Kapow! It's a Photo Wall Mural!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

No s**t, you snuck a photo wall mural in on us without even the slightest hint dropped?, you're saying right about now.  You little somethin' somethin', you!

Yeah.  I did.  *Grin.*  There was one super vague hint, when I was fighting with the light fixture in the hall bedroom, but no, I know, no mention of hanging a photo wall mural of all things.

Sneaky.  Gotta keep you on your toes!  ;)

Ever since I worked on the Office Project, wallpaper or wall mural or wall sticky has been glued on my mind (see the office coolness here and here).  Ok, lie.  Before that easily, but the Office Project bubbled it back up to the surface.  I tried to quell it in my own office, with the DIY removable wallpaper, but ya know, that only tickled the itch.

So now, our hall guest bedroom has a photo wall mural.  How spiffy-a-do is that?!  Spiffy, I tell you.

I poked around online here and there off and on, discovering that wall murals ain't exactly cheap, much to my dismay.  Then one day, perusing the Menards website into depths unseen before, I found a whole wall mural section.  And dang it if they weren't just crazy affordable.

I got this one.  (Update:  sadly Menards no longer carries it.  It was called Magic Forest.  But they do have others.) (Ah ha!  Found it on Amazon!*)  A twelve foot six inch by nine foot photo wall mural for $105.  That's right, $105.  That's it!  It goes on sale for $75 often if you wait (it went on sale two and half weeks after I bought it having online stalked it for a while -- grrrrr!!!).

Here's the before....

wall in hall guest bedroom before

It's rather difficult to take photos in this room due to its minimal size and daylight gathering ability, so hang tight with me.  If you see our house plans here, you'll get a general sense of it's uh, quaint footprint.  12'-3" x almost 8'-0"-ish.

A couple days ahead of time, I unfurled the sheets and laid them on the floor opposite of the curl, giving them a chance to relax.  Eh, didn't help much but the premise was sound.

laying out wall mural panel

Now, don't forget, I've never done this before.  But what the heck, what could be so hard?

figuring out how to do this
Love my wee laser measure tool, mmm hm.
Math.  Math was.  No, ok, not really but I did have plenty of math to do.  Thankfully I have a swanky app that does feet and inches math down to the 64th.  Neat, right?

Knowing the wall is taller than the mural and there are eight panels total, I found room/wall center, marked it, then with a pencil and using my handy dandy bubble level drew all the way across and all the way up and down.

laying out lines on the wall for the mural
Wow, faboo photo, huh?
Level and straight here is key.  Which is why I centered the mural rather than chase an impossible dream of a level and straight anything in this house.

On a whim, I removed the outlet and switch covers and taped over the electrical parts so wet goo wouldn't smoosh in there and fry it all out.  Water + electricity, bad.

taping outlets and switches off

Kindly, they map the layout on the back of each panel.  So as to not confuse myself, as I wasn't sure if they meant the layout when you're looking at the wall or the back of the sheets or reversed or what, I set about to figure it out.

checking layout map on the back of the panels

I flipped over panel five and six, lined them up, compared it to the layout map, then ahhh, smartly wrote the numbers on the wall in case I got distracted or had to step away.

numbering the wall to match the layout map
Another quality photo!  Sorry!  As you can see near the 7, I had already gotten confused.
So then I reread the included directions.  Not terribly wordy nor complex, but important reading nonetheless.  A wave of nervousness blew through.  I took a deep breath, hiked up my britches, and mixed the paste goo.

mixing wallpaper glue

It said to mix all of it but I'm glad I didn't.  Not all of it was needed plus now I have half the package remaining in case something goes awry.  Or for another one.....no no no wait, this one, we're talking about this one!

My furry helper friend Finn was intrigued by the water and paste and kept swinging through to lend his expertise, nose, and outreached tongue to taste.  He wouldn't work that foam roller for me though.

Finn coming by to help

The directions said smoosh on some goo but no real direction in quantity was proffered, other than saying don't soak it or let it soak too long.  So I had to guess.  It was a delicate balance between too gooey and too dry, that's for sure.

But up went panel number six.  Why, why, why I picked one of the more difficult ones first is beyond me, but ah well, so it was.  I guess I thought if I went with harder ones first, I'd coast through the easy ones when energy was waning.  Shoulda gone with an easy two to start, get my bearings.

first panel attached to wall

After carefully smoothing and smoothing and smoothing and mini slices around the outlet and switch and smoothing and smoothing and smoothing with a four inch plastic putty knife, oh and smoothing, it was up.  Yes, I did a little butt wiggle dance.  Duh, of course!

