Welcome to the next class in the School of Restoration! Today we are going to work on painting a chair in a color fade, or "Ombre" as you've probably seen it. I looked it up, because I'll be first to admit that I had no idea what this word meant. Ombre; "Shaded or graduated in tone". Yep! That about sums it up, and I adore it. I've been seeing this new style all over the place, and I'm really happy about it. When thinking of an idea for today's class, this post came through on Design Sponge featuring Anthropologie's gorgeous ombre bench. If you click over to their site, hang onto your seat - yes - that is a $1500 price tag! Now call me crazy, but I'm pretty sure we can do this for less than $1500. I couldn't wait to try it, and I added a third color too. Here's a look at what we're aiming for:
- A sweet chair
- Steel Wool (paint removal grade) or sandpaper
- Drop cloth
- Mask & Goggles
- Spray paint primer
- 3 colors of spray paint - I chose Gloss White, Blue, and Navy Blue.
- Spray clear coat - gloss
- Optional: Sawhorse, Electric Sander & Pads, Spray Paint Trigger
There's a look at my tools. Not much is needed! When shopping for spray paint, I look for the kind that says "2X coverage" or "extra cover". I definitely notice needing to do less coats