Hand-painted downstairs loo mural; before and after!

A downstairs loo is the perfect room to try something a little nuts. Like this drunk monkey wallpaper for example. Or a wallpaper mural from Surface View. Or maybe even something a little more whimsical from Andrew Martin. Soon I was pouring over wallpaper samples of jungles and jaguars, leopards and leafy prints, and I just couldn’t decide!

(the wallpaper samples did come in handy for another project though…)

So I decided to have a go and paint something myself. My mum was in town and offered to babysit so I could get stuck in!

I started by putting down masking tape around all the edges that I didn’t want to get paint on (this took over an hour to do!), and then went over the masking tape with a plastic sheet protective tape, including around the doorframe.

Then it was time to start on the background colour! I used a plain matt white wall paint and stirred in some blue and a touch of green to create a background sky colour.

I then dabbed some plain white wall paint on a sponge to create a cloud effect.

I knew I wanted something leafy like the mural I did for in Huxley’s nursery, but this time I wanted to brave something a little more colourful and jungle-like.

I started with branches and leaves, that I then connected up into more branches and trees.

I played with different leaf shapes and different shades of green, to create a more natural looking effect.

I then also added other plants, like willow branches coming down from above, and ferns and palms coming up from the ground.

I had to keep reminding myself that this was just the background and was going to get lots more layers, plus birds, plus a white wash, as the initial effect can be a bit too brash at first.

I dotted around post-it notes everywhere where I thought needed some birds. Then I started painting!

Some birds, like the toucan, I’d draw out in pencil first.

Then once I started feeling more confident and was on a roll, I would just paint whatever sprang to mind.Ā 

The birds started out more realistic and detailed…

Then after a while I started adding in a few invented ones too!

And if I didn’t like the colour I just went over it with a new one!

I was having so much fun with them I practically had to force myself to stop! That, and the fact that mum was back with the baby and it was time for me to take over again.

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The following morning (during Huxley’s morning nap) when the paint was dry, I went over it with a very watered down white-wash layer (a tiny bit of white wall paint mixed with a lot of water) and I just gently rubbed the liquid over the top using a cloth.

The walls were finally getting a bit more muted down, and taking on the overall washed-out jungle effect I was going for.

The white wash helped tone everything down a bit, without undoing any of the work or taking away from any of the doodles!

Ready for the before and after?

BEFORE

AFTER

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