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Project Information

I am our small town's (Fairbury, Illinois, pop. 3,800) historian, and lead our community improvement group. We wanted to make local history "come alive" by displaying murals of famous people or events.

We got the front of a storage building on Main Street painted with white and grey trim. This building front can hold 4 murals, each about 91×42 inches.

I make the frames using pressure-treated deck boards. I plane the 1" thick deck boards down to 3/4" thickness, then run them through the router table to give them an 1/8×1" groove in the back for the mural. I paint them with white Zinsser primer, then give them a couple coats of exterior grey latex. The corners are held together with Kreg pocket screws. The frames will bow and twist, but since I am screwing them to a nice flat existing plywood board, they should stay in place after installed. I rip a standard deck board in half, which gives a frame thickness of about 2-5/8". Lowe's has a Select grade of deck boards, where you pay a little more, but they have almost no knots in them, which is ideal for making a frame.

A local firm has a 52" wide printer and prints a decal. They then apply it to an 1/8" thick piece of aluminum. Their main business is making big decals for 18-wheelers, but the same idea works for making signs. The firm duct tapes the mural into my slot in the back, which keeps it secure until I attach it to the building. Our local non-profit picks up the expense of having the murals printed.

We have found both local citizens and visitors like the murals.