Mural Painting In Your Home | Cherie Burbach | Skillshare

Mural Painting In Your Home

Cherie Burbach, Artist, Writer, Poet

Mural Painting In Your Home

Cherie Burbach, Artist, Writer, Poet

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11 Lessons (37m)
    • 1. Mural Painting In Your Home

    • 2. Plan Out Your Time Wisely

    • 3. Supplies

    • 4. Prep & Planning

    • 5. Prep Choosing Paints and Primer

    • 6. Painting the mural

    • 7. Painting Color Blocking and Line Work

    • 8. Floor Painting

    • 9. Logistics of Mural Painting

    • 10. What if you hate your mural

    • 11. Final Thoughts

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About This Class

Join artist Cherie Burbach as she discusses mural painting in your home. Cherie has painted many murals over the last twenty years, and every time she posts about her latest mural, she receives questions from people on how to do it. This class originated from the many questions and comments she has received from people looking to add this kind of personal touch to their homes. She’ll cover paint to use, how to prep the surface, how to plan out your mural, and logistics you need to know before you even begin. 


Mural painting is unlike other types of large scale painting because it is done on nontraditional surfaces and in areas of your home that you have to use (like doors, floors, and closets). In this class, she’ll talk about painting on these areas in order to provide a unique, graphical, element to your home.

Meet Your Teacher

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Cherie Burbach

Artist, Writer, Poet


I’ve been an artist and writer since I was very young. Words and images have always been linked for me when it comes to expression and creativity.

I like to paint with vibrant colors that offer a positive, hopeful message. Sometimes this is done with whimsical animals, girls, or flowers and other times it combines words and poetry. For me, art is all about emotion.

I enjoy mixed media because it makes painting a new journey, one that is about uncovering the image I want to convey as much as it is creating it. Adding layers of paper and paint and words is a bridge between my art and writing, creating visual poetry that honors creativity in a new way.

I use ephemera along with acrylic paints, oil sticks, pastels, and ink. Very often words combine with the art in... See full profile

