A Beginner’s Guide to Mural Painting & Lettering

Ever been asked to paint a mural (or wanted to be asked) but completely panicked when it came time to actually do it?


Where do you start? How do start? How do you design a piece and then scale it for a wall? What tools and materials do you use?


There are so many questions!


Lucky for us, Hayley Barry of Type Affiliated has the answers to those questions (plus some really wise advice on the topic) and she’s ready to walk us through everything a beginner needs to know about murals.

The links below may be affiliate links where appropriate. This means that your purchase through these links may result in a few cents in payment to me, to support creating further resources like this one! That being said, I will never suggest supplies that I do not personally use and fully recommend.


Getting your first mural client can seem like a daunting task, especially if you’ve never offered any large scale lettering or painting services. But Hayley has a great suggestion for that: contact stores, businesses and companies yourself. Take that first step! Sure, 90% of the people Hayley contacted didn’t respond, but one did, and became her first paying client.


“Once I had that one real client, it was something that I could put out and say ‘look, I’m doing professional work for real businesses’, I can do this and I can do it for real” – Hayley Barry


Once you’ve found a client who wants to work with you (YAY!) it’s time to get down to business.


It is important to be professional and efficient, so getting as much information possible right away will save you time and back and forth. To give a good quote you need to know the client’s vision.


To provide a proper quote you need to know the following:


  • What words will be lettered?
  • How large is the space?
  • Do they want illustrations?
  • What is the surface texture?
  • Are there branding colours needed?
  • Is there a logo to transfer?
  • Are there font styles to include?


Once you know ALL OF THE DETAILS and you agree on a price, the contract can be signed (and yes, be sure to use a contract)!


Now it’s time to design!


Before you can even think about painting, you need to create the final design and have it approved by the client. Hayley provides her clients 5 or 6 rough sketches for her design ideas, and once they pick a design they love, she will create a finished version which is a replica of what will be painted.


If your client is having a hard time visualizing your sketch in their space, Hayley has a tip that is super helpful. Take a photo of their space and photoshop your design right onto the photo! This will help them really see what the finale piece will look like, and allow them to make any changes before you start painting.


Once the sketch is approved by your client, you can determine a time and date to start the finale piece! (YAY!)


In the interview Hayley also covers why you should only use the highest quality paint (which is usually the most expensive paint), what kind of brushes she likes to use, what to use to seal the mural once everything is done and dry and some really amazing hacks!


And I am not kidding…when I say amazing hacks, I mean AMAZING hacks! So be sure to check out the video and get the whole interview to find out more tips, tricks and hacks that will totally help you on your first mural gig!


Huge thanks to Hayley for taking the time to share everything with us! You can follow Hayley’s Instagram account Type Affiliated for some mega inspiration and check out her website to see what other services she offers.



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