DIY Scenic Mural Panels

Remember those beautiful hand-painted Chinese wallpaper panels I had hanging in the loft? I’d been keeping them in storage while we lived in Brooklyn and had planned on putting them in our bedroom of our new house. As the Domino shoot deadline crept up, I was starting to get a little nervous about finding the panels. I hadn’t seen them since the move.

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We did everything we could to find them before the shoot – we turned the house and garage upside down, we called movers, we called NY neighbors and family that had helped us pack. No one had seen the panels. So I had no choice but to start from scratch with the bedroom and decided to make my own panels at the very last minute.

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I looked online for some artist’s paper in pretty colors, but everything felt too bright and too flat. I wanted the color to be soft and sort of mottled or worn-in looking. Then I saw this box of rosin paper in the paint section at Home Depot. The color, size and price were all perfectly perfect.

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I went back online to figure out what to paint for our murals. This was about 48 hours before the shoot – and I wasn’t feeling particularly creative or patient. More like exhausted and majorly nauseated from morning sickness. :) Good times. I think the panels came together though! I ended up deciding on a desert scene – it felt appropriate for this house. The older I get, the more I love and appreciate the beauty of the desert.

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There are so many cool shapes in the plants and, surprisingly, a huge range of really beautiful, soft colors in the desert. Just to keep things simple for me though, I used only white paint for the mural.
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I free-handed it, and it ended up being a pretty quick project. Just a couple hours all together. Part of me wishes I had had more time to spend on these, but I sort of like the simplistic quality. It does the job of dressing up and bringing in the big, long wall of our bedroom, and I think the soft mauve color is so pretty against the dark, moody Knoxville Gray walls.

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Just like with installing the Chinese panels, I measured and marked out the spacing on the bed wall and hung the panels directly to the walls with picture hanging strips, and then screwed in the plexi sheets on top using pretty brass screws. It’s a simple job, but definitely requires two or three helpers. Those plexi sheets are heavy and awkward!

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DIY to the rescue again! Someday my life will not be so crazy and I’ll have more time to plan these projects out a bit more thoughtfully. That’s the goal, anyway. :)
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  1. td

    When I saw the Domino article, I wondered why you had chosen this path over the Chinese panels. It's sad to know why. could you possibly have rolled them up to pack? I do hope you find them…they were truly gorgeous, although the substitute is very nice, as well.

  2. monika

    Oh, these are nice. And I do like the slightly primitive approach with white paint only but… those panels in the loft were/are killer! I hope you find them–even if it's just to put your mind at ease.

  3. So bummed for you that you could not find the panels. I'm going to hope that you find them (maybe even a few months down the road) and laugh that they were there "all the time." That happens to me often, so sending warm wishes your way. Your house is gorgeous! I'm one of your "silent readers" and enjoy getting inspired at what you do. Thanks, Jenny!

  4. I also wondered about the choice to change from the Chinese panels, but these turned out really lovely! The size is perfect and the simplicity seems to really compliment all your other beautiful bedroom furniture. I love when you do a quick-fix. These are fantastic.

  5. Do you mind sharing where you got the plexi, and the approximate cost? I recently got a bid from a local fabricator, for much smaller panels, and it seemed a bit steep. Thanks!

  6. Wow! What a great idea for framing! As usual so inspired by your ideas. Thanks for sharing! xx ly

  7. Em

    I'm so in love with your chartreuse-ish bed! I've been hoping since the Domino article came out that it'd make an appearance here. I'd love to know how you arrived at that decision and the story behind it. I never ever get tired of hearing your design and decision process. Thanks for still making time to share with us when you aren't feeling 100%. There is absolutely no reason why you should prioritize taking care of us, but I'm still so glad when you do. Cheers!

  8. Bec

    Those Chinese panels were beautiful, but honestly- I love these diy ones!! The simplicity, the design, the colors in the room! I seriously love it all!! I hope you find the others because losing stuff sucks. But I hope you keep these up. You're awesome. ((And PS I hope you're feeling less queasy etc now. Morning sickness is zero fun. Zero.))

  9. I think you can do anything – the new panels look fantastic!

  10. Bekah

    I generally like your ideas and style but these panels are not my favorite thing .. to me it looks like pieces of a set for an elementary school play. I would have gone a different path and maybe framed something less tonal and more delicate for your bedroom.

  11. You are so creative and all your DIYs are so inspiring. Thanks for blogging!

  12. Prayers to St. Anthony always work! Sending some for you now :)

  13. My question is bedroomy, but not wall panel related. I note that the lamps on your bedside tables are both positioned to the outside. How does that work for people who like to read in bed and need good lighting, and do you have the lamps rigged so you can turn them on/off easily when lying in bed, rather than reaching way out to a switch under the light bulb? Thanks!!

  14. Dianne

    I have been hoping you would show us these panels since the sneak peek we got in Domino. Would you please explain the type frame/glass you purchased and where was it from?
    Love everything you do!!!!

  15. I lost so many items with my many moves. Sometimes they just show up unexpectedly and sometimes sadly like a photo of my yiayia just disappear. Hope you are surprised one day to find your panels.

  16. Your style is forever inspiring! Love the color on the walls…did you consider painting the ceiling the same color? I bet it would be so dang cozy.

  17. I love these. Your creativity and artistic ability never ceases to amaze me. The moody grey of your bedroom is lovely and I love the eclectic mix.

  18. Jenny

    Hi guys! The plexi was purchased in NY at Canal St Plastics. I talked about the specifics in the old post I linked to at the beginning of the post. Any framer can get acrylic sheets cut to size for you though! Hope that helps! xo

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  20. Susan OByrnes

    What are picture hanging strips ? I didn’t see anything on the wall.

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