Murals are a wonderful way to interact with students and organizations of all types and sizes. Murals using 5ft x 12ft block out fabric and acrylic paint are easy and fun to do. Murals engage students from varying backgrounds, ethnicity, age and developmental levels to address group and individual concerns.
You don’t have to be an artist to do group murals! The group process and diverse interests and talents of the individuals, set the stage for creativity and mastery.
Starting with group or individual reflections, discuss relevant issues and concerns, decide how to represent the issues in picture form and finally let the student’s imagination and creativity bloom. You will be amazed at the variety of ways the same project will evolve reflecting the individual and group dynamics.
- Begin with reflection, theme or concept, some examples are:
Reflections: future dreams, what does peace mean to you?
Themes: peace, ecology, human rights
Concepts: respect, kindness, compassion
- Discuss the theme: record comments as a group or with individual students.
- Hand out 8 x 11 sheets of paper and pencils. Have students draw ideas to represent the theme or concept
- You have two options:
a.) take reflection drawings/words with you and using a opaque projector organize the individual pictures and words and trace them onto the fabric using the opaque projector.
b.) using an opaque projector onsite, have each student place trace their drawings onto the fabric.
- Draw on the non-shiny side of fabric.
- Once the drawings are on the fabric, allow some discussion on color ideas and composition.
- Lay out canvas on floor or table, pass out paint on paper plates, put water in cups, and hand-out paint brushes.
- Painting instructions: use acrylic paint only! I recommend blickrylic
- For best coverage-use water to thin slightly and this process will also give the color a more luminous appearance, the more you thin the color the lighter the color will appear. This works better than using white to make a lighter color.
- Only 5 colors needed: white, black, brown, yellow, blue, and red. With these primary colors and tones you can mix to make any color you need
- If you want it to be shiny: use water based varnish after the paint dries. Once you use varnish you can not roll the painting up as it will stick and pull off the fabric.
*While the students are painting you can take pictures of the process and the finished product for documentation.
*Interview a few of the students about the process and the theme. Ask if you can take their pictures individually.
Creating a Reflection Book
A reflection book is a documentation of the mural process. It is a great teaching tool and a good way to document the process of reflection with students as they work together in community.
The reflection book should contain the following components:
- A written reflection from the project organizer(s)
- Group pictures of the process
- Original artwork on 8 x 11 reflection’s paper (when possible)
- Pictures of individual students with comments
- Pictures of finished project
We are interested in displaying each of the murals and reflection books in the U.C. 113 for approximately a month.
To display murals:
To display murals easily we purchased single ringed curtain hooks with a clap for gripping the material. Then depending on where you are hanging the murals, you can use a curtain rod, a rope, or hooks to hang the claps on and your mural will hang almost anywhere.
Single ringed curtain hooks with a clap for gripping (found at Home Depot)
Public spaces: Our murals were hung in a variety of settings
Peace Day Celebration: outside with rope
CASA office U.C. #113: inside with wall hooks
Linda Vista Multicultural Fair: clipped to a tent
Other display opportunities: Color your world was inspired by the Art Miles project. This ambitious project envisioned by Joanne Tawfilis, will display 12 miles of murals from around the world in Egypt in 2010, to promote world peace. Contact information Joanne Tawfilis/Art Miles - firstname.lastname@example.org
Two USD students went to Linda Vista Elementary school and proposed to the school to do a mural project with one fifth grade class. The idea was to present six qualities of character to the class, have them discuss there meaning and draw pictures to represent each character pillar.
The process took approximately 2 visits lasting 1-2 hours with 25 5th graders.
They presented the theme, then had a group discussion with the Linda Vista 5th graders. Themes were written down as a group and each student was given paper and pencil to draw the themes that were most important to them.
The project organizers took the drawings and made a community mural projecting the original drawings on to the block our fabric and tracing them.
The mural was taken back to the classroom and the students discussed the mural and how they would paint it.
Once that was decided the painting process began.
At the end the mural was hung up and the student’s reflected on the process.
“ To see our posters up on the wall really, ‘pumped me up.’ I felt proud that my group presented to Mrs. Jackson’s class and the work we did with them, was displayed throughout the school. I immediately looked to Tyler and said; ‘We really did it, we made a difference.” The rest of the day was icing on the cake for me. Helping the students paint the mural was a blast. Each child was able to point out what each drawing on the mural meant and were able to recite what they had learned in class a few days prior. After Mrs. Jackson’s class had finished and school was let out it was great to share with curious students from other classes. Overall, this experience was one I will never forget, and I feel truly honored to have contributed to its success.
Reflection Form Sample
Sample Reflections are easy to do. Using a theme or concept pose a question for the students or organization that you are working with. This question should address the issue of concern and should aid the student in a visual way.
First name or initials ____________ Age _________
What are your dreams for the future? Give your dream a title.
Mural Idea: Describe what your dream would look like by drawing or writing a poem in the space below.
First name or initials ____________ age ___________
Now that you have participated in painting a dream flag, does painting a dream flag help you see how to achieve your goals?
“A dream collage is pictures of your goals. It is like your future photo album.”
Paint: Blickrylic Cobalt
- Red + yellow = orange
- Yellow + blue = green
- Red + blue = purple
*For lighter colors use three teaspoons of white to a dime
size of desired color then thin with water. *too much white will
make the color dull and opaque.
*For color darker reverse the process, use three teaspoons of
desired color to a dime size amount of black. *very little black is
required to make a color dark.
Brushes: 2 brushes per student. Blick Scholastic White Bristle Stencil Brush. Set of 3 —set includes sizes 1/4", 3/8", and 1/2".
Adhesives: are used to attaching collage materials. Spray adhesives are used for attaching collage materials such as, fabric pieces, photo, original drawings. White glue also can be used for collage
Finishes are used to make the mural shiny and protect it. Water based varnish can be used over acrylic paint and collage materials.
Blick Art Materials
1844 India Street
San Diego, CA 92101
Phone: (619) 687-0050
Fax: (619) 687-0055
Utrecht Art Supplies:
UFO United Fabric outlet store
1919 Hoover Ave
National City, CA 91950
Phone: (619) 477-9341
Fax: (619) 477-7318
The Art Miles Mural Project
You will need the following materials to do a mural successfully (see resource list for information)
You can create a container by doing the following
- Paint: you can create a kit with supplies…………
- Cups and plates: plastic coated paper plates and bowls work best. If you want to be more environmentally friendly then use old tuperware containers and wash them out after each use.
- Brushes: ½- ¾ inch for detail and 1 and 2 inch brushes for large areas.
- Tarps: Use tarp underneath for protection
- Block out fabric: this fabric is light weight and the surface is already prepared for painting.
- 1-2 Buckets: for water. Use one for mixing water and one for putting dirty brushes in
- Opaque projector: your organization of choice might have one that you can use or you can reserve one from the Media center at your university.