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Top tips for painting hospital murals

Ever wondered how to paint a mural for a Children’s Hospital?

Getting started:

Painting a mural can sound like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. If you follow my step by step guide you can create something really amazing. When painting for a children’s hospital the image you choose is so important. It needs to be child friendly without being to babyish so as it will appeal to everyone! First and foremost you need to do your research. This means talking to the client, they usually have an idea and also understand the children’s needs. Once armed with this information you can then find images and begin to build a design. Getting the background right is crucial. This is probably the most important element of your design. The viewer needs to enjoy taking in something magical in order for the mural to really stand out. I use Photoshop for all my offsite design work. I blend images together from shutterstock and pixabay and other source’s until I have made something completely original.

Painting the background for your mural:

Once you have the image you want to use its time to get stuck in. For this mural I was painting a scene about a fairy forest with the sun beaming through the trees. So, in this case it needs a colour wash first. This is a mix of emulsion and water, which is in my opinion the most cost effective paint to use for murals by the way, but I will talk about materials again. If you start your wash from the top of the wall and them move across its best. I began with the lightest colour and then I gradually darkened and changed the colour as I traveled along the wall. When this first layer was complete then the trees were added. Don’t go to heavy with the paint at this stage. It’s easier to darken something than it is to lighten something!

Is there any such thing as cheating when painting a wall mural!?!?!

NOOOOOOOOOOOO. That’s the simple answer…. Now…. Here is a little secret. When it’s time for the details such as characters or animals and things like that I use a projector. It's a brilliant time saver and I’m sure you would rather spend that time painting in details than scaling up and getting it right. Don’t worry if you don’t own a projector. That’s just my top tip for mural design and I’d be lost without it. There is no such thing as cheating, and don’t let anyone tell you any different.

Getting the details right:

Once you are happy with the mural and have all your guys added its time to stand back and see what else it needs. Take photos and look at them on your phone. You can usually spot what’s needed when you view your work with a fresh eye or through another medium, like a mirror for instance. In this case the fairy mural needed a meadow. The flower’s gave me the opportunity to add a contrasting colour and I also added another animal right at eye level for the kids to enjoy. These changes came from feedback from the nurses and if your painting a mural for a children’s hospital you’ve gotta keep the nurses happy. They are your greatest asset and will spread the word if your work is fab!!



"Fran was an absolute pleasure to work with. She interpreted the brief perfectly and designed and implemented outstanding murals for Beacon Hospital’s Children’s Outpatients Clinic and Day Unit setting. Her work clearly indicated she unmistakably understood the different age groups that attend our clinics. The detail and finish is remarkable and Fran was highly professional and efficient throughout all our dealings. I would not hesitate to recommend her."


Clinical Operations Manager,

Beacon Hospital, Dublin

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