I think (I KNOW) I get creatively carried away in my mind a LOT and have these grand ideas, which for the most time don’t escape their private resort like sanctuary, but every now and then I let it slip and end up with quite a job ahead of me.
Me “Savannah what colour would you like your new bedroom?”
Savannah “Purple and Turquoise please mummy.”
Me “OK cool, would you like an ombre look with the two colours?”
Savannah “Yes that would be so awesome!”
Skip forward a few weeks…. Oh crap I really said I’d do that hahaha
So I tell Jason all confident like, “I’m going to do an ombre look for Savannah’s bedroom walls, so in reality it will just be a large scale of one of the backgrounds like I do on my mixed media paintings, blending the colours in.”
Jason “Oh yeh, cool so you know what you’re doing then, excellent.”
In my mind… I can do this, but I’ll just grab my closest device and pin a thousand pictures of the look I want to attain and see if anyone has a tutorial so I can get an idea of what they did so I know I’m not a total looney for even thinking it. The closest I could find to what I was wanting was at Leavingtheivorytower.blogspot.com
I found a couple of different ombre tutorials where they use house paint and a couple of tutorials for Lazure painting. Lazure is the soft dreamy washy look you see in Waldorf/Steiner schools, it’s really quite beautiful. From what I can work out they seem to use a lot of glaze in the finish but they also use the Waldorf recommended Stockmar paints that the children use in school, which are a pigment base and mix in with water to make watercolours. I could of bought those from our local Steiner school, but it’s a weekend in the middle of the school holidays and it was a today job so no time to wait to order online… Improvise!! What I wanted was a hybrid of both these techniques to suit the colours requested by Savannah.
Then my OCD kicked in… “OMG I can’t just go and paint a wall without a bedspread to match, it will send me insane then trying to match the colours!” Sunday morning comes and I’m in and out of the shopping centre within 20 minutes, new bedspread in hand. Lol thank you Kmart for having almost the exact colours in an ombre design!!
So now I have a colour plan to work around. So this is how it all rolled for me…(Feel free to flow with what you think will work best for you.)
Watercolour Ombre Walls
Wall Base Colour We had only painted the neutral beige/latte base colour 9 months ago when we moved in (as the grey and peach that were here when we purchased the house were hideous), and I was happy to use the beige as a base colour so it would appear softer, which it did. I imagine if your base wall colour is white your colour will appear more vibrant.
Yep this is what the room looked like when we bought the place! And they had just freshly painted it…
This is the beige base colour we painted over.
Tools that I used
Car Sponge for each colour x2 (turquoise and magenta shades)
2 1/2 inch foam brush for each colour x2 (this was for the corners and under the cornice)
Spray bottle for each Colour (I used 4)
Artist acrylic paint in chosen colours (I used an artist grade magenta and turquoise, I also mixed up a baby blue and pink for the blending, instead of buying seperate colours for the blending process, you could just do a seperate bottle of the magenta and turquoise or your chosen colours with extra white in it if this is the colours you’re going with. )
White Artist Acrylic paint (optional, I wanted a softer colour, so I used white to tone it down and mix the blending colours)
Clear Glaze Medium
Gloves (optional, because I used artist paint, it washed straight off, and it’s spring here in Australia and it was super hot wearing gloves.)
Protective barrier (old tablecloth, newspaper for mixing paint and protecting surfaces in the room. ie doors, windows, architraves)
If you’re in Australia, the spray bottles and car sponges were from Kmart, and the paint, glaze and foam brushes are from Spotlight.
Mixing the Paint
In a clean spray bottle I put…
50ml artist acrylic paint (chosen colour)
I then added enough white to shade the colour to suit my preference
30ml Clear Glaze medium approx (this helps give the artist paint colours stick a bit better and gives a more transparent glaze finish)
Shake it up until completely mixed.
Ensure your room is prepped ready to go, floors covered, window and door frames taped. We had just gutted the room, so it was bare concrete floors and no architraves so I didn’t have to tape anything up, I’m yet to paint the cornice as the previous owners had it painted a pretty shade of peach (yuk) which I did a primer coat over.
Things to be aware of before you pull the trigger…..
Be careful of your aim and know how wide your bottle sprays, I had bits spray on the cornice, but as I’m yet to paint that I wasn’t concerned.
I had a nasty nozzle on my bottle the magenta was in, sometimes the magenta would do a little dribble spray lower down the wall which was fine if I seen it, not cool if I didn’t see it until after it dried, then I scrubbed like a mad man with sugar soap on a wet sponge and it usually came off, what was left camouflaged under the colours quite well.
Work down the wall not across. Yep I made that mistake first up! I did all the pink across the top then came back thinking the baby pink would blend in oh so easy but it didn’t and it was very hard work blending it in, blending the rest of the colours was easy once I worked this out.
Start in the least seen area of the room so you’re a pro once you get to the main visual part of the room.
On your marks, get set, SPRAY and WIPE!
Start at the top, spray a bit and in a wiping S kind of motion work across the wall, work out how light/hard you need to wipe with the sponge, I found it gave a better finish with a really light wipe, but there were places I had to wipe harder to blend. Sometime I got over excited and sprayed heaps on the wall thinking I would get through it faster, but my body told me the following day that was just crazy and I deserve the pain I was in lol because I had to work so much faster to get it done before it dried.
Don’t forget the corners, my big sponge would wipe the other side of the corner wall off so I had to use the small foam brushes for this reason, if you think you’ve put too much on just keep feathering it out of the corner with very soft strokes almost on it’s big flat side so it blends into the other wiping from the big sponge, if you use the skinny side you may end up with obvious lines.
Keep your correct coloured sponge near the colour bottle you are using, a couple of times I forgot and started blending the pink with the blue sponge still in my had and vice versa. You will only make this mistake a couple of times, then you become very vigilant, I did lol.
Once you get the hang of it, it’s not daunting at all, not to mention the fact that you’ve just repainted a room for under $50 and there are no painful paint rollers to wash out. I’m yet to get an overall picture of the room painted, it’s still a jobsite with stuff everywhere, so I’ll pop a couple in part 2.
Thanks for reading, there will be more to come in part 2, as we complete the floors and the timber shutters on the windows! I posted a sneak pic of them on my Instagram account. Let me know if you give the ombre effect a try and post a pic if you can on Facebook or Instagram.