DIY Network

How to Paint a Trompe L'oeil Wall Mural

Learn how to create a three dimensional image on the wall using a painting technique known as trompe l'oeil, which is French for 'fool the eye.'

More in Painting

create three dimensional image on wall
  • Time

    Two Days

  • Price Range

    $1 - $50

  • Difficulty



Step 1: Prime the Area to be Painted

Place drop cloths on the floor.

It's best to work on a light-colored background or work from a canvas and later add the finished piece to your wall.

Prime the area and allow it to dry.

Step 2: Sketch the Images on the Wall

You can make use of an overhead projector by shining the image on the wall or surface and sketch. The less detailed the image, the easier it is to sketch and paint. Make sure your proportions are correct for the size of the space you are painting in.

Paint the trompe l'oeil mural, doing the background first and layering the foreground images on top. Pay close attention to the shadowing of images for a more realistic effect.

Note: Acrylic paint or flat interior paint can be used to paint the images.

paint background of mural first

Step 3: Outline the Foreground Images

Outline the foreground images with darker colors to bring out the edges. Pay close attention to the shadowing of images for a more realistic effect. Periodically step back from the painting to check your progress and to check for errors.

It's best to seal the area with a clear polyurethane to increase the longevity of the piece. Allow the mural to dry completely.

The completed mural is stunning.