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1. Mural Painting In Your Home: Hey, guys, I'm mixed media artist Sherry Burbach. Welcome to this course about painting murals in your home. Um, and I'm really focused the lessons on things in your home as opposed to a building or outside. I get a lot of questions whenever I do a mural project, and I've done several over the last 20 or 30 years. Whenever I post about this, I get a lot of questions about what type of paint to use, how to go about it, the supplies and the technique and all of that stuff. So I'm gonna cover that in this class. I think the reason we're so interested in painting murals in our house is really paint is such an inexpensive way to transform a space. And we have these ideas about making our home something that we really love and adding personal touches to to your home and murals are a great way to do that. And the best of all, you don't need ah lot of artistic skills to do this. You know, there's a lot of different ways to paint murals. I'm gonna talk about some of those now, share the supplies that have done, and I'm gonna talk about doing murals on places like closet doors. You know, those brown, uh, got closet doors that are bi fold things like that on walls, Of course. And even on your floor, Yes. You can paint your four eso join me for this class, and we'll talk about transforming your house space with a mural. 2. Plan Out Your Time Wisely: before we talk about paint and technique and all that. I want to talk about planning because planning can really save you a lot of time and money in the long run. First of all, it's a great idea to sketch out your design. I mean, you might have an idea in your head about what you want to paint on your wall, but take a piece of paper and sketch it out. It's. This is especially true if your wall is an odd size. If you're doing it on closet doors, for example, and you've got the folding parts of the doors or handles, be sure to put those in. All of those little details really do help when it comes to painting your mural. Also, when you're planning it out, be sure to write a guide for what types of colors you want to dio can help. You want to go to the paint store or, you know if you're gonna use your craft or acrylic paints because you can do that. I'll talk about that, but you will help you with planning and all that and help you buying paint so it helps you in the long run. If you've never painted a mural before or painted something really large, um, the grid method might help you. It's not one that I've used myself, but it can help you keep the perspective. And the grid method is just something that you sketch out your design and you write an equal number of boxes and then you sketch your design. And then when you're painting, you measure out the actual boxes on your space, and then it helps you know that in this box I need this much of a flower or this much of an animal or whatever your design is. So the grid method can help you with that. It can help you with perspective and positioning on. This is you know, if you're new to it, you've never done it before. One final thing to really think about is time. This is one thing I find people do over and over as they don't plan enough time. They have an idea for a mural, and they're gonna take a weekend and do it. And then something happens because painting on ah wall is very different sometimes than painting on a canvas, you know, the temperature can be different in your paint doesn't dry as quickly. You're going to get tired. Um, this is something that you might not think about because even if you're in great shape the way that you're moving your body and lifting and reaching for a long time to paint, that can be hard on your body in your back and all of that kind of stuff. Your paint in low areas for a long time. You're painting of high for a while. You're standing on a ladder, that type of thing. And so you want to give it enough time so that your body can rest. You can, you know, do the top parts of the mural take a break, do the bottom parts, etcetera. It seems like common sense. But I can't tell you how many people don't plan this step and then get frustrated. Also, don't try to rush it too much, Really. Give it the time so that your what happens is you're not like hurrying to get this done. Mural painting is different in the respect that you know, you have a space in your home that is gonna be taken up by paint supplies and ladders and drop cloths and things like that. And you might look at this and think, I just want to get it done and you're gonna work extra hard. But the problem is, you might make mistakes then and, you know, so you have to really take the time to really think about it and make sure that you have enough time to get everything completed. Be good to yourself while you're painting a mural. Take the time to stretch. Take a break if you need it. Um, these things can really help you in the long run, because when you're tired or when you're aggravated that it's not going as fast. It really does your affect your painting, so you want to enjoy it, and the way they do that is to pace yourself and allow enough time for everything. 3. Supplies: let's talk about supplies needed to paint a mural. The great part is you don't need a lot of expensive supplies. People are often surprised, for example, and I'm going to talk more about this. But when you're buying paint, you can buy the smaller sample jars in different colors, and it's only like three bucks jar. And it really saves you a lot of money in the long run, because those jars go very far and on a mural they worked perfectly. So I'm gonna talk a little bit later about the types of paint and primer that I use. But you definitely want to get a primer, because what she want to do is make sure that your mural is gonna go on a surface that will accept the paint. So depending on what you're painting on, a primer is a really great idea. I have found that it allows you then to use inexpensive paint on things like closet doors. You know you can paint and get the primer on there, and it really prepares surface well, because then that would doesn't have Teoh except the paint straight on. Instead, you have that layer of primer, so we'll talk about more about the types but Peyton Primer. Start thinking about that. That's a key supply that she will need. You'll need some brushes. Obviously, I