Monday, August 13, 2012

Ombre Wall Worries

Em here, so ombre` is super in this year, whether it's hair, nails, or the color of your walls, everyone is super in to this trend right now. I have to admit, I saw this pin on pinterest when I was pin-surfing the other day, and thought it looked clever. I for one HATE, and let me repeat myself, HATE painting houses. In our last house we painted one room and decided white all over the rest of the house wasn't so bad after all. Stephanie sent us her attempt at an ombre` accent wall, here is her tale:

The Original

Freaking fab right?! I love it, wayyyyy too much work than I would personally do on a wall, but if someone would do it in exchange for cookies I would be ALL over that shiz.
Here is Stephanie's version...

The Pinstrosity

So no, it isn't as pictured above, but I think it has character. In the end she painted over the whole thing with the darkest shade and now has one awesome accent colored wall. Here is how it all went down:
1. Stephanie bought Wal-Mart paint, now nothing against Wal-Mart I am a frequent Wally World shopper myself, but some things are better bought with quality in mind. The original blogger used Valspar (which may very well be a plug, however it worked great for her, so maybe there is something to it eh?)
2. Stephanie purchased Latex paint, for this project that isn't great, as Steph (can I call you Steph? I'll call you Steph...) said in her email, this dries to fast to make the whole ombre affect work out well.
3.Steph purchased four colors thinking this would eliminate having to mix, but really didn't save her any time, and really just increased the amount of brushes, paint cans, paint containers she had around the room.
4. She painted the primer, no problems there, she then painted the lightest hue over the whole wall, no problems there. Then the darkest hue at the bottom in a panel, again no problems.
 *Pay attention here is where things went wrong*
5.She then proceeded to paint the next color up RIGHT above the darkest hue, so that there borders are touching. (We will get to why this went wrong)
6.She started running out of brushes, wet and dry. The original blog says to use a DRY brush to blend the colors. She tried to salvage the project but started running out of paint, and because it was latex it was drying too fast to blend adequately.
How To Fix This

-First off, you need to purchase oil based paint, Steph suggested this and I completely agree with her, it dries much slower, and will in turn be much easier to blend.
-Buy quality paint, I think you will find it is easier to work with, and you will generally have more option for colors.
-When deciding on your colors really try to choose colors from the same swatch, but make sure that they aren't too big of a hue jump from color to color. Steph said she ran into this problem with the darkest being too dark to blend with the color above it.
-Choose three colors, your light, medium and dark. Don't try to short cut by adding more colors it doesn't seem to bode well. The tutorial on this isn't very specific and leaves a lot for assuming, so I did a little diagram of what to mix and what panels go where below.
Here is how the panels go (Starting with the panel closest to the ceiling):
Medium+Light=Medium #2
Dark+Medium=Dark #2

-Leave a small section between each panel for blending. If you don't you are using too much of each panels actual color and it seems to defeat the purpose of painting all those panels. Are you still with me, I know this is a bit lengthy...sorry.

-Steph has suggested also that you have extra brushes and paint containers on hand, and I would have to agree again. It is better to have too many than to be a chicken with your head cut off running around trying to clean brushes and containers all over the place.

-Lastly have lots of time on hand, this project is time consuming. I would also suggest reading the original tutorial just for a basis seeing as I didn't include the full one here. You can find it by going to the link below the original picture.

If any of you have done this and had utter and complete success please let us know! We love your feedback! Happy painting, and seriously if anyone wants cookies for painting my house I would love me some ombre` wall action ;)



  1. I think before you tackle a real wall, test it on a chunk of drywall. I'm sure with the way we are (meaning pin freaks) that we have some scrap drywall laying around from a project. There's always stopping by a construction site and seeing if you can snag a scrap chunk. The brand of paint has nothing to do with it, point #2 is right on. You want a paint that isn't going to dry fast. It will help if you tell your paint people what you are doing before you do it so they too get your colors and texture right (flat, semi-gloss). I have not done an ombre wall but I've had to blend in paint with two paints of the same name, same brand, mixed in different months and really weren't the same (buying new paint wasn't an option). Get a bag of rags or use old t-shirts. Wipe off your "dry" brush when it gets too wet. Paint a few strokes on a piece of cardboard before going back to the wall. If you want to reuse the rags, toss them in a bucket of water or paint thinner until you are ready to clean up. Careful with a bucket of thinner with rags around electricity and open flames. When I did glazing, I kept mine outside. I also didn't have kids around.

