Painting a ceiling, especially a ceiling mural can be a pain in the neck. Since I just completed six months of fairly intensive chiropractic visits to take the kinks out of my neck, I wasn’t anxious to undo all that good work. So, when I was contacted to paint a ‘pretty, cloudy sky’ on a ceiling I suggested that I paint it on canvas and install it like wallpaper.
I assured the designer and homeowner that they would receive a superior product for no additional money and very soon I was ordering 63inch wide, eighteen foot long rolls of canvas. My client, in a flurry of indecision bought six or seven sample cans of various shades of blue paint trying to find the perfect shade for her dining room walls. These little cans became the base shades for the sky.
My plan was to paint the mural in two pieces that would be fit together on the ceiling. I tacked up fourteen feet of canvas in my studio and went to work. I was careful to keep track of my shade variations along the seam line to avoid needing too much touch up after it was installed.
After completing the second canvas we were ready for the big moment. I met the team of paper hangers at the clients home and with just a little direction about how I wanted the canvases to come together they took over the measuring and planning from there.
The paper hangers were wonderful and I wouldn’t trade jobs with them for all the tea in China. Unfortunately in spite of all the care they took, due to the thickness of the canvas the seam was very visible. Also the canvas torqued a bit causing it to shift towards the center line. Fortunately there was still just enough canvas on the outer edges to keep us from having a gap. But it threw all of my careful color matching off. So much for my brilliant planning. I would have to touch up thirteen feet down the center line. Oh well, not the end of the world, and it would probably only take a couple of hours. The real problem was that pesky seam.
We decided to mix up some joint compound with some blue paint and carefully cover the seam. To keep from creating more edges we took a wet sponge to the outer edges of the ‘mud’ smoothing it out. I used a hair dryer to speed the drying time of the joint compound.
Success! The joint compound completely leveled out the seam and created a beautiful seamless mural . We paused to do a little dance of joy before I tackled the color matching.
While I did have to spend some time with my neck craned up, it can’t compare to the pain involved in painting an entire ceiling. I’m happy, the paper hanger is happy and the client is thrilled. A good day. Have you ever run into a similar problem with an unsightly seam? How did you solve it?