There are several techniques for covering walls with decorative painting. Fresco, the practice of applying pigment directly into wet plaster, is the best known. Other techniques include painting onto dry plaster, or onto boards, panels or stretched canvasses then mounting these on the wall.

Michael Alford uses a technique known as marouflage for large mural projects.

In marouflage, the painting is done on canvas then stuck to the wall with adhesive. This method takes painstaking preparation and pinpoint accuracy in measuring and design. Yet it has many advantages. The bulk of the messy work can be completed off-site, murals can be prepared for rooms still under construction and the mural can be installed quickly, transforming a room in hours. In this photo essay, Michael shows how it’s done.


michael alford in the studio with palette

The mural begins as canvas attached to the wall of the studio. Tradiational preparation techniques and high-pigment paints result in a robust mural that will last a lifetime.


michael alford preparing a wall for a mural

The dining room walls are stripped in preparation, carefully filled, skimmed and sanded to provide a smooth surface for the mural.

mural on a spindle

The completed canvas mural is rolled on a splindle in the studio and transported to the work site. On walls prepared with strong adhesive, the mural is unrolled in situ.

finishing the mural

The canvas is trimmed and smoothed for a perfect fit. Eyston installation squareOnce installed, the mural looks as though it’s always been there.