I went up from there.  Harder, ya know, precariously balanced on a ladder, flopping gooey panel drooping and folding and sliding and falling on my head, but I got it.  Smooth smooth smooth.  Whew.

second panel attached above first on wall

Lookin' sharp, I thought to myself!  No time to rest nor admire, no idea how long that goo stays gooey.

Onward I went to the right one column then returned to over the door.

view of over the door


Not easy, not gonna lie.  I had to line up with the existing panel, jam it into the corner, trim across above the door carefully rip rip tear tear, then down along the narrow side of the door/corner.  While on a ladder.  Yeowch.  Almost gave up, not gonna lie.

But I got it.  Rawr, determination!  Wrapped up the last two to the right, then filled in the small area on the narrow side of the door.

Stood back.  Took a big deep breath.  Wall mural!  Woo hoo!  Yeah baby!

I made the mistake of thinking the goo would be dry and started to trim with an Xacto knife and a straight edge only to find, nope, no way no how dry.  So I tidied up and left for a bit.

Glad I came back up to take a re-gander as I discovered some peeling corners.  I had to do some slicing releases on the overhanging strip as the paste had dried the curl into the extras and the paper was no longer as pliable.  Thank all goodness I didn't clean up the leftover paste!

close up of finished corner overhanging

taping overhang so it doesn't peel

After some minor surgery in three or four places, I got everything back to where it needed to be.  By the way and FYI, do not put blue painters tape directly onto any area of the mural that you are keeping.  It sticks far too well, if you catch my drift.  Mmm hm, yep, this is how we learn.

I opted to let it dry throughly before attempting any more trimming again as I was doing a good amount of damage.  I'll do the final clean up trims today, keeping my fingers crossed.

In the end, it's not perfect.  There are some rips in a few spots but they're sorta camouflaged thanks to the mural pattern itself.

But for never having done this before, I think I did all right.

view of mistakes
There are two rips here.  Probably too wet with goo, the paper was.
The goal here, ultimately, with this photo wall mural was to enlarge the room visually.  And when I stepped back, it definitely did as I intended.  Plus it's gosh darn cool.  The ceiling feels higher, the room feels larger, ahhhhhh.  Always nice when intentions work out, right?!

finished forest wall mural installation

Too bad the photos can't relay that to you though!  It makes a surprising difference, I was astonished.

another view of the finished forest wall mural

And with the light fixture?  Yep, it all came together the way I was envisioning as well.

view other direction of forest wall mural

view of finished wall mural and glass pendant light

Mike's reaction?  "Oh!"  He looked it over, looked it over, didn't say anything, didn't say anything.

He gave a slight smirk but I don't know if it was a "I like it but I'll never ever admit it" smirk, a "I'm shopping for a straitjacket and padded room for you" smirk, or a "if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all" smirk.  All I got was a "it does make the room look bigger."  That's ok.  I still love him.

Next up will be deciding on how to address above and below the mural and what color to repaint the room.  Since the current color was different than the color I actually chose, it's been a tad low on the likability scale for me.

Freakily, I'm actually almost thinking white.  I never paint white.  Yes, I'm checking to see if I have a fever.

Keep ya posted!

*The Magic Forest wall mural is an Amazon affiliate link.  Mwah, thanks!  Please see the "boring stuff" tab for more info.


  1. Becky,
    Hello. I have been stalking you for a while, I love what you've done to your home.
    so please please tell me about this wonderful app that helps with math!!

  2. Dayna, thanks so much for stalking and the nice compliments! I have C-Calc for iPhone which has made life so much easier. I also have Convertr but haven't given it a whirl yet. Definitely try C-Calc.

  3. Awesome, awesome! Having recently tried wall-papering for the first time, I thoroughly enjoyed this post. BTW: I've watched, on youtube deco shows, people trimming wallpaper immediately after it was up - and still wet. I don't know they did that. I had spanking new razor blades but they would not cut cleanly. Thanks for an awesome post. Susan

  4. It looks GREAT! I recently put up a wall mural too... mine was just planks of wood not an actual photograph but they called it a mural still! And I'll agree, it was a bitch to put up! I ordered mine from Amazon and I couldn't find the directions anywhere and the glue package was in a different language so I didn't know how to mix that up and when I tried it didn't work at all. Luckily I had a jug of regular wallpaper paste and that worked great. I love my mural too but if I were going to do it again I'd have help!


  5. Susan, thank you! Wow, no idea how they did that -- must be some kind of crazy video magic voodoo! I was making a mess of it too. Thanks for taking the time to write!

  6. Thanks Tania! I saw that plank wall mural on your blog and it's fantastic! Wow, sounds like you had a heck of a time getting it up but having seen the photos, it was totally worth it!


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