A Paint Line With The Muralist in Mind

Still Relevant by Ed Trask (@edtrask) courtesy of the Virginia Museum of History & Culture, Richmond, VA.

Introducing Golden Paintworks Mural Paints 

Our Art Materials Specialists receive and answer over 10,000 questions a year. One of the most asked about topics is around preparation and materials for Exterior Murals. We have always shared our best advice about how to prepare a wall properly and the optimal choices of products from our GOLDEN Acrylics line for this use. In response to your questions and the growing need for a paint line specifically for mural painting, we created and launched the Golden Paintworks Mural Paints.

While these paints work beautifully for an interior or exterior mural, we designed the line to take the guesswork out of what colors perform best in an exterior setting. Designed with large scale muralists in mind, the Mural Paints are 100% acrylic, very opaque providing good coverage, have a consistency similar to house paint, offer excellent leveling and dry to an even satin sheen. The leveling quality means even application with less visible brush strokes, but the paints work equally well roller or spray applied. All of the Mural Paints are VOC compliant with less than 50 g/l. For application guidelines follow this link: Mural Paint Information

The Mural line consists of 39 colors, with 36 of these colors designed for durability in an exterior setting. The three colors only suitable for interior use are Quinacridone Magenta, Dioxazine Purple and Ultramarine Blue. The Mural Paints are formulated with the same high quality artist grade pigments we use in our other paint lines, so the colors are strong, clean, and bright. They are lightfast, meaning they resist fading. Adding more functional solids makes this line durable in their life outside exposed to the elements. Artists who have been using house paints for their murals will notice the difference in the increased color vibrancy and workability of  the Mural Paints. These work well with a roller, but also excel with a brush. Unlike house paints, the consistency is great for blending, hard edges or minute details.

The colors in this line were carefully chosen and blends were meticulously created until we had a system of color that offers both the convenience of using directly out of the container and easily mix together to create a huge palette of colors that are beautiful and bright, no matter what the subject matter. The Mural Paints are compatible with all of the GOLDEN Acrylic paint lines and can be mixed together or applied in conjunction with each other. Be sure to only use products intended for exterior use when completing a mural intended for outdoor exposure.



Color Chart and more information can also be found here: Mural Paint Color Chart

In order to ensure the longevity of a painted mural, we recommend careful consideration of the wall on which it is being applied. Any water seeping through the wall or consistent dripping or flowing of water on a mural can cause issues. Redirect any water flow with an awning or gutter, away from the wall and fix any other damage to the wall. Removing any pre-existing coating damage, such as chipping latex paint, followed by power washing and allowing the wall to fully dry can help provide a longer lasting mural. The wall should then be primed with an appropriate commercial exterior primer for acrylics (latex); i.e. concrete and brick walls should have an exterior masonry primer applied and dried before using the Mural Paints.

After the mural has been painted and is fully cured, we recommend taking additional protective steps to ensure the mural has a long, healthy life. The protective measures can start with an optional Isolation Coat, followed by a UV Filtering Varnish. The Isolation Coat is a permanent clear glossy acrylic layer and will serve a few purposes. If there are uneven absorbencies or sheens on the surface of the mural, the Isolation Coat will even out the surface sheen to a high gloss. This allows for an easier application of the final varnish. Additionally, the Isolation Coat acts as a barrier, protecting the painting against damage if it ever becomes necessary to remove the varnish. The Isolation Coat can be applied with a brush, roller or can be sprayed.

We highly recommend applying an exterior varnish or topcoat onto the mural to protect against direct UV exposure, dust, dirt, marring and environmental conditions. Our best recommendation is our Golden Paintworks (GPW) MSA Varnish with UVLS (Ultraviolet Light Stabilizers) Mural Formula thinned with our MSA Solvent VOC Exempt Mural Formula before application. The GPW MSA Varnish Mural Formula is a removable, VOC compliant coating available in a Semi-Gloss or Satin sheen. We do not recommend matte coatings in an exterior setting because they have a much higher tendency to collect dust and dirt or get scratched.

If the mural is placed in a high traffic area and would be prone to being touched, we would instead recommend a good quality commercial exterior topcoat that has UV protection and is compatible with acrylic (latex) paints. This should ensure compatibility with the Mural Paints, but testing is always recommended. When looking for a commercial topcoat, there are a few tips that can be helpful:

  • Latex paints are usually acrylic, so anything compatible with latex paints should also be compatible with our Mural Paints or any of our GOLDEN paint lines.
  • When making sure the topcoat has UV protection, it’s best to look for words like protection or filtering. If it states on the can that it is UV resistant, this means that the film itself is resistant to degrading from UV, but does not mean that it is offering any UV protection for the paint underneath.
  • A commercial topcoat will likely be non-removable. Our MSA Varnishes are removable for conservation purposes.

If painting a smaller interior mural, creating the mural on smaller panels or sections of parachute cloth (non-woven fabric) for later installation and a quart or less of varnish is needed,  either of our GPW MSA Varnish or GOLDEN MSA Varnish formulas could be applied, as well as our GOLDEN Polymer Varnish with UVLS in Gloss or Satin could be used. The Polymer Varnish is a water borne varnish. We would still recommend a commercial topcoat if the mural was going to be touched a lot or needs to be cleaned with cleaning chemicals. We also offer a Mural Adhesive Gel for adhering parachute cloth to the wall.

GOLDEN has a rich history of relationships with individual muralists, as well as mural arts groups and festivals including Mural Arts Philadelphia, which transformed the city through a program dedicated to the belief that art ignites change and festivals including the O+ Festival, a program bringing art and music communities together with health & wellness providers to exchange art and performances for health services. Our deep connection with mural artists fostered the development of the Mural Paint line to provide muralists with the best tools to make their practice easier and successful.

We are also happy to announce that GOLDEN allocates 2% of all Mural Paints sales to support non-profit Mural Arts programs and organizations. The Mural Paints are sold directly to artists through the Golden Paintworks website and are sold by the gallon with a minimum order of 4 gallons. For pricing and purchasing information, please fill out the Mural Paint Request Form: Mural Paint Request Form  or email

For more information our Golden Paintworks Mural Resources can be found here: Golden Paintworks Resources or email us at

GOLDEN Paintworks also provides decorative Specialty Paints, Textures, Mediums, Glazes, Topcoats and Theme Paints. For the full product line, please visit

Find us on Social Media:

Instagram Handle: @gpwmuralpaints


6 Responses to A Paint Line With The Muralist in Mind

  1. Richard Phipps September 15, 2019 at 3:44 pm #

    Can I please ask what the issues are with using PR122 (Quinacridone Magenta) outside? There is nothing I can see on your normal acrylic ranges for this pigment warning of any issues.

    • Stacy Brock September 16, 2019 at 5:31 pm #

      Thank you for your question Richard. While Quinacridone Magenta has a Lightfastness rating of I, this is based on an ASTM interior museum lighting guideline. An exterior setting has a higher and more concentrated light intensity and environmental factors and in our testing, we have seen tints made with this color change faster than we are comfortable recommending for use outside.

      We hope this is helpful and if you have any other questions, feel free to email us at

  2. Richard Phipps September 17, 2019 at 10:53 am #

    Thanks Stacey, that’s interesting. I see you have pure Quinacridone Violet (PV19 – the dark shade version) in there, and you didn’t see any issues with that outside?

    • Stacy Brock September 17, 2019 at 12:57 pm #

      Hi Richard, the Mural Paint Quinacridone Violet did well in our Lightfast testing.

  3. Meredith Feniak September 18, 2019 at 7:08 pm #

    Please tell me more about:
    We also offer a Mural Adhesive Gel for adhering parachute cloth to the wall.
    I adhere fabrics to walls for street art/mural commissions and I’ve never heard of this – please explain this technique further. Is this a common practice for muralists? What are they doing?

    Also, will you please consider selling a sample set of these paints for muralists to try?


    • Stacy Brock September 19, 2019 at 4:46 pm #

      Hi Meredith,

      The Mural Adhesive Gel is a heavy acrylic gel that can adhere elements that are compatible with acrylics. Polytab fabric is used for exterior murals because after proper priming, usually holds up well in an exterior setting and the painting can be done offsite to be installed later. This gives the freedom to work on exterior murals in all seasons. We do not recommend canvas or cotton fabric in an exterior setting, as it will not hold up to the elements. If you would like more information or to inquire about samples, please feel free to give us a call at 800-959-6543 and ask to speak with someone in our Golden Paintworks division.

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