On bright summer days, children love to lie on their backs and look for pictures in the fluffy white clouds. You can help to recreate this carefree summer feeling for your children by learning how to paint clouds on their bedroom walls.
• blue, satin finish paint
• white, semi-gloss paint
• full-size paint roller
• 4-inch paint roller
• 2-inch paint brush
• paint tray
• glass measuring cup
• pieces of sea sponge, big enough to be held between your thumb and fingers
• a piece of cheesecloth, about 18 x 24 inches
• a piece of board or wallboard, approximately 36 x 24″
• pictures of clouds, if possible
The first step in the cloud-painting process is to prepare the walls for paint. Just like an artist prepares his canvas for painting, so must you prepare the walls to accept the paint. Use the 2-inch brush to paint the crevice between the ceiling and the walls and between each wall. Then use the paint roller to paint the rest of the walls. You may find it easier to go over the wall next to the crevices with the small paint roller. Give the walls two coats of primer, allowing each coat to dry thoroughly.
After the primer, apply two coats of the blue and again, allow to dry thoroughly. At the same time, paint the piece of board or wallboard; this will be used to practice your cloud-painting technique. The last coat of paint should be allowed to dry for 24 hours before applying the clouds.
You will use the measuring cup to mix the glaze and the white paint, using a 4 to 1 ratio. For example, you could add 1 cup of glaze and 1/4 cup of white paint. Mix thoroughly and pour into paint tray. Continue to mix this several times as you are painting as the mixture has a tendency to separate.
Assemble any pictures of clouds you were able to collect and spread them out in a location that you can check frequently for ideas. Choose a piece of sponge, wet it under the tap, and wring it out completely. Next, dab it into the white paint, then dab on the ridges of the paint tray to remove excess paint.
Now the fun begins! Before actually painting, take a moment to wet your piece of cheesecloth under the tap and wring out thoroughly. Keep this near at hand while you paint your clouds. Use your previously prepared board or wallboard to practice forming clouds.
With your sponge, start dabbing on the board in a fairly straight line for the bottom of the cloud. Then start dabbing paint above this line, twisting and turning the sponge as you dab, to build your cloud. When you are satisfied with the general shape of the cloud, take your cheesecloth and dab gently over the entire cloud, softening the paint and giving it a more cloud-like appearance. You may then dab a few more bits of paint on the cloud, towards the center, to add some texture. You will create each cloud in the same way, twisting and turning and dabbing the sponge, softening with the cheesecloth, and then adding texture with a few more dabs of paint.
Choose your largest wall and find the middle of the wall, both vertically and horizontally – just eyeball it. Then, move to either your left or right about one foot. Go up or down about one foot from the vertical center that you found. This is where you will begin painting. This is an important step because it will eliminate the effect of a bulls eye – a cloud painted right in the middle of a wall! Make your largest cloud about 20-24 inches in length, medium clouds 10-15 inches, small 5-10 inches, and wisps can be as small as 2 inches. (These sizes are based on a room of about 8 x 10′; if your room is larger or smaller, adjust your sizes appropriately.)
To make the clouds seem natural, try to get away from painting the clouds all the same size or in some sort of pattern. When starting a wall, I like to try and place the largest clouds first, off-center and at different places to the ones on the other four walls. Then I fill in with medium sized clouds, small clouds, and then “wisps” – those clouds that are hardly there.
Wrap some of your clouds around the corners of the walls and start some right from the baseboards or window trim. Don’t forget to paint small wisps of clouds around light switches, electrical outlets, cool air vents, and wall-mounted lights. These details really pay off!
• Some decorating ideas that complement this paint technique could include the following:
• Kites – Make kites out of colorful fabric or purchase assorted styles and hang from the ceiling. Be sure to include tails for your kites!
• Hot Air Balloon – Make a balloon out of fabric and suspend it from the ceiling, in one corner of the room. Attach ropes to a basket that sits underneath; this becomes a toy box for the room.
• Rainforest – Use bed linens and drapes that follow this theme and then hang a paper mache parrot and assorted artificial butterflies from the ceiling. Add leafy plants and silk ivy garlands. Assorted stuffed animals finish the look.
• Flight – Airplane beds are available or could be made by a handy woodworker. Accessorize the room with model airplanes of all shapes and sizes.
• Nature – Accessorize the room with flowering plants, real or silk, butterflies, and birds. Furniture could be painted green with brightly colored flowers.
• A sky-colored room filled with clouds will delight any child. Let your imagination run free and bring a bit of the outdoors into your home!