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. 

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.


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?