  2. The original makes a beautiful wall, but the first thing that came to mind was, Oh my gosh, what a nightmare for touch-ups! You'll have to repaint the whole wall anytime your kids do minor damage!

    But I suppose some people don't need to worry about that. They're the ones who get the lovely house!

  3. I would have tried having the paint custom blended - have one made with 50% lighter color, 50% darker color, but I know nothing about this.

    also, am I the only person out there that HATES ombre?

  4. I saw the top pin on Pinterest today and LOVE it! It looks amazing! It would be tricky though. Maybe trying it out on part of a wall first would be the way to go to make sure you can actually do it?

  5. Use a latex Paint conditioner like Floetrol to extend dry time and reduce lap marks.

  6. I like ombre except on hair - that's just called roots that need re-dyed.

    1. I have dark blonde hair that I highlight and when the ombre trend came out I basically took that as carte blanche to skip the salon all summer long and call it a trend :-) It works better if your highlights aren't drastically different from your natural shade and it works better in summer when the sun will lighten you up a bit naturally, but I fully admit it's just laziness!

  7. Here's my take as I do this as a background typically with three or more colors when I am paiting on canvas. I usually paint a dark section, then pour and paint the next lighter blending into the darker each time. When the paint is still wet the lighter color blends into the darker color without moving the space between the two colors too much. I pinned that ombre wall. I'm guilty. I'm totally going to try it. But it will certainly be with a nice quality paint and since I'm partial to valspar that will also be my choice paint. My issue is finding a wall I havent already done something amazing to. :) Cheers and good luck. If/when I do it, I'll post a picture to your pinstrosity.

  8. I think a paint conditioner would work a lot better then an oil based paint to complete a wall like this, especially in the event that I ended up hating the wall and wanted to paint over it or decided to do something different with the room.

  9. I have done this and it is very hard to get the ombre to work however I used a spray gun and worked very quickly.It looked pretty awesome for a few years.

  10. We painted a sunset mural in my sons room last summer. Sponge brushes and a spray water bottle kept semi gloss latex paint moist enough to blend together. And lots of... Experimenting until we liked what we did. Now we LOVE it and the second mural was much faster to do. The two walls that get the dirtiest are solid colors- night time sky- so touch ups are easy. Ombré will be one of those "O, it's so dated..." when you are viewing potential real estate in the next decade."

  11. Here's the thing to remember about mixing paint: it's always easy to make paint go darker, but nearly impossible to make it go lighter! When you're mixing colors, always mix small portions of dark paint into your light paint (instead of the other way around) until you get the color you want.

    My mother did an effect like this years ago in a shop she used to own. She used a spray gun and several different colors in a wave effect -- I wish I had a picture because it was awesome! I think rollers or brushes could work really well for this effect too but blending is difficult for any painter, it definitely takes practice!

  12. I've seen my Mom (an interior designer and painter) actually ombre a wall from BRIGHT PINK INTO TEAL. It looked AWESOME. Fabulous. She showed me how to do it.

    Then, I saw this pin, and knew I could nail it (I've got my Mom's genetics, anyhow, right?). So I went with this same color palette and did it.

    Guess what? I bought Valspar. (And anyhow, I actually think Behr is a better quality than Valspar yet.)

    It. went. AWFUL. It did NOT work. So, all I can hack it to is that I, too, used latex, which DOES dry crazy fast for what you're trying to do. And unless you're a pro (like my Mom), you cannot work quickly enough to beat the latex drying.

  13. I plan to tackle this project this week..thinking I will add glaze to my paint colors to extend drying time!


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