It helps to have a group of people working together. You will want to have volunteers to help create the murals as well as pairs of friends to be on the wall.
Locate a wall on which to paint your mural. The more prominent and likely to be seen by many people, the better. It is best if the wall is as smooth as possible so your paint can be applied easily.
Gather supplies listed below. Prepare your wall by making sure it is free of any peeling paint and is sealed with a solid coat of any color paint you choose. This and lettering (next) can be done ahead of time.
Tape your letter stencils together, ("Amigos Sin Muros" in Mexico and "No Wall Between Friends" in the US) then tape them to the wall centered high enough so that there is room for your people below. Use a long level to make sure they are straight. Stencil in letters with a color that contrasts with your wall surface. (See stenciling instructions below.) Also paint or stencil on the website address "nowallsbetweenfriends.com" so viewers will be able to find your stories.
Select a day when most people are free to work and to watch. Alert media ahead of time with a press release and call any contacts you have. Inform your local politicians so that they can participate, if they wish. If it is in a public area, follow local laws regarding gathering a group together do a project and get prior support. Arrange for bathroom facilities, if not already available.
You will need someone to:
1) Oversee the whole event and interact with media;
2) Position friends on the wall and assign a volunteer to each pair to trace and assist with painting;
3) Organize paint, including mixing colors and determining which colors will go on which sillhouette;
4) Clean, keep track of and give out brushes and tracing materials;
5) Manage the story area;
6) Keep track of and bring all supplies to and from the site.
Before you begin, gather everyone together to briefly introduce the key helpers and review the plan. (Hint: Have name tags for all key volunteers.) Space out your pairs (or groups) of friends along the wall. Have them each stand on a riser (we used half-blocks) in order to raise them up a bit or theif silhouettes will look like they are sinking into the ground.
Take photos of each pair posing in order to check for accuracy before and while you paint.
Have each volunteer who is assigned to a pair trace around them with colored chalk. (Do not use markers anywhere on the wall.) Taping the chalk securely to a wooden dowel will lengthen it enough to give you a more accurate trace. Use both hands to steady it. (Practice a few days beforehand.) After the tracing is done, the pair should step back and the silhouettes can be refined to look correct from afar. Use the photos to check accuracy.
Decide which colors will be used on each silhouette. The decision should be based on balance of color across the wall so that colors are placed evenly. If you are really organized, you will even have determined this all ahead of time! With volunteer guidance, friends can paint in their own silhouette. Use large brushes to fill in the center and smaller brushes at the edges to assure good detail.
When the paint is dry, stencil on the country of each friend in a contrasting color. Under the country name have each person write their own name in pencil or chalk (first name only, if they prefer). Follow that by using a small brush to trace their signature with paint. (Again, do not use any markers on the wall.)
While you are waiting for the paint to dry, those who have not yet submitted or told their friendship story can do so at a nearby table you can set up with paper and pencil, digital notebooks and volunteers who can help them get started.
Consider having a party a few days earlier in order to allow everyone to tell their stories beforehand. The stories are very important and once the painting is over, people tend to forget to write their stories, no matter how much they are reminded. We recommend getting the stories before or during the painting event.
Get together with some friends and paint whatever you want to for Amigos Sin Muros.
Use water-based paint, preferably flat. First, ask for donations of extra paint that has been set aside in storage. This will serve to recycle and save money. We have been very successful at finding paint through donations.
A note on colors: of course donated paint might be any color. When buying paint, get the following: bright red, bright medium blue and bright yellow. Also get a large can of white. You can use these straight, as well as mix them to create more colors. See Color Wheel below for more information.
You should have at least 2 ladders when putting up the letters and may also want some for the day you do the silhouettes, just in case.
100 ft measuring tape ...
Trash container ...
Traffic cones, if needed for security...
Masking and duct tape...
Cleaning spray to remove marks...
Water for cleaning brushes...
Rags or paper towels...
Extra containers for mixing and handing out paint and cleaning brushes...
Tables and chairs for story telling...
Tables for supplies.
~2 inch brushes
~1 inch brushes
~small artist brushes
Plenty of brushes that are 2 inches wide or even more will be useful for painting in the center portion of the tracings. You will also want 1 inch angled brushes to use as you get toward the edges to give you more control. Also make sure you have some smaller artist brushes to use to paint on the signature and to fine tune details on the sillhouettes
~Drinks and snacks: see if you can get them donated
~Promotional materials: print out bumper stickers and t-shirts
Use the color wheel above as a guide for mixing colors. Primary colors (1's) are used together to create what are called Secondary colors (2's). Colors which are directly across from each other on the wheel are Complementary colors. When these colors are used beside each other they will appear to be very bright. If they are mixed together as paint, they will result in a muddy color. If you want to make a color less bright, add a little bit of its complementary color.
Red & Blue Make Purple
Blue & Yellow make Green
White, Red & Yellow make a light Orange
White & Red Make Pink.
White and Blue make a light blue.
You can buy an official stencil brush or cut a regular or foam brush to make one. To cut a regular brush, take a nice, full 1 or one-half inch brush and evenly cut down the bristles to about 3/4 inch long. It should be stiff, not at all floppy. If using a foam brush, cut it so the foam is shorter and flat on the bottom, not angled.
You will use the resulting brush in a echnique called stipling. For this you will use a tube of artist's acrylic paint as you want the paint to be thick, not watery like wall paint. Squeeze out some paint onto a nonporous surface such as a plate. Dip your bristles or foam in the paint and tap off any extra paint. You will want it to be covered but with a very thin layer. Now, tap your brush against a piece of paper. It should make a mark, but not be wet. If wet, keep tapping it until it is drier.
Hold the edges of the stencil and tap the whole end (not the side) of the brush in the open area, re-loading your brush with paint when it gets too faint. You will need to go over the area more than once. It should not cover in the first pass, but should build up gradually. It is this that allows a crisp edge on your letters without flowing outside the lines. Do not take the stencil off until the paint is thoroughly dry.
We are volunteers who are dedicated to helping you to create a mural in your community. Please don't hesitate to contact us. We hope these will spread all over Mexico and the USA.
Congratulate yourselves for participating in making a positive and beautiful statement...
about friendship and...
...telling the world that friendship and unity is not just a luxury, but a key to survival.