want to temporarily decorate a big white wall? consider a tape mural! here’s a map of the dc metro system that i made out of electrical tape, painter’s tape, and paint chips on the wall of my dorm room last year.
i had a pretty narrow room and i knew that the way i wanted to arrange my furniture would leave a huge portion of one wall empty. the policies of my res hall said i couldn’t cover more than 25% of my wall because of fire safety, and i had to be careful not to use materials that would damage the paint. i love transit maps, and dc, aside from being one of my favorite cities, had the benefit of an approximately square map with a good assortment of line colors.
i found an official map online, put it into paint, and added a 6x6 grid. i decided not to use the silver line because it wasn’t in service and because i didn’t want to find silver electrical tape. i also decided not to mark and label the stops because i liked it better without the extra marks and my handwriting. i used some painter’s tape to put a six foot grid on my wall, and marked the lines in the appropriate colors.
that was the easiest part, although adding the dashed lines for rush was a little more time consuming. the hard part was adding the water: i had various shades of blue paint chips that i cut into approximate squares. using masking tape, i added the outline of the rivers to the wall, and filled it in using painter’s tape to attach the paint chip tiles. i cut them down in some areas to make diagonal lines. this part was tedious and took the most time.
i was pleasantly surprised by how well this held up—these pictures are from the end of the year, months after i’d finished. as you might be able to see in the pictures, some parts of the water would come loose because painter’s tape doesn’t always stick for that long, and i found out that it was better not to stretch the electrical tape too far so it wouldn’t slowly creep back (like the bend in the orange line between mcpherson square and metro center). it’s also very important to be very careful when you remove the electrical tape—for the most part it left the paint alone, but a tiny bit flaked off when i tore it a little too quickly.
it was an easy and inexpensive way to take up a lot of wall space and to put my temporary spin on my room.