French Quarter Wall Mural

Capture the feel of New Orleans with cafe walls and wrought-iron details with these step-by-step instructions.

Materials and Tools:


Worn bricks and wrought iron evoke the beautiful time-worn feeling of the French Quarter.

satin latex paints (reds, greens, copper, terra cotta)
paint pens (beige and brown)
sponge-roller cover
painter’s tape


1. Apply the base-coat colors and let dry. The difference in the final look comes from the additional color choices layered over the top (be sure to allow each layer to dry before adding another). A darker red over the red café wall imitates the red base color in the shadows, a lighter warm red highlights the color in sunlight, and a touch of green shows up in a various places. The colors for the jazz-club wall start with copper and are layered with the red from the café walls for the shadow color, as well as two shades of green.


2. Add the deeper red to the cafe walls by applying paint sparingly to the sponge roller and lightly going over the entire wall surface to give it a random coating. If it’s too heavy, use the base-coat color like an eraser and roll over the heavy areas. Let dry.

3. Go over the wall the same way with lighter red.

4. For the dark green, just put the tips of the sponge roller in the tray and lightly touch it here and there on the surface.


5. Add finishing touches by pushing the dark red paint into the corners of the room and drawing some cracks in the walls.

6. For the jazz club walls, add the darker red with a sponge roller just along the edges and in spotty areas across the building. Repeat with dark green and beige. Once satisfied, go over the top with the terra-cotta base coat to lessen the effect even more.


7. For the brick wall, use a sponge roller to go over the dark green with a lighter green, which in the end will be the mortar lines. Once dry, tape off the bricks by eye rather than with a level so they look more realistic. Use sponge rollers to add layers of four different beige tones. It’s best if the colors aren’t applied evenly — it makes the bricks look more lifelike.


8. Remove the tape and add shadows and highlights with paint pens. Decide the light source first, and then make one side edge and the top of each brick light and the opposite sides dark to add dimension.


9. Paint wrought-iron details around the outer edges and below the chair rail of the brick wall by hand or with a stencil. Augment the design with gray highlights over the black.

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