Monday, May 31, 2010

Mural Project

Step 1: Get funding and permission!  My district has a foundation that raises money to support the schools. Teachers are given the opportunity to apply for classroom grants.  I discussed my idea with my principal, got permission, and wrote the grant.

Step 2: Introduce students to the project.  On the first day of the project, I made a PowerPoint that showed murals from Art History, murals in Kansas that they might be familiar with, and murals that I have painted. We talked about the different reasons that people paint murals and how murals make a big statement.  I told the students that the mural would be in the school after they leave so it was their chance to show what was important to them and what they are "about".

Step 3: Students make drawings/proposals for the mural.  I told the students that I wanted to pull parts from different drawings to make the final design so it would reflect more than one idea.  I didn't give the students a set theme, I just said it obviously needed to be school appropriate and reflect the students or school.  I let the students work with a partner if they wanted (I thought some might be intimidated) and I'm not sure if this was a good idea or not.  Some pairs worked really well together and came up with great ideas, while some let one partner do most of the work.

Step 4: Make the final design.  I sorted the drawings and came up with three different designs.  My principal and I discussed and chose which design would be used for the mural.

Step 5: Buy supplies.  I think I asked for like $330 but I could have done the project for a lot less.  I didn't spend all the money and could have gotten by with a quart of most colors instead of gallons.  I took the design with me and a list of the colors I needed.  The lady who was mixing my paint was new in that department and had a hard time.  First, she mixed the same bright green color in three gallons instead of one.  Next, she didn't get the lid pounded on tight enough for one of my quarts and when I went to put it in the cart, pumpkin orange hit the floor and splashed all over eVeRyThInG!  I guess I was the perfect person for that to happen to since I am used to having paint on me, you have to be patient to be a teacher, and I've worked in retail before!

Step 6: Transfer drawing to the wall.  I started using a grid but adjusted proportions that looked "off" once I got them on the wall.  I taped off the border and put a drop cloth on the floor.  I quickly learned that a drop cloth is not enough and taped paper to cover the exposed portion of the wall close to the floor.  I also was reminded that painters tape isn't perfect on cinder block walls.

Step 7: Start painting with students!  I had planned things with a really awesome Para at school so that she stayed in the art room with students (who were reading their AR books) so I could take about 1/3 to the hallway at a time.  It would have been crazy trying to paint with all 22 students in the hallway at the same time so it worked out really well.  We could not start painting the mural as early as I wanted because of the testing schedule so I probably put in a good 10+ hours finishing up the painting when the students were out of time.

Step 8: Touch up- this will be done when I return to school next fall.  My principal is trying to get a gallon of paint that matches the wall color so I can touch up where the paint dripped or bled through the tape.

Step 9: Feedback!  I had the students take a survey and asked what they learned from the mural project.  I still need to read through all of them but it will help me when I turn in my report about the project to finish up the grant obligations.

Everybody has been super appreciative of the mural and both the students and teachers are making all sorts of plans for future murals!  My principal said that even without a grant, he could get me money to paint a mural every year if I want!  I think I will need more time than a year to recover from the mural but I definitely think it was a valuable project. I might try to do one every three years so each student will get the chance to work on a mural in either 4th, 5th, or 6th grade.


  1. This turned out fabulous!!! Congrats on getting it done:)

  2. Thanks, ladies! I'm glad the painting part is finished, now I just have to get motivated to write my final report to turn in to the foundation that gave me the grant!