Ask Alice: Do you have an interiors dilemma? Consult our resident specialist

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The Independent Online

My son would like a mural in his bedroom. I have shown him the self-adhesive type but he is not very impressed with those and would really like a copy of an illustration from a Rupert Bear book. I am quite capable with a paintbrush, but don't really know where to start.
Jenny Cobbold, Evesham

The best way to reproduce a picture on to your wall is by using an overhead projector. You can hire them for about £40 a day from 123 5654). Trace the picture on to a sheet of acetate, using a permanent pen to avoid smudging. Then project it on to the wall, adjusting the position of the projector until you have achieved the right scale, and re-trace the image in pencil. Then you can begin to fill it in using acrylic or emulsion paints. (If using emulsion, increase your colour palette by using gouache paints mixed into an emulsion base.) A fun idea, if your son would like to help with the painting, is to outline the design with a wide-nibbed permanent marker before painting and, if necessary, again afterwards - more forgiving for hands that are likely to go over the edges.

I am making a panel for the side of my bath. The previous (plywood) one had swollen and warped. I was thinking of using MDF as it is easy to cut and paint. Do you have any other suggestions?
Clive Mason, by e-mail

I would avoid MDF at all costs in a bathroom. No matter how careful you are, water always seems to find its way in, causing swelling and splitting. I would go for plywood every time. The reason your previous panel warped is likely to be that the wrong grade of ply was used. The best grade to go for is marine ply, more expensive but with excellent waterproof qualities; it is used for building boats, hence the name, and has a mahogany veneer, which is very hardy. With a couple of good coats of oil-based paint, it should last for years, no matter how much you splash.

I would like to be able to use the square of grass alongside my drive for occasional car parking. I have sometimes seen car parks where green plastic netting has been laid on top of grass, but I have been unable to find the name of the product or a supplier. Can you help please?
Mrs Margaret Miles, by e-mail.

Safety Flooring UK (, 0800 328 0315) has a choice of solutions. Grass protection mesh is a heavy-duty polymer matting suitable for temporary use. A 2 x 20m roll costs £402, plus delivery, but it is rather heavy, weighing in at 80kg. It might be possible to share a roll with a neighbour, perhaps. Alternatively, they sell a product called turf reinforcement mesh, designed to be laid on the lawn in early spring and left there permanently so that the grass grows through it, hiding it from view. This comes in a 1.9 x 30m roll and costs £252, plus delivery. Easier to handle, the Safagrass rubber ring mat, £34 per 1.5 x 1m, is probably not as tough but provides a cheaper option. The interlocking, impact-absorbent non-slip mats are easy to lay; you can put them down or pick them up as you please.