A Fine Feathered Nest

from Creative Home
Take your favorite wall décor with you by putting decorative painting on wall-mounted sheets of muslin.

Don't let anyone tell you that you can't take it with you. Painted by artist Andrew Tedesco, this mural is completely portable. The muslin wall covering was hung after the painted design was dry and can be taken down whenever a change is in order.

To duplicate the fabric-painting process in your own home, precisely measure the wall you want to cover and then cut a piece of muslin to match the exact dimensions. Affordably priced, muslin can be purchased at fabrics stores and online in widths up to 27 feet. For a seamless design, as Tedesco prefers, lay the muslin on an open expanse of floor such as in a basement or garage and then paint your design following the guidelines below. To protect the work surface, cover it with a drop cloth or a heavy sheet of plastic. If you don't have a work area large enough for a wall-size motif, paint on smaller fabric pieces and then connect the design when you hang it on the wall.

To ensure the latex paint adheres to the fabric, cover the muslin with a base coat of gesso, a primer designed for use on canvas. Because most of Tedesco's designs are large, he applies the gesso with a large roller attached to an extension arm so he can stand while he paints. The fabric lies flat naturally, so he doesn't tape it to the floor, but he recommends doing so if you feel securing it gives you better control.

Once the gesso dries, apply two coats of latex paint in the background color in this case, robin's egg blue. Let the latex paint dry thoroughly. Using color pencils, sketch your design on the prepared fabric. When your sketch is complete, begin filling it in using various colors of latex paint and artist's brushes. To create perspective, fill in background items first and work your way toward the foreground, painting the nearest item last and allowing each layer to dry before starting the next. For this motif, Tedesco painted the vines first because they provide the foundation for the remainder of the design. He then added the leaves, followed by the flowers, the birds, the letters, and finally the nest and the eggs inside the letter O. To protect the finished design, apply two or three coats of polyurenthane and allow it to dry thoroughly.

Before attaching the muslin to the wall, Tedesco recommends priming and painting the specified wall the same color as the mural background, making it difficult to tell where wall ends and fabric begins. he then attaches the muslin to the wall using standard wallpaper paste that he applies to the back of the fabric with a paint roller.

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