find that rollers work really well for the base of the primer. So ah, large roller or sometimes a smaller roller can help to, depending on what type of spot you're working in. I like to use brushes in a variety of sizes, namely a smaller one, like a small round brush to do the detail work I like using a flat filbert type of brush that's a brush with a flat kind of rounded head works really nicely when you're doing a mural, and it's helpful to have a paint brush that allows you to cut in. You are still painting a wall or a door or something like that, and you do need some type of brush that will allow you to cut in. It's great if you can use a roller to get that base coat down, though a drop cloth of some sort is always helpful. I have an actual drop cloth that you can get at the hardware store, and it's not very expensive and you know you can leave it out, and the paint does not soak through your floor than the drop cloth is formulated to catch that paint. But you could use garbage bags or an old sheet or something like that. You just protect your floor, you'd be surprised. And the number of drips that can happen when you're painting a mural an optional supply might be fans is especially true if you are working in an area that you really want to get done quickly because let's say it's a bedroom or something like that, so you don't want to smell like pain for a really long time. You want that to dry. Fans can really help speed along that process. Paper towels get more than you think. You'll need paper towels to catch any drips or any mistakes. Paper towels Air helpful for putting down brushes and cleaning them. And um, really keeping you on track A step ladder can really be helpful when it comes to doing the higher painting type of areas, so make sure you have one of that and also a bench that you can sit sit down in order to do the lower parts. If you're really great at, you know, stooping it for a really long time and painting. That way you can do that as well. One final option that I get asked a lot is what you finish the mural with. So a supply might be a mat type of varnish. This is especially true if you're in a really high traffic area with kids that you want to keep clean. I'm gonna talk about the paint that I use, though, um, that I use in order to keep everything clean, I don't use a vine of varnish coat. I've never done that because I have found personally that I haven't needed it. Now, some people I know insist on that because it really helps with cleanup. But I'm gonna tell you the paint that I use and you can decide that for yourself. But it's something to keep in mind. 4. Prep & Planning: next start thinking about prepping the surface of your Merc mural, you might be working out an area where the wall has recently been painted in. It's a color the background that you likes. You just gonna go right ahead and put the mural on there. That's fine. Ah, lot of times in our homes we have different things going on that don't allow that type of thing. So prepping becomes really important. If you're painting a floor, for example, you want to put a primer down on DNA floor paint because you really want that mural to stay down on the floor. You don't all your hard work to come up. Um, if you have a wall that has been painted with an oil based paint, for example, it's probably not gonna accept acrylics or other types of paint well, so using a painting primer would help over that, and you might need a couple coats, the number of coats. People ask me this all the time. I tend to Onley use one coat. I buy a painting primer, which I'll mention the type in a second, but I use generally one coat because then the mural goes over the rest of it, and I'm rough, not really fussy about, like, say, if I do a closet door and it shows just a little bit of you know the wood grain through their I'm perfectly fine with that. If you want to cover it up, you might want to do two coats or in certain areas of your mural. You might want to do two coats, for example, the edges, which maybe aren't going to get as much of your mural design as the center. So it's something to think about. Another thing to consider is how dry your wall is. Meaning will it, except the paint. It hasn't been painted in a while. You might need a primer quote just to have that wall prepped and ready for the mural paint . You won't if you have a wall that hasn't been painted in a while. What will happen is that it will be really dry, and then when you try and paint your mural right over it, it'll suck in the paint. It won't won't go on in a smooth texture. You'll use mawr of the mural paint, which is actually more expensive than if you're using paint primer. So primer is your best friend and use it if you need to really give your while a test, you know if it feels really dry and you know it hasn't been painted. And while you might need to put a base coat on there, a lot of times I paint murals on things like doors or, you know, closet doors and things like that, which means I'm painting on wood, so I definitely need to prep them surfaces. And for this I use Dutch Boy Platinum. Plus, I'm not affiliated with them at all. It's just what I use. And it is a paint and primer together, and I have found that one cold or maybe 1.5 work well. And when I say 1.5, what I mean is I'm painting the entire surface and then I'll go over maybe the edges of my closet door, cause I know my mural design isn't gonna go over those pieces. Um, I have found that one coat on a wood door that's never been painted usually works really well. That's my personal experience, and I always go with paint and primer because it really does save a step. You can also get your paint and primer tinted. So if you have a background color in mind, you know, get that tinted at the hardware store to the color that you want, it'll save you a lot of time. 5. Prep Choosing Paints and Primer: I personally choose paints based on this is for primer now, and she's paints based on if it's a stain blocker or has some stain resistant qualities in it. If I can do save a step like doing painted primer together, if it's something that will save me time in the long run, I choose that type of paint, and I really look for paint that adheres to most surfaces. Um, now you might be just doing a wall, so maybe that's not important. Uh, you know, piece of the prep for you, but, um, I find that a lot of people