The Writing's on the Wall

Owning a home is fun. I get to hang curtains up (in a color of my choosing), I get to modify the house in any way that benefits my lifestyle, and most importantly, I get to paint the walls with color and patterns.

One of the things I plan on doing to my home, when I get my library, is to stencil and paint some of my favorite quotes on the wall as a top border. This has been one of my dreams for almost 10 years now. I thought that was a good idea and then I read about Charlie Kratzer and how he took a Sharpie (or 10) to his basement walls and hand-sketched murals all over every available wall.

I'm amazed at how wonderful it all looks! Maybe one day I'll draw in some effects for some of my walls. Once I overcome the fear of being a "bad" sketch artist.

Syndicate content

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

That Sharpie-decorated room

That Sharpie-decorated room is amazing. Thanks for sharing it!

Here's a tip.


I have experience both stenciling and cartooning on the walls of my (former) home. A tip from me to you--use an overhead projector before you paint/mark on the walls.

We had fabulous results when I doodled the design I wanted on paper, then traced it onto a transparency and projected it on the wall. We were able to change the size, height, and angle of the items before committing to anything. You can even use colored transparency markers to get a clue how that vivid red is going to look next to the blue background color..

My kids had hand-painted bugs on their bedroom walls--two sets of bugs, one set over and around each crib--in all sorts of festive colors. We just painted with craft acrylics right over the latex (it took a couple of coats, you might want to get latex wall paint instead).

The other method I tried, which seemed like it was going to be so cool but left me lukewarm at the end, was using a plastic stencil and stencil brushes to apply craft paint in a flower vine pattern in the kitchen. Maybe it's because I'm not as good at realistic flowers as I am at circles and ovals and lines. If it had been cool, I would have done more--as it was, I only did two bits of stencil, one on either side of the stove. It was a morning glories pattern in blue and green.

Anyway, I highly recommend the overhead projector method--we got a junky old one like they used to use in schools--the brown and ivory kind with the long metal arm, where the ivory is discolored with age.. I used to have one of the art tracer things, but those aren't bright enough to really project anything well, especially if you want the room light on at the same time.

Be bold. It's only paint. If you don't like it, you can always paint a contrasting color over it and try again. :)



do we get to see any pictures?

"No wonder we're not picking up any radio signals from alien species. They're not sending any! They're too afraid we'll answer." - George Carlin

Steve Sharam


Pictures? Of what... his doodles on the wall (there was an 3d moving image in the article, last I saw earlier) or what I'm doing to my walls?

My domain has old pictures of the house, if you're curious to see what paint jobs I've done so far. I do need to update many of those old images tho.


Well I was thinking of your house

but the 3d is cool too:)

"No wonder we're not picking up any radio signals from alien species. They're not sending any! They're too afraid we'll answer." - George Carlin

Steve Sharam


I have found when stencilling old walls (plaster) that latex craft (and stencil)paints tend to bleed. I use the tube latex and can apply it thickly to get the color intensity I want. I use it more as an oil paint then a water color. Mix white to lighten color instead of water. You can still apply it lightly or with the background showing thru (dry brush). I just don't get the bleed and it stays more where it is put on vertical surfaces. Also the colors can be more intense if you want and you can water them down to make the craft style paint. Versatile and economical, too.
Have lots of fun, Star

Even though I do calligraphy

Even though I do calligraphy as a sideline (since that's how I made it through college), writing on walls was more difficult than expected. The transparency idea works great, especially since everything looks perfect while you're up on the ladder painting it, but it might look strange from a different angle. One of the most fun time's I had was painting the ceiling in a bar. It's an Irish pub, and they wanted "The Song of Amergin" painted on the ceiling in Uncial script, but they also wanted it in a celtic knotwork format. The lines of the poem ended up being the ribbons of the knotwork, and whenever I got to an architectural change like a post, column, vent, or fixture, the ribbons of writing over- or under-lapped. It was beautiful.

In my apartment (which I rented with two good friends before moving and buying a house), we loved pictures, photos, and posters far too much, so the only 'open' spaces in the apartment were our bedroom doors. We purposefully left the plain, flat, white doors unadorned, and simply hung baskets of colored Sharpie markers beside the doors and encouraged people to write whatever they wanted. A lot of the best quotes I've heard about myself were written on the doors. We had artist friends sketch little doodles of us on our individual doors (I was a very cute bunny-girl nurse, in fact), we had writer friends leave us little poems or bits of random dialogue, and one co-worker wrote this fantastic quote about the complexities of knowing me: "Trying to figure you out is a lot like someone who speaks Swahili trying to learn Arabic with a Greek-to-Russian dictionary." When we moved out of the apartment, we had paint over the doors, but we took plenty of photos. Currently, in my house, I have whiteboard and chalkboard around at random places, with chalk and markers, and I encourage people to write on them. One is a magnetic whiteboard full of magnetic poetry, and my son insists that guests make poems up before they leave. It's a lot of fun, but not as much as writing directly on the walls.

I'm not normally an impulse

I'm not normally an impulse sorta person but I took a pencil to my wall one time and since then I've got about six quotes sketched across my walls. They're plain cream another than that but I haven't wanted to go over them in anything too dark because they'll be hard to paint over but I have 'in the middle of difficulty lies opportunity' & 'being a woman i was raised to be my own authority' sketched out currently. The rest got rubbed away or hidden by furniture but I'm planning on sketching a few more straight onto the wall before I paint it over in white and sketch out just a few and go over them in black marker. Can't get much more minimal... ;D I love that basement though <3 I guess my point is you could always sketch it out in pencil first? At least then you can rub it out. There's also paint I've heard you can draw on then wipe it off or something? That could be good to have as an art thing for kids, if nothing else. Why do nurserys not think of these things?

covering up Sharpie

Using a good primer for oil based paints, like "Kilz" (at Lowes and Hom-Depot) should cover any of that up. After all, that is why Sharpies work so well-because they are oil-based!
E. A. Scott

I never thought of using a Sharpie!

That is an awesome idea! I have often thought about putting quotes across our plain bathroom that would inspire contemplation by our children. I have also considered putting adjectives and nouns across my girls bedroom varying shapes, and fonts to both encourage the spelling and use of those fantastic words, as well as to try to keep their mood positive and optimistic. Your Sharpie idea is just the thing to do it!

E. A. Scott