What type of paint should I be using for decorative painting?

Old 06-12-11, 10:52 AM
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What type of paint should I be using for decorative painting?

I've taken on a new painting project. I'm repainting the walls of my church's nursery. I have a few questions.

I've painted oodles of walls before but I've never actually decorated them further than some sponging. I've also never painted over a wall that had decorations painting on them.

What the room looks like now:
Right now the walls are an eggshell white. There is a very small stencils design of little animals that is repeated a few times around the perimeter of the room, ultimately not taking up very much space on the wall at all.

What I plan on doing:
There are four walls. One wall has a big window; one wall has the door, a TV wall mount, and a bulletin board; one wall has a large shelving unit; and one wall is completely bare. I plan on painting the three walls the same color, and on the fourth blank wall a mural of animals coming out of the ark. You know, a very traditional church nursery theme.


Question 1: Should I take the old paint off?
Generally I've always just painted over the old paint because it's plain a white. But I don't think this paint has been redone in a couple decade and although the stenciled designs are sparse and faded, I'm concerned they'll show through the new coat.

Question 2: What kind of paint should I use to paint the mural?
I've never done something like this on a painted wall before. I'm a skill acrylic on canvas painter so I know how to blend and all that fun stuff. Do I use regular wall paint as if I were using my acrylic on a canvas? Do they make paint especially designed for designs such as the one I have in mind?

Question 3: What's the best color to soothe infants but not be too crazy?
I've done a lot of research into color theory in the past. I know that green in a very soothing color, so it was probably the top of my list (like a mint). I know blue is soothing but it's hard to get a light blue that doesn't look cold and I definitively want to keep the room soft so it's a soothing environment for the babies. However, the rest of my church has white walls. I don't want to make the room too crazy. Although, my pastor told me depending on how the nursery comes out, he may have me do the rest of the church so that may not even be a concern. Anyway, are there any suggestions, or am I right on the money with a light green? Maybe a soft pastel yellow?

Any help would be much appreciated. Thanks!
Old 06-12-11, 06:25 PM
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Welcome to the forums!

While I've got lots of experience painting, I've only dabbled a little in the faux painting realm. The stencils shouldn't pose a problem. You do need to determine if the paint on the stencils is thick enough to be an issue. If it is, you may need to apply a thin coat of joint compound over them, sand [texture if needed] prime and paint. Otherwise 1-2 coats of paint should cover them fine.

I don't know much about the artist types of paint. It's possible they might need a clear sealer to protect them from wear. Regular wall and trim paint should do fine without a sealer but I don't know well they work from the artist standpoint. My knowledge of something soothing for an infant is limited to a bottle, clean diaper and maybe some rocking Hopefully someone else will have better insight
Old 06-13-11, 07:47 AM
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Mark has way more painting experience than I do but I'd hit the walls with an oil based primer first (Zinsser 123 is my personal choice) if you're worried about anything showing through from underneath
Old 06-13-11, 09:31 AM
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I doubt the stencil work would need a solvent based primer but it wouldn't hurt to slap a little paint over the stencils to see if that would be an issue.... I don't think it will be but I haven't seen the art work either.
Old 07-01-11, 11:35 AM
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Two coats of regular paint should cover without a problem. It would be better if the first coat is an undercoater primer tinted to the same color as the top coat or slightly lighter. I have done lots of stenciling and other faux and decorative work. IMHO you can use your acrylics for your mural. Have lots of extender on hand. Using regular paint for your purpose does not work that well. Hard to do your shading as the paint dries to quickly. Hope this helps.

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