want to do once they do one year only want to do another one, and if you have a big gallon of paint primary, you can use it usually for multiple murals I've used. I bought one, and it tends to go pretty far, and so if you have a wall, you might be able to do a door or two. And so then, if you buy paint and primer that goes over most surfaces, it will save you the cost of having to buy paint just for walls or just for wood or something like that. One thing I get asked a lot is should use mural paint. And And when I say that there are paint products that are labelled mural paint, you can find them at art stores on and even the hardware store. I have found personally that they're a little bit expensive, and I haven't used them. So I find that house paints regular house paint that you put on your walls. Works best. And I also used in conjunction with house paint craft paint. And I mean the stuff that you get in the little tubes at the big box stores or even the dollar store if you're surface is prepped. Well, craft paint works really well in states. I've painted murals on really high traffic areas like, you know, closet doors that were in and out of several times a day, and it doesn't get rector come up. And so for me, if the surface is, perhaps I can use craft paint or acrylic paint works well to the consistency you want. If you're using acrylic painted, you want to give it just a little bit of water because you wanted to flow, especially resume outlining. You wanted to flow well so that's not the only caveat and using that type of paint, but you can add just just a little bit. If you put your pain on it runs down your door, then you put too much water in there. So really, the reason I say water is because of your using acrylic paint, which does work well. Just make sure you water just a little bit so that the consistency is, um, correct, meaning that when you dip that brush in there and you outline or something, you have a single flow line. It doesn't bump along. It doesn't struggle to get down there. The pigment comes out effortlessly, and that's the consistency that you want. When you're doing a mural for the paint finish, I recommend eggshell. That's for the base code that you put down and the final coats. If you're using house paint. Eggshell, I find is not. It's easier to clean. It's not as reflective as flat. And so for that reason, it doesn't have that, like Sheen, that kind of gloss that you see on there so it doesn't reflect light. It really lets you see your mural a little bit better if you can't find eggshell, which I've also found is easy to keep clean. It has enough of a finish on there where everything wipes right off if you get something on the wall. Um, but if you can't find eggshells, satin can work as well. But a shell is my first choice. Satin is just a little bit more glossy, uh, than eggshell, but either one of them will work. Those two are my preference over flat pains. 6. Painting the mural: when it comes to the actual painting of your mural, I find that a well prepped surface is really key and up in key, not just to the success of your Merc mural coming out the way that you want but really in saving you money down the line. One tip and I mentioned it earlier, but is too gets at the hardware store regular paint, so you get an eggshell finish of paint in a sample size and you can get several different colors. They do that for me all the time, so get a color that you like that will be part of your mural in a sample size because it's only three bucks or so, and then you can get a lot of different colors. And that house paint goes really far and goes, in my opinion, farther than if you were just using something like acrylic paint. So, um, and they'd also keeps for a long time. So let's say you do a mural, and generally, if you get a selection of colors on, you have the little sample size of the colors. You're probably not gonna use all of that paint, and then if you do another mural a year and 1/2 down the line. It seals up really nice, and you can still use that paint. So I think it's, Ah, money saver, and it really helps save on the cost of like using up your acrylic paints. So I would purchase a painting primer together as the base coat tinted if you need to, in order to work with your design and then go with some sample sizes for the majority of your mural, you might want to use acrylic paint for something like outlining maybe in black. But for even that, you can get a sample size of Black House paint and really look through the types of paints , and they can match it to any color that you want. So that's the really great part about that. Not only saves you money, but you get the paint color that, uh, you want the exact one. People sometimes ask me if I sketch out, um, a design on a mural before I paint it. I don't do that personally. Have seen people do that. Sketch it with pencil mints. Perfectly acceptable. I would use a graphite pencil if you're going to do that. You could also sketch it out using paint itself. If you have a light color painted one, just sketch it out. One method that I used to paint and I'm gonna talk more about this is color blocking. And so if you start that way, then you'll get to the placement of the colors. And it really helps you get the perspective down before you even begin your mural. Which is really important when you're doing large scale paintings. My personal method. When mural is I take the largest image in my mural, and I put that up first and then I work filling in the smaller images from there. I also when I'm working, go and really trying vary the heights that I'm working. I'll go up on a ladder and do kind of the the tall, you know, the parts of their near the ceiling, and then I'll take a break and step back and take a look at it. It not only gives you, ah, a break from your body, um, from reaching, you know, for ah, long time or bending and doing things like that. It also those frequent breaks that you take when you take a step back and look at things really help you see, um, if you're in, you know the design that you want, it really helps you see perspective and scale when you're doing a mural, you know, you're right up close, and the thing about murals is they're meant to be viewed from a distance, so you have to keep taking a break and stepping back and taking a look. 7. Painting Color Blocking and Line Work: So I mentioned color blocking. Let