Using Mural Stencils

After deciding on your color scheme and paints (we suggest using artist acrylics), start by painting your horizon line and sky with a soft wash of color. Adding a little glaze to your paint will create a softer effect with more open time. Feeling creative? Add a lake or a stream for added interest. And then, the fun begins! Always start with the background elements and work your way forward. Stencil those faded mountain ranges in the distance right on the horizon line. Next put in your distant forests and small free standing trees and bushes. Move closer to the foreground and stencil your larger trees, rocks, bushes and overhanging tree branches. These elements benefit greatly from a little bit more hand painting and shading than the more faded background elements.


  • Have your mural composition open in the center for a longer vista.
  • These murals always look best when started at chair rail height, approximately 36" off the floor. No chair rail? No problem, just paint one using one of our border stencils. Finish below the border/chair rail in a complimentary finish or darker grisaille value.
  • When shading, decide on the direction of your light source and shade all elements consistently on one side. (Example: if the sun is coming from the left of your mural, all elements get shaded darker on a right side and lighter on a left side).
  • Don't be shy to throw in few hand painted elements such as blades of grass, and a few leaves here and there or whatever detail you're comfortable hand painting.
  • It's always great to have some reference at hand when painting murals. Books, personal photos and Internet images are all great sources for beautiful landscape reference.


  • Mural Stencils
  • Sample board
  • Latex and acrylic paints, including some glaze
  • Dense foam roller with rounded ends
  • Stencil brushes, artist brushes, paint brushes
  • Paint trays or large styrofoam plates
  • Low tack painter's tape
  • Paper towels or rags

PDF Printable Instructions


Click to view or right-click (control-click on a MAC) to download the PDF file. In order to view and print the instructions you will need Acrobat Reader. Click on the GET ACROBAT READER BUTTON in order to download it.

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