I have been a fan of Super Mario Bros for over 30 years. So you better believe when my oldest son told us he wanted us to redo his room in a Mario theme, I was completely gung ho for it. A Mario mural was in our future.
My wife just wanted to slap up some Mario decals around his room (in a nice fashion, of course), but I had a much larger project in mind.
I decided to paint the entire first world (1-1) of Super Mario Bros. on my son’s walls. To be honest, I had some doubts about how well this would turn out, but it came out amazing!
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Determining the Scale of Your Mario Mural
Measure the total wall space you will be working with (excluding doors, windows, etc.). Make sure all of the measurements are in inches.
Choose the world that you would like to replicate on your walls. We chose Super Mario Bros. World 1-1.
Then, count the total number of blocks that make up the world, including pitfalls. The easiest way to do this is to count the ground bricks because they span nearly the entire world.
To determine the width of the pitfalls, I used Microsoft Paint to cut out a ground brick and overlay it on a pitfall to see how many blocks worth a pitfall was. One pitfall equals two ground blocks. World 1-1 had 210 blocks, including pitfalls.
To determine the scale that you will be using, divide the total number of inches of wall space (step 1) by the total number of blocks (step 3). My scale turned out to be 2.41 inches which would have made painting some of the world’s details extremely hard.
To increase the scale to something more appropriate (while in Microsoft Paint), I looked for spaces in the world where I could remove ground bricks without affecting the integrity of the original image.
I decided that I wanted to make my scale roughly 3 inches, so I removed around 41 blocks to accomplish this.
Removing these blocks allowed me to go from a 2.41-inch scale to a 3-inch scale. This was perfect for me, but you can tweak this to your own needs.
Creating the Mario Mural Stencils
Look at the original image and determine what stencils you need to create. For example, I made stencils for hills, clouds, bricks, pipes, mushrooms, the turtle, castle, bushes, goombas…in other words, for pretty much everything.
After identifying all of the items, I needed to make stencils for, I determined that the single ground brick would be my basic comparing tool. I used Microsoft Paint to cut out one of the ground bricks.
Since each ground brick was going to be 3 inches wide by 3 inches tall, I was able to determine the size of the other items I needed to make stencils for.
For example, I determined that the small pipe was two ground bricks wide by two ground bricks tall. This meant that the Small Pipe was 6 inches by 6 inches. Do this for all of the items you need to create a stencil for.
Create a grid on a piece of poster board. To do this, I pulled up a single ground brick in Microsoft Paint and expanded it to 3 inches by 3 inches when holding a ruler up to the computer screen.
Once I enlarged the image in Paint, I easily saw that a ground brick was made up of a 16 x 16 grid. I put my ruler up to the screen and measured the distance for each grid block to determine the size of my gridlines on the poster board.
This grid allowed me to easily draw all the shapes and items needed to create Super Mario Bros. World 1-1.
Picking the Paint Colors for Your Mario Bros Wall Mural
We printed enlarged portions a high-quality image of World 1-1 and matched them to paint samples at Wal-Mart.
I purchased all of the paints we used at Wal-Mart. We used the Color Place brand (for most of the paint) of flat paint because it was the cheapest per gallon.
It might not be the best quality, but we did not have the money to spend on top-quality paint, especially when we had to buy gallons and gallons of paint. I think the paint we used turned out just fine!
If you want to use the exact paint colors we did, here are the paint codes you can take into Wal-Mart to achieve them.
Black: Basic Premixed Flat Black
- KX 1Y 16
- AXX 9Y 15
- D 27 ½
- E 38
White: Basic Premixed Flat White
Brown: “Orange Sienna” Better Homes and Garden’s Interior Flat
Highlight White: “Flowering Baby’s Breath”
- C 2
- L 6
- R 4
Orange: “True Royal Love”
- KX 3Y 24 ½
- AXX 7Y 19
- L 15
- V 37
- KX 3Y 33
- AXX 7Y 30 ½
- D 11 ½
- E 20 ½
- KX 1Y 14 ½
- R 37
- T 9Y 44 ½
Sky Blue: “Blue Sausalito Bay”
- B 22
- D 2
- E 2Y 38
Red: Sorry, for some reason, we don’t have a name or color code for the red paint.
Painting a Mario Bros Wall Mural
Painting has to be the most fun part of this project other than seeing the finished product.
Mario Wall Mural Height
The first thing you need to do is determine how high on the wall you need to start the mural to keep the proportions.
I took my basic block and determined how many blocks high the world was. I determined that it would be about 12 blocks high or about 6 feet.
In the room that I was painting, the walls were 9 feet high, so I started my ground bricks about 3 feet from the ground.
Next, I measured around the room, making marks 3 and 4 feet off the ground. I used a chalk line to make straight lines at the three and 4-foot marks.
I then put painter’s tape right above the 3-foot line and just below the 4-foot line around the entire room. All of the areas above the 4-foot line were painted sky blue, and the area below the 3-foot line was painted black.
Note: You don’t have to paint the bottom half of the room black if you don’t want to. We choose black to make the rest of the world pop.
After the black and the sky blue areas dried, I then placed painter’s tape just below the 3-foot line and just above the 4-foot line. I then painted the space in between this tape brown.
Once the brown area dried, I covered all of it with painter’s tape. After covering the brown area with tape, I begin to draw out the squares for the ground bricks.
Outlining and Using the Mario Bros Wall Stencils
Using my ground brick stencil, I placed it on top of the painter’s tape and traced it around the outside. I repeated this step until I created the outline of all of the ground bricks on the tape.
Next, I started to plan where I would place all of the other elements of the world. Looking at my original picture and using the ground blocks as a guide, I started to put the elements that appeared in the sky blue area first, but you may start wherever you like.
After locating the general area for an element, I would cover that small area with painter’s tape and trace the outline of each item on the painter’s tape.
Then I cut off one part of the stencil and went around to every block where that item would be placed to trace the element’s new piece. After I updated all of the elements on the wall, I then cut out a little more of the shape and traced that part onto the proper area on the wall.
I continued with this process until I went through all of the stencils and copied them onto their proper spot on the wall. This resulted in all of the stencils being drawn on the painter’s tape.
Painting the Other Elements in Your Mario Mural
The next step is to start painting each of the elements on the wall. I picked an element and found the innermost section of the drawing. I used a razor knife to cut out this shape and remove the tape exposing the wall.
Then I painted the proper color on the newly exposed wall. Work your way around the room exposing one piece of each element at a time, and then paint it.
Warning: You will be finding bits of painter’s tape for a long time and throughout your house. It gets stuck to socks and whatnot.
Once the paint dries, you can start removing the next portion of the tape using a razor knife and start painting it. You will remove the tape and start painting from the inside out of every element until you complete all the details to finish the mural.
Final Touches to Complete Your Mario Bros Bedroom
Once the room was complete, I added some finishing touches like a Mario lamp, bedding, Mario figures, and pops of green.
We painted some old shelves and dressers the same color as the small and large bushes that are in the mural, bought green valances, and even got my son a big green fuzzy pillow (he loves soft things) so that the green would be his room’s accent color.
This whole process took about four months to do, so it is not a quick project by any means. Granted, this was painted after work and on weekends only. The result was more than worth it, though!