me get more into what that is. In my opinion, there's different ways to paint a mural. Ah, one is a color blocking and line work method. I love working in this type of method, especially if my mural is gonna be a distance. Because what it does is it saves time. It really allows you to put the mural on easily, in my opinion. And it really allows your eye to help do the work of blending. So what it is is you paint out blocks of color off. You have flowers, for example. You paint all the blocks of color first, so no shading. You're not using variations of color. You're just using solid blacks of color. Then you take a step back and take a look at where that painting now needs some line work and some shading and some definition. That's where the lines come in and it can be lines in black or white. I find that a combination of those two really work well, um, with black lines, they can mimic shading. They can mimic depth and movement in a large painting, and especially if you're painting a mural. That's a little bit of distance because the I automatically fills in lines for things like shading and you save on paint. And it also really is interesting. When you look at things from a distance. When you do color and line work, it stands out in such a bold, graphical way. This is perfect if you have ah lot of different colors, or if your personal style is kind of graffiti like you know, I'm a mixed media artist, so I love that type of style, so that works well for that. Another way to paint a mural is with the traditional type of painting, meaning that you're painting, Ah, large scene. You have a lot of different shading. You use a lot of different paint. You're using a lot of different colors to create shading and highlights, and it's just like painting a regular painting except on a large scale. With this type of painting, you really want to make sure that you have a lot of different colors, and also that you have enough white and black toe add shading and highlighting, which is really important. But a variety of colors usually works well with that type of thing, and you do a lot of blending. And so you take, you put your images on your mural and you take a step back and you really see how that comes together and what else you need to add. And it's a really it can really look interesting when you're done, especially in a home where you know you do a really realistic mural, for example, and it looks like you could walk right through that mural into another world. That type of thing works really well when you're planning on that specific to have type of mural. Another type of mural I've noticed is the abstract type, so it kind of combines, you know, the color blocking and line work and realistic painting methods. And you can start with color blocking, for example, and add line work and then just in pieces, add realistic shading and highlighting. Um, and really, just then the color dictates, um, the painting, rather than the subject matter, because this works well in an area where you might just need a little bit of design and a little bit of something to draw your eye. And abstract murals can work really well for that type of thing. A final note about color blocking also is that you can do it the reverse, meaning that you can start with the line. Work a T east, the exterior lines. So you basically outline everything. Let's say in black. If that's your highlight color, then you fill it in with the color of the solid color. Then you go back and put the black and white lines in for shading and definition. This is a really great way to do it. If you want to plan out the scale, if you have a certain pattern and you want to keep it on track, eso it. Really? There is no right away, right or want Wrong way to do it. It's really dependent on what you feel most comfortable with. My personal method is color blocking first, cause I'm really drawn to color. I love color and I like to see the colors first before I start adding the definition. But if you have a complicated pattern or something that really is about the bold graphical lines and something that is really dynamic, you might want to do line, work first and then just fill in with color, where you need Teoh 8. Floor Painting: So let's talk about painting floors because I think it can be a really good way to transform a certain area of your home. You really need to determine what your floor space is like. For example, I've painted over linoleum. We had a ton of linoleum in her home and I couldn't afford to replace any of it. And so what I did was I painted over it. Now, now again, with floor painting, you really just need painting primer, and you do that first, uh, and then there is specific floor paint that you can get at the hardware store. You can have it tinted to a specific color and usually within one or two coats. You can get that base down where, then you can either do a mural on top of it. Um, or you can leave it a specific color. You don't even have to do a mural. Um, if you're going to do a mural on a floor. I would recommend, though, to get the pain, to not use acrylic paint and instead get the paint and primer from the hardware store. They're formulated for specific areas, so if you use floor paint, it is formulated to have that wear and tear over it, and you definitely want to use that and again use the method where you get the small sample sizes. If you want to do a lot of different colors because it'll save you a lot of money and then you're using the correct type of paints that will last for a long time. 9. Logistics of Mural Painting: a final note about logistics. I mentioned that mural painting is unlike other types of painting its large scale painting , but it's also done on nontraditional surfaces so things can get very messed up. Sometimes. Maybe you're on a wall that you think will accept paint, and it doesn't now that throws you out of your time schedule. You've got either add more primer and wait for that to dry. You've got a rethink your designed, that type of thing you might be on. This has happened to me. You might be on a closet door, and you didn't anticipate the polls or the folding piece of the door. Um, you know, in the place that they ended up on your sketch, it didn't turn out that way. And so now you need to adjust in that type of thing. It's a lot of kind of going with whatever your surface is like. You also need to really take