Can standard gesso work as a primer for a wall mural on top of standard house/wall paint?





I’m going to be doing some mural work and wondered if white gesso would work for a first layer before my actual design. I’m primarily concerned about its permanence on top of standard interior house paint; I don’t want it to start cracking and peeling off because it can’t adhere well.

If gesso wouldn’t work, than what do mural-painters do for this type of situation? I want to cover any color that may be on the wall, smooth it out, and provide a good primer for my next layer of acrylic or oil artists’ paint.

Thank you for your help and suggestions.
Add’l info: This is for an interior wall, but I have not seen it yet (friend of friend’s house) so do not know the type of paint already on it.

6 Responses to “Can standard gesso work as a primer for a wall mural on top of standard house/wall paint?”

  • mixemup:

    Gesso is for canvas, I would try a regular latex wall primer. First even out the wall by using Spackle, then prime, then paint.

  • Jonny Propaganda:

    i guess that would depend on what the wall is painted with, if the wall is an enamel or oil you might need to remove it for gesso to stick… though if this were the case you would just need a white oil primer… which might be your best bet regardless…

    if the wall is acrylic, gesso might work… but if i were painting a wall, i would use a standard primer probably oil….

    dunno if that helped…

  • jhs80123:

    I agree with the answer before- use someting suited for walls. Do you know it there is latex or oil paint on the wall? Waterbased anything dosen’t like to be on top of oil

  • delldrevil:

    You should probably concern yourself with what kind of paint the house paint is. If its water-based, you should find that your primer layers will adhere just fine. Where-as oil based paint can cause all sorts of problems, including peeling, flaking, and rippling.

    Also, is the mural for an interior or exterior? Because again, the types of chemicals in the paints for exterior and interior paints vary greatly.

    If the mural is going to cover considerable square footage, I’d consider stripping the paint from the work area to be sure, or if you have the time, prepping the area with some 4 x 6 sheets of plasterboard/sheetrock, and then plastering over to prepare the optimum working surface. The gesso should bond very nicely to either the bare wall, or the prepared sheetrock/plaster surface… Admittedly, if you’re using the sheetrock/plaster surface, you shouldn’t need the gesso at all … Gone are the days of painting frescos on wet plaster I’m afraid…

    Good luck.

  • Veronica:

    Well, gesso is just a primer, and I’ve used interior latex paint as a primer before. If you’re using acrylics for the mural make sure it’s water-based latex and you’ll be fine (though you might want to spackle and re-paint if the wall is textured at all). If you’re using oil paints (not likely) they’ll stick to anything clean. Good luck!

  • joyfulpaints:

    Yes indeed you can paint acrylic over oil or alkyd house paint – but only with proper preparation. I wouldn’t use gesso under any circumstances – over oil/alkyd it won’t stick at all, over matte latex it’s unnecessary.

    Regardless of what paint you decide to use for the mural, if the existing surface is oil or alkyd, you’ll have to either sand the surface lightly to give it some “tooth” or pick up a “dulling solvent” (I’ve seen it advertised but don’t know a name, check the hardware store).

    Still, if you want to avoid any problems, why not just use Alkyd-based oil paints, or oils with a fast-drying alkyd medium? They dry tacky within a few hours, and will paint over either oil, alkyd or acrylic house paint.

    Have fun!

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