Painting Garden Shed Scenes

If you want to liven up the exterior of your garden shed, you have to let your inner artist loose. There are a number of ways to make those old wooden panels more attractive, including, for example, using stencils to create a border or trim (around the bottom of top of the walls, or even around the middle of the shed). You could also really take a risk and decide to paint your own "scene" or mural to decorate part of the shed wall, or even the whole side of the structure.

Depending on your priorities, or your "target audience" for your masterpiece, the important thing may be to try and make the whole effect tasteful, even fashionable. Having said that, garden sheds are usually located in the back anyway and are therefore not that visible to the street, so if your kids want the whole thing covered in bunny rabbits and butterflies, and you're ok with that, then why not?


There's no point in getting artistic on a wood surface that's old and grotty, so if your shed needs an all-over paint job before you create your picture, then that's what you'll have to do. It's this part of the job that may sap your energy away, but fight through it, and you'll soon get to the fun part.

You'll have to start by cleaning the whole thing. Dust, spider webs, wood splinters, dirt and mold, it all has to go. You'll also need to sandpaper the whole area, and make sure you use a good quality wood treatment solution and a primer before you begin painting. See our section on Garden Shed Color for more details.

Remember that when choosing an all-over paint color for your shed, you should go for a good quality exterior paint. Then think of about which color will complement the shed's surroundings - the garden, the house, etc. - and which color will look best as a background to your scene or mural. It's a good idea to sketch and plan a color scheme for your picture before you buy the exterior paint for the shed.

Planning Your Picture

You'll need a pencil, an eraser and a sheet of paper that's preferably as large as you want your shed picture to be, but if you're a more confident artist, this may not be necessary. If this is your first project of this kind, the trick is to keep it very simple. Draw the outline of the figures and objects to appear in your picture, and designate a color for each one before you begin painting.

Let The Fun Begin

It's now time to transfer your picture to your shed wall. Using your pencil, divide your picture up into manageable sections (this could be thirds, quarters or sixths, depending on the size and complexity of your drawing). Measure out the required area on your shed surface and mark it with a grease pencil (works well on painted wood). Using the same grease pencil, recreate the entire image on the shed wall. You're now ready to paint. Just complete the drawing by filling out the area with the desired colors, following your planned color scheme carefully.

When going to the store to buy your paints for this part of the project, you'll need to know before you get there how many colors you're going to use. Acrylic paints are one option, but enamel paints will last longer on an outdoor surface. Don't forget that this is not a straight forward paint job - you may need many brushes of different sizes, including some small ones to help you paint along the outer lines of your sketch. Remember to clean your brushes with paint thinner when you've finished, or else the paint will harden on them and you'll never be able to use them again.