What paints I use in my murals, and why

What paints and why I use them, a quick guide to mural art

When I first started painting murals, I was a little clueless on which paints I should use, and whether I had to go into Bunnings and buy pots of every colour in their range. That would be expensive!

I searched the internet for anything I could find, whether I needed to prime walls, varnish afterwards, what paints I should use and how to apply. It’s so different from painting in small scale on a canvas or paper.

I found a Facebook page with many other muralist and they discussed the same things. I discovered that some were even using acrylics, like you would on a small painting.

This is what I did for my first few. I used regular acrylic paints and went through heaps. I did have lots of colours left over from when I worked in a school, so gradually used them up. If I needed white, I used some regular house paint to mix with it all.

Some of them I varnished afterwards. I tended to prep the outside ones first, with a concrete sealer, so that it would stop the paint from flaking. I then used that over the top too, just to make sure. It was all very tricky!

Last year I stopped using acrylics altogether. I decided to experiment with spray paints, and had a long chat to the guy in the shop over the course of my mural painting.

What I discovered was a more efficient and longer lasting approach which although not the cheapest, gave me the confidence that the murals would last.

I now have a few different paints in my tool box. And applicators.

  • Spray paint. I do have these, as they come in handy for filling in spaces, creating blends and being quick. I prefer Ironlak and MTN. These are great colours, UV and the longest lasting.
  • Ironlak and MTN colours for pens and airbrushes. You can buy the same paint colours, and paints in a pouring capacity, so you can fill paint pens or use and airbrush. I have an airbrush and compressor which I use on delicate jobs.
  • Dulux, Taubmans and British Paints. I also make trips to our beloved Bunnings to stock up on colours from these brands. I have the colour mixed up, always choosing an outdoor paint so its longer lasting. I use brushes and rollers to apply this, or a spray gun for large areas. Its bold colours, great for filling spaces, but also being able to mix some together, as long as you always have a little white and black handy.

And that’s my lot. I don’t use anything else anymore. No prepping, no varnishing and sealing. By choosing high quality paints which are designed for murals and walls, I eliminate the time and money in needed those extra items. And I can feel confident that my client is walking away with a long lasting, UV protected, quality mural.


More about the artist.

Hi, I am Poppy, a multi-disciplinary artist, illustrator and graphic designer with a passion for watercolours.

I have been creating for as long as I can remember, and in 2012, opened up iampoppy Designs. I am passionate about helping inspired people bring their creative dreams to life through my art!

From live paintings, watercolour illustrations and portraits, murals right through to surface pattern design, I love getting stuck into so many different projects, keeping me interested, growing and my business ever-changing. The world of a creative!

So please take a look around, and reach out for a chat! Whether it’s print patterns, workshops, live wedding painting or more… I’d love to meet you and hear all about your story!

E-mail me: designs@iampoppy.com

Call me: +61 413 373 215