Monday, 20 February 2012

Paint A Mural on Your Garage Door: Ideas and Directions

Why not add some curb appeal along with a bit of humor or beauty to transform your garage door - it's not such a tough task as you might think, and is sure to make the neighbors green with envy!

Theme Ideas
Before doing any preparation for your mural, you need to think about the kind of design you are opting for. There are many theme ideas you could use:
  • Natural - in keeping with the surroundings, such as the same trees you have in your garden.
  • Sky and clouds, with additional features painted to the foreground that you can keep adding to.
  • Abstract.
  • Space/Sky At Night.
  • Amusing - picture of the rear of a car.
  • Fantasy.
  • Anything with a transport theme.
  • Cityscape.
  • Beach scene/Tropical Island.
You could also try a mix of two or more of these ideas, such as a single abstract flower, a space fantasy design, or sky at night and cityscape.
Before starting your mural, you need to make sure that the surface of your garage door is 100% clean, which means getting rid of grease and grime. The best way to clean a garage door is to use a brush to get rid of debris and dust, before cleaning with a mix of warm water and mild detergent. Rinse, and allow to dry.

Apply a paint primer suitable for use on your surface, and allow to dry.

Once you've decided on a design or theme, you need to sketch it out onto the door in pencil. If you are going for a more free-form method, or are using aerosols then you can skip this part, although even the odd pencil mark to use as a measuring guide may be helpful to keep all your elements in proportion. The method of application should suit both you, and your chosen design.

Using Aerosol Paints for a Mural
Aerosol designs are very popular in murals for garage doors, for several reasons; they are totally in keeping with the car theme, they are very weather hardy, and come in a range of colors that even include metallics. They also cover large expanses of your surface (whether it be garage door or wall), in a really quick time. You don't have to worry about brush strokes either; the result is always smooth.

The downside to using them is the fumes they generate, and that for the uninitiated user they can be hard products to control. If you are uncertain of using aerosols, but like the final look they produce, then practise first on some lining paper (outdoors), or on the inside of the garage door. You could also employ the use of stencils in conjunction with aerosols, allowing drying time between each section of stencil you cover.

Traditional Brush & Paint Technique
A more likely way of covering a garage door with a mural is with the use of a standard paint and brush technique. Make sure you use a suitable exterior paint; the paint you need for a wooden garage door is different to the paint you will need for a metal garage door. There are also specialist garage door paints available, which would be ideal if you only need to use a few colors. If your design includes lots of color though, think about using an enamel paint for metal doors (such as the hobby sized tins you get in craft shops), or an acrylic paint that contains latex.

Putting Your Plan Into Action 
Whatever method you choose to use to paint the mural for your garage door, there are some steps you need to follow:
  1. Start with your darkest paints first, and finish with the lightest.
  2. Use masking tape to section off larger areas to give a precise edge, and to make -painting quicker and easier.
  3. If you need to protect your design overnight from weather, dust and leaves etc. cover it with some plastic sheeting, held away from the door (so the sheet doesn't stick to any wet paint), and holding it down with some rocks or bricks. You should then be free to continue your design the next day.
  4. Your final step should be adding highlights, shadows, and outlines.

Finishing Off - Weatherproofing
Whatever paints you've used for your garage door mural, your design will need protecting from the elements. Keep it covered with plastic sheeting (held away from the door as above), to make sure it has time to properly dry and is protected from any rain, or winds that might blow dust and leaves onto your design.

When your design is completely dry (could take 2-3 days), use a clear paint sealer all over; using an aerosol one is best as it gives a smoother finish. Once dry, apply a second coat for an ultra-protected garage door. You've put so much into creating your unique design, you don't want anything to destroy it.

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