or the wall and it CERTAINLY wasn't going to be me! I decided to paint a mountain mural over it. And so, eye-a-twitching, I waited until everyone left work—until it was just me and the wall...

Then, I created THE MOUNTAIN MURAL! ~Thunder clap in the background~

Supplies Needed:


  • Black Paint
  • White Paint
  • Sahara Desert Sand Paint (Wal-Mart)
  • Warm Caramel Paint (Wal-Mart)
  • Lots of Painters Tape (for outlining the mountains)
  • A Few Paint Brushes (for painting the outlines of the mountains)
  • Lots of Rollers (for most of the painting)
  • Paint Trays (in which you roll your rollers)
  • Paint Sticks (for mixing the paint in which you will roll your rollers)
  • Plastic Cover (or something to lay down on the floor to protect it from paint and blood splatter)
  • Candy Bars (This mural will test your stamina. You will require candy bars to provide you with vital energy and essential nutrients.)
  • A Good Sense of Balance (Believe it or not, it is hard to paint a Mountain Mural if you're falling down all the time.)
  • Excuses (You will need many excuses in order to rationalize why it is taking you so BLEEPIN' long! It looked so easy on Pinterest!)

  • DIY Mountain Mural

    Behold the hideous wall! Do not be deceived by the candy cane furniture! There is nothing sweet about this lobby. Behind the furniture are ghastly gouges and disgusting dents. This will not stand. "Mr. Gorbachov, PAINT A PRETTY MOUNTAIN MURAL ON THIS WALL!"

    And it came to pass, that I did kick away the chairs so as to tackle the wall in all of its ugliness. Additionally, I put down some tape so as to paint the frame. I used a plain white paint (from Wal-Mart) with a semi-gloss luster.

    Here, I used a pencil and traced out a few layers of mountains. I didn't use anything as a reference, I just sort of eye-balled it. In some cases, I erased some lines and started over, but for the most part, it was pretty easy. If you want a particular mountain range, go ahead and use a picture as a reference, but I think this works just as well.

    I did have people tell me—when I was half-way to nearly-finished—"Oh, you know what would be cooler than what you're doing? If you did it and it looked like a different set of mountains!"

    I wasn't a fan of those comments.

    I put numbered stickies on the wall to help me keep the mountain ranges separate. Because sometimes, I got lost in these mountains. And not in the enchanting, "The mountains are calling and I must go," kind of way. It was more like, "I'm lost, frustrated, and I'll probably have to eat this couch in order to survive," kind of way. 


    And so begins the most rewarding/frustrating part of the DIY Mountain Mural—painting it! I figured it would take me a really, really, really long time to carefully, tediously, paint around each mountain. So, instead of dealing with that, I used blue painters tape (Wal-Mart) to outline each mountain range.

    As it turns out, it takes a really, really, really long time to carefully, tediously outline each mountain range with blue painters tape. (But it looks really good when you pull off the tape!)

    Technically, this is the first mountain range I painted (if you don't count the white paint I put down as the background). The paint I used is called "Sahara Desert Sand" and I got it from Wal-Mart. Perspective-wise, this mountain range will appear to be the second-farthest back. Taping it off was a beast, but it's nothing compared to the other mountain ranges...

    Here's where I started to paint the mountain range that appears closest to the viewer. I taped it off and used black paint (again, from Wal-Mart). Initially, it was just going to be a stand-alone mountain, but then I got frustrated with how long it was taking made a creative decision to connect it to another set of mountains. (See below). 

    Here is a ~cough~ non-staged photograph ~cough~ of me painting the mountain that is the furthest back. I mixed the Sahara Desert Sand with white paint to lighten it up. If I could, I would travel back in time and tell myself to "Quit now, you fool! This project is going to take WAY more time than you think it is!"

    At which point, my past-self would ask me why I traveled back in time to this moment, and not to when I was in high school, so as to save myself from a bunch of stupid mistakes. Present-self will consider this for a moment and then show past-self the Flux Capacitor and explain to him the complications of time travel. He and I will have a few laughs and order a burger. When asked who will pay for said burger, we both become confused. If one of us pays, then don't both of us pay?

    After waiting for all the other mountain ranges to dry, I taped off these two. But they are not two distinct mountain ranges. They are the same! Behold...

    Oh Sweet Moses! Magic is real! Also and/or I used the "Warm Caramel" paint found at—you guessed it—Wal-Mart. But don't be fooled! The paint tastes NOTHING like warm caramel!!! I learned this the hard way.

    C'mon, you know where this is going. Do I really need to explain it to you?

    For this layer, I mixed the "Warm Caramel" paint with some of the black paint. I call it "Tin Man's Blood."

    Here is where I realized that I didn't want to create two additional shades. What's this? The "Lonely Mountain" has long-lost family? Bring them in! 

    And to think: I could wasted my time creating an additional layer of mountain ranges. Oh well, I guess I'll just have to finish this mural so I can make it home in time for dinner!

    And here be the last mountain range. I call it: "The Three Sisters and Their Weird Brother Who Stands off to the Side." I should probably change that to French, it might sound better: "Les Trois Sœurs et le Frère Maladroit."

    There you have it, folks! A DIY Mountain Mural. I hope this little tutorial was helpful (or at least entertaining). I defeated the wall by painting mountains. How hippie is that?