The artist you choose will likely have a preferred transfer method. When using projectors, this allows for the community to help transfer the design onto the wall. Unless using a projector, many artists will combine multiple methods to get their designs to the wall.

  • Projector (either digital or transparency)
  • Gridding
  • Stencils
  • Pouncing
  • By Hand (with chalk or water-washable pencils)

Using a projector is the easiest method of getting a 

design onto a wall. Some artists use a digital projector and others will use a transparency projector. However,
when the mural is in an alley or hallway without
enough space to project, then another method will have to be used.


This is an old but reliable technique for enlarging a design or drawing. The artist creates a grid of squares on the design and a corresponding grid of squares on the wall. The grid on the design can be drawn on an acetate or tracing paper overlay to avoid damaging the original drawing. After priming the wall, a grid is created using a chalk line or Stabilo pencils with levels. By copying onto the wall what is in each square of the design, the artist can begin to reconstruct the mural design accurately at a large scale. The artist first draws the basic outlines of your mural first, adding details later because its important to establish the basic design first to check for the correct proportions. It helps to first draw with vine charcoal or washable pencils. Use a wet rag as an eraser and then to paint in the drawing as each section is completed and judged as accurate.


Artists transfers their drawing to a thin sheet of cardboard, plastic, or metal. They then cut their 

images or text out of their chosen material. The stencil is taped or stuck to the wall with temporary spray glue. Then paint is either brushed or spray painted through the open areas of the stencil. 


Pouncing is the technique Michelangelo used to transfer his full-scale drawings onto the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Its another type of stencil that is used for detail. The first step is for the artist to make large drawings to scale on paper. Holes are punched through the paper at frequent intervals along the drawing, usually with a tool that rolls with spikes. This punched paper outline is then taped to the wall and a charcoal or chalk powder is “pounced” over the holes, forcing the powder through the holes onto the wall. When you remove the paper from the wall you should be left with a series of small dots following the lines of the original drawing which can then be used as guidelines for the painting. Then the artist makes the basic lines more permanent with thin lines of paint.


If the design is simple, it is possible to freehand the design. Artists usually lightly sketch the design with chalk, vine charcoal or washable pencils because revisions are easy with water and a rag. Once the design is correctly on the wall, they will go over with a more permanent mark or paint lines. If there are straight lines in the design, artists will use straight edges, levels and tape to make the lines.