A photo or illustration provides reference material while painting a beach mural.

How to Paint a Beach Theme for a Wall Mural

by Kathy Adams

A wall mural featuring a beach scene calls to mind a relaxing, warm environment even when the weather outdoors may be anything but beachy. To bring that tropical look to a wall in your home, you can either pay someone to paint the mural or do it yourself. Even if you've never painted a mural before, techniques used by painters and artists will help you achieve the desired look on the wall. Before you know it, you'll be able to sip on a fruity drink, enjoying your taste of the beach at home.

Basic Preparation

A good cleaning sets the stage for a mural without dust or debris marring the finished look. A standard feather duster, or your favorite alternate duster, wipes away all the dust and cobwebs, while a mild soap and damp cloth swabs remaining residue away. Once the wall dries and you've applied painter's tape over areas you don't want to paint, you can prime the wall with a quality latex primer. Don't forget to put a tarp down in front of the wall to catch stray drips. Once the primer dries, paint the wall in the basic large colors you'll use, plotting out a horizon line with chalk. A bottom shade of tan, for instance, acts as sand, while blue above that base serves as a base color for water and sky. You'll fill in the details later.


An overhead projector is one of the fastest ways to recreate a beach scene on a wall if you're not comfortable mocking up the design from scratch. Using a projector requires an image to reproduce so you have something to trace. A photo, painting or even a handmade sketch are equally valid source materials for projection. Once you have the desired image, set it in the projector and adjust the projected image size on the wall until it looks the way you like. Trace the outlines and key details of the projected image using chalk. Turning off the projector once in a while to look at the chalk lines helps you see if you've missed anything.


If you enjoy drawing and want to tackle this large-scale project freehand, sketch your ideas on the wall with chalk, stepping back from your work to check the full scene from time to time, stopping when the scene looks complete. You can still use a sketch or photo as a basic guide to know what to draw on the wall. Chalk can be wiped off and redrawn at any time, so don't worry about getting things perfect on the first attempt.

Filling Things In

Keeping small resealable containers of various paint colors on hand, and a number of brushes, lets you move from one area to the next on your mural. A latex glaze mixed with some of the shades adds translucency, which is ideal for water -- it will look like you can see through the water a bit, making it look more realistic. Trace the things you've outlined using the appropriate colors, then fill in the details, much like painting on an oversized coloring-book page. A scrap of cardboard or a disposable takeout container serve as a mixing bin for paint colors, so you can create shading and color variations for your beach objects, such as seagulls, people or sandcastles.

About the Author

Kathy Adams is an award-winning journalist and freelance writer who traveled the world handling numerous duties for music artists. She writes travel and budgeting tips and destination guides for USA Today, Travelocity and ForRent, among others. She enjoys exploring foreign locales and hiking off the beaten path stateside, snapping pics of wildlife and nature instead of selfies.

Photo Credits

  • Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images