Banksia Grove mural project


Late last year I was asked by the City of Wanneroo to work on a mural project with primary school students.

Our task: to make murals for the Banksia Grove Community Centre, based on the theme of ‘what makes me happy’?

Here’s what we did.

First up we brainstormed all the things that made us happy. Then we started sketching our ideas into letter forms – either a H, an A, a P or a Y – and adding colour using a limited palette (more on that later).

Then I reviewed the sketches, picked my favourites and arranged them into 5 roughs, each spelling out HAPPY. Most of the designs are just as the students drew them; I adjusted a couple to change them from one letterform to another.

One of the mock-ups

The City of Wanneroo provided 20 metal panels for us to paint on; these were arranged into 5 murals made of 4 panels each. I sketched out the letter outlines onto the mural then the students sketched in their details.

Then they painted over the top.


Once each mural was done, we separated the individual panels so they could dry, then added a coat of varnish to each.


here’s a closer look at our limited palette of 5 colours (plus white). They were chosen as they’re similar to the colours of the school’s uniform and their three sport factions. (They’re also very similar to the colours of the outdoor playground near where the murals were installed).


Once everything was ready, the maintenance guys from the City of Wanneroo attached the murals to the walls at the Community Centre.


The whole process took 2 weeks (plus an extra couple of hours for the installation and launch party). It was a super fun project and the students did a fantastic job. Thanks to Lindsey and David from Neerabup PS for their support; to Hayley from Banksia Grove for all her effort, and especially to the Year 6 Neerabup Primary students for their awesome attitude, great ideas and hard work.

Author: James Foley

James makes books for courageous kids. He’s the author/illustrator of the S.Tinker Inc graphic novel series for middle primary: Brobot (2016), Dungzilla (2017) and Gastronauts (2018) star Sally Tinker, the world’s foremost inventor under the age of twelve, and Joe Tinker, her stinky baby brother. The fourth in the series, Chickensaurus, is out in late 2020. He is also the illustrator of the Toffle Towers series written by Tim Harris. James’ earlier books My Dead Bunny (2015), In The Lion (2012), The Last Viking (2011) and The Last Viking Returns (2014) have all scored several honours, including children’s choice awards, shortlistings in the Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year awards, and selection to the International Youth Library’s White Raven list. The sequel to My dead Bunny - There's Something Weird About Lena - is out in late 2020. James comes from a long line of queuing enthusiasts. Follow him on FB/twitter/insta/youtube @jamesfoleybooks, or at .

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