Giraffes, Tigers, Lions and Birds (Oh My)

Giraffes, Tigers, Lions and Birds (Oh My)

When I was heavily pregnant with Eva, the nesting instinct kicked in and inspired me to paint a big mural on the wall of her nursery.

She loved it, and used to lie in her cot pointing up at the birds. When we moved house, we actually took a piece of it with us, as part of it was painted over a 2m tall piece of MDF that we had used to create a hidden wardrobe in the corner of the room. I did contemplate re-creating it, but was inspired by this fabric (which I purchased to make curtains for her new bedroom) to create something brand-new with a travel and animal theme.

So I googled pictures of a bunch of world landmarks and animals, and PhotoShopped them together into a magical landscape of animals, bird, butterflies and flowers rioting happily among famous world buildings. I decided to keep it simple and go with white outlines on a hot pink wall - partly because I wanted a clean, modern look, and partly because I wanted to make it easy for Eva to identify all the different elements of the mural.

Here's my original drawing, plus gridlines. Due to the size of the mural I wouldn't have been able to get a projector far away enough to fit the whole image on the wall, so I went old-school with chalk gridlines on the wall.

Here's how it progressed:

And here's the finished product. Well, actually it might not ever be finished because once Eva starts talking properly she'll probably want me to add bits to it, but I'm really pleased with how it turned out. And most importantly, Eva loves it - she runs into her room every morning (she's still sleeping in the spare room while we wait for the Osmo fumes to disappear), does a few laps round and round, and then starts pointing excitedly to the different elements: "Tane!" (plane) "Fish!" "Fwower!" (flower) "Wab Wab!" (rabbit). Bless her :-)

My favourite part is the giraffes.

With a few exceptions, I painted everything freehand (using B&Q One Coat white emulsion). Non-freehand elements include the sun and London Eye (I used a piece of chalk on a thread to create a circle to trace), the stars (I just can't draw five point stars so I used a paper template), the moon (I thought a wonky moon would look a bit rubbish so again I used a paper template) and the Eiffel Tower (I held a ruler up to the wall as a guideline to get the lines straight, and then painted the lines about an inch above the level of the ruler).

The only problem now, of course, is trying to explain that it's OK for Mama to paint on the wall, but it's not OK for Eva to paint on the wall. Hmm. I didn't really think that one through, did I.