breaks. You could be working in areas that maybe it's right underneath Ah, heating vent or it's right by something that's cold, Um, or if you have to go over a piece of thing where you want, want to make sure you don't get paint on it, so you're reaching in weird places. Your mural painting is unlike other types of painting, so you really want to plan for that and think about it ahead of time. Um, people can also get very overwhelmed when it comes to painting a mural, especially it's a big one with a lot of complicated components. You know, mural painting is all about taking small pieces and creating this big image, and sometimes those small pieces can feel like they're not making any difference, and they're not contributing to anything. You might do a whole bunch of, um elements for your mural, and you take a step back and it doesn't look like anything yet, and it can discourage you. But don't let it discourage you. Take stock in all the small efforts that you do, because all of that does add up to the final painting. It's just a little bit different than a normal type of painting, that's all. After you finished painting your mural, then what? What If you don't like it, it it can happen. You know, you planned out something in your mind, and you put it on a wall and you're looking at and you're thinking I'm just wild about this before you do anything drastic. You know, murals really do add a graphical element, which is a great thing. But sometimes it takes you a while to get used to it. So before you do anything drastic, you know, give it some time, give yourself some time to look at that image and see if you like it. And don't, um don't go. Well, I don't wanna you know, you've just painted this entire mural, and you might think I'm just not changing this now. Just this is going to stay, and I hate it. You don't want that because you painted the mural because you wanted a place in your home that you would look at and love. So don't get, you know, sad about If it doesn't look right, you're going to just keep it. There's ways to fix things in murals. But first, give yourself the proper amount of time to really get used to it. When you're done painting your a lot of times, you're tired. You just work through. Um, you know, if you're like me. You know, you've worked through several days where you just want to get this done And really give it some time where you live with it a while and you allow yourself to get used to it And think about what you really think about that, Meryl. What you might find if you if you find in the end that you don't like it, for example is there is just one or two areas you don't love, and in that case, you can paint over them. It is just paint, and you can go over him and give yourself before you do that, give yourself time before you before you dig out those pains again because, um, you know, your mindset really does make a difference when you're painting a mural. So if you take a step back and you hate something in you rush over there and try and fix it , it can really, you know, affect your overall design. Give it some time before you decide if you love it or not. If you don't love it, you can always go and paint over a piece of it. 10. What if you hate your mural: um, if you really hate it like, let's say you just have tried to live with this, and you just cannot deal with it. Well, guess what it really is. Just paint and you can paint over it and you know a lot of us. You know, if you spent that time painting that mural, um and you think I'm just gonna keep it because I can't. I just can't. I can't even think about painting that wall again. Um, remember that. You know, that experience does help you. Then if you're gonna pay the next thing and you wanted to know if that would work on your wall and it didn't so go ahead and paint over it. It's just paint. A couple coats of primer usually take care of any previous designs, and you could leave them plain or try another mural. When you give yourself some time to rest and rethink things, you can paint over it and try again. It's just paint a final note here. Murals can be lasting in your home for years and years and years, or they could be for a short time. Let's say you were really into one style when you painted this mural and you really loved it. And then after several years, you were like, Oh, I'm so done with that style. I I don't want to do it anymore so you can paint over it again. As I mentioned, a couple quotes of pain to primer usually do the trick. What I find when I paint over a mural because, yes, I've done it. Is that really just one coat of paint and primer usually work because then what I'm doing is painting another mural over it in my personal experience. So even then you don't need a ton of painting primer over it. But it really will depend on what your design was like, the types of colors you used, how long ago wasn't and all that type of stuff. But if you don't love it any more meaning you did at one time not you're sick of it. You painted something in your kid's room and because they were into this and now they're not. And so you want to paint over it, really. Just take the painting primer first and go over it with a light coat. Then take a step back and see If the areas that you painted need any additional primer or if they can then be OK if it's if it's great out enough that you can just paint the next design over it. In my opinion, I have in my experience, rather I have found that you usually then can just paint the new design over it. And you don't need to, you know, do lots of prep work because you've already done that primer relatively recently, and it will accept the new layers of paint very easily. 11. Final Thoughts: If you've been thinking about doing a mural, something in you wants to tackle that. Give it a try. You can always decide later that you don't like it and paint over it. But you know what? I find that once you do it, you really get into this process of large scale painting and in adding that element to your home, it had such a personal touch, and it's something that not everybody is gonna have in their home. And you're gonna look at it. And every day it's gonna fill you with a little bit of joy knowing that you completed this paint project that's personal to you. So give it a try. And I'm very curious to see what types of projects you guys tackle, so feel free to post them in our classroom.