The first time one of my sons mentioned a Fathead, he’d just returned from an overnight stay at a friend’s house. I immediately thought he was using the term as an insult. I’d never heard of the popular murals and listened as he described the one in his friend’s bedroom. Because it was time to covert his little brother’s room from a nursery to something more age-appropriate, the concept grabbed my interest.
My husband and I talked it over and after some online research, sat down with our sons to talk themes for their new bedrooms. Our younger son wanted dinosaurs, like his brother. But his brother was all too happy to hand the dinosaurs over in favor of a popular superhero character. We easily found murals that suited both their tastes, and pleased that it didn’t wipe out our entire budget.
With the children visiting their grandparents for the weekend, my husband and I rolled up our sleeves and dove into the project. Installing the first mural was a real mess. My husband’s failure to read through the instructions and my lack of patience were a terrible combination. At one point, I felt like Donkey from Shrek when he said, “I just know, before this is over, I'm gonna need a whole lot of serious therapy. Look at my eye twitchin'!” Fortunately, we found a way to work together and once we accomplished installing the first one, the other murals were easy in comparison.
When the boys arrived home their excitement was something akin to Christmas morning, which made the project well worth the frustration. A couple of years went by and the boys’ tastes changed again. Instead of redecorating their entire room, we just had to order some new murals. Using our first attempt as a learning experience, each installation process since has been easier than the time before. Here is the advice we offer to friends and family members who ask how to apply a Fathead wall mural to a wall inside their own home.
Select the Location
This step is the most important part of applying the decals to your wall. Fathead wall murals adhere best to smooth, clean, indoor surfaces. Recommended surfaces include painted drywall, glass, metal, and smooth, untreated wood surfaces. Even if they’re smooth, not all walls are appropriate for a Fathead wall mural. For instance, wait 30 days after painting a wall before installing a Fathead mural to avoid damaging either the decal or the wall itself.
When selecting a location, avoid walls with textured painting techniques or wallpaper treatments. Bricks, cinderblocks, and other porous surfaces make poor choices for Fathead murals. The adhesion just doesn’t work as well. Additionally, you should avoid applying murals and decals to unpainted drywall, textured paneling, and outside locations.
Measure Twice, Apply Once
One of the biggest mistakes people make in applying a Fathead wall mural is that they forget to measure the size of the wall before ordering. This isn’t a time to eyeball or guesstimate a measurement. Using a tape measure, calculate both the height and width of your wall. Keep these measurements handy as you’ll need to refer to them when ordering your mural. While murals that are too large can be cut down, ones that aren’t large enough can fade into the background depending on the other elements in the room décor.
Clean the Surface
Using a clean cloth dampened with warm water, wipe down the wall at least four hours before you plan to apply your mural. Avoid using any kind of cleaning products when washing down the wall, as it will impede the mural from adhering. Any dampness on the wall could also cause your mural to fall at some later time. In a child’s room, this kind of occurrence could incite acts of mischief.
Call in Reinforcements
This doesn’t mean reinforcements to help your wall mural stick. Applying a wall mural is a two-person job. Even if are certain that you can handle the job yourself, it’s better to have assistance on hand and not need it, than to find out you need help in the middle of installing the mural. If you and your house are like my husband and me, you might find that it tests your patience less to call in a family member or friend to help with the installation process.
It’s Installation Time
Slowly and carefully peel the backing from the Fathead starting at the top and working your way down. Having an assistant handy is invaluable at this stage of installing your new wall mural or decals. Then, starting with the corner of the wall, slowly smooth the rest of the mural into place using minimal pressure. Using minimal pressure allows you to correct mistakes by repositioning into just the right place on the wall.
Once your Fathead is where you want it, use the yellow plastic squeegee that comes with the mural to squeeze out any wrinkled or bubbled spots. I found it best to start at the middle of my Fathead mural and squeegee towards the edges when removing the unwanted air pockets. As suggested in the instructions, I rolled up the backing and kept it in case I ever wanted to move the mural to another room in my family’s home.
About the Author
Becky James-Muth, a freelance author, wife, and mom of two children, enjoys decorating the inside her home as well as tending the flower gardens landscaped across her expansive backyard. Her most recent writing project includes a series of articles about how to use elements such as Disney princess wall murals and Cars themed wallpaper treatments when decorating a child’s bedroom. Becky spends her free time playing chess, hiking, and dabbling in photography.