To make this Nativity backdrop, I used a queen-sized, navy blue sheet as the canvas. I chose this colour so that I wouldn’t have to paint the entire sheet and still have a beautiful colour for the silent night sky.
First, wash and dry the sheet. It’s probably also best to iron it, although I didn’t go that far.
To start your design, find an image that you like that you can appropriate. I chose a Nativity icon I found here.
It’s best to sketch out your design in a rectangle with the same proportions as the sheet you’ll be painting on. Divide the drawing with a grid so that it’s easier to upscale your design onto the sheet.
When you’re ready, stretch your sheet out on the floor and pin the corners down. I used tables as they were heavy enough and available.
Using chalk, mark out the grid intervals on the edges of the sheet, but don’t draw lines across the sheet.
Use a tape measure in place of a grid line if you want to measure the relative position of an element.
Draw out your scene in chalk.
Once you have your scene sketched, start painting. Start with white paint in any areas you wish to be bright (like the stars). I thought I would need to do this under the leaves etc as well, but as I ran out of good quality white paint, and the paint the Sunday school had was watery, I had to go with straight colour, which came out quite nicely anyway.
Don’t be afraid to mix colours and see what works. If you need some advice on painting, check out Mural Joe on Youtube.