“I’m really busy and work is steady,” says Annette Dostaler, a mural artist in Bristol, Connecticut and mom of two, who paints nursery murals for clients in Connecticut and in Westchester County, New York.
Dostaler is in demand and murals are still popular because parents still like the idea of having hand-painted, one of a kind artwork adorn the nursery. “A mural is customized and more artistic than using wall decals and sized specifically for your child’s room,” Dostaler says.
Consider doing a mural in your baby’s room? To give you an idea of how to work with a mural artist, Babyproductsmom chatted with Dostaler to learn more about her and her painterly process.
Q: How did you get started painting murals?
A: I’ve always been artistic since I was very little. I went to school for graphic design. When my girls were in elementary school, I volunteered to paint a landscape mural around an enclosure in the office at their school. My business exploded from there. I started getting calls from parents. That was 17 years ago.
Q: How much do your murals cost?
A: There’s a range of $300/day. But depending on the difficulty and how far I have to drive, it could go up from there. Some people just want something simple right over the crib, such as a quote or just the baby’s name, which might cost $300 or less. I also paint clouds on ceilings. But sometimes they want the whole room, which typically costs $1000 to $1500. I try to keep the price reasonable.
Q: How long do your nursery murals usually take to paint?
A: The longest mural has taken me 10 days.
Q: How do you work?
A: It’s almost like a puzzle. Sometimes I go and see the space and take photos of the room or clients send me pictures of the room. Then, we talk about budget and time frame. From there, I create a sample mural and super impose it onto their room photo so they can get a clear picture of how the mural will look when it’s done. Once we get that all ironed out, I have a better idea of how much it will cost. I don’t charge for the time I spend creating samples.
Q: What’s trending now with nursery murals?
A: What I’ve been painting lately is pretty much what people want all the time: woodland and adventure themes or tropical or cactus themes for boys. For girls, nautical inspired or flowers are big. Quotes are always popular too, such as “I’ll love your forever [name of baby]” or a quote from a poem from the clients’ childhood they had read to them when they were little.
Q: It’s always a shame when it comes time to paint over a mural.
Which mural themes do children outgrow the quickest?
A: Disney characters; they don’t last as long. But murals with a jungle safari, sports or nautical theme last longer. You may be able to get seven or eight years out of them before your child says she’s ready for something else.
Q: What kind of paint do you use?
A: I paint with regular wall paint. But in small areas, I’ll use acrylic paint. Then, I seal the mural to protect it and give it a nice even finish.
Q: How long does a mural typically last?
A: Forever. Murals don’t fade over time. Unless your child is banging on it, there shouldn’t be a problem. But nicks can be fixed too.
Q: What’s the most common mistake parents make with murals?
A: Not considering all the furniture they’re going to have in the room.
Before having a mural painted, get your furniture first or at least know which furniture you’re going to have and where it’s going, including how high and wide it is. Because, if you’re not careful, your nursery furniture will block the mural.
If your furniture hasn’t been delivered yet, tape an outline of where the furniture will be the floor and wall of the nursery so the mural artist can get a sense of how tall everything is and paint around it.
Q: When is an ideal time to have a mural painted?
A: Do it at least a month before your baby is born. A lot of people worry about the fumes.
Q: When looking for a mural artist, what’s most important? Finding someone with an art background?
A: That would help. My background in graphic design helps a lot with quotes and using different fonts and design balance. It comes in handy.
Q: Any tips for customers on how to work with a mural artist?
A: Make sure you like the artistic style of the mural artist you’re considering working with. Look at the murals they’ve done and the customer reviews. Have a firm idea of what you want but still be open to suggestions and changes that might come up. It’s a give and take situation.
Get an estimate of what it’s going to cost, too. Also, if you think you’re going to be having more than one child in that room, aim for something more gender neutral, such as a landscape or a jungle theme.
Q: How would you describe your painting style?
A: Realistic. I could do any style, including abstract. If I have a picture or photo me, I could reproduce it. But I tend to lean toward the realistic side.
Interested in having a mural painted in your baby’s room? Visit Art by Annette, firstname.lastname@example.org or call 203-578-5690.
Annette Dostaler works with clients in Connecticut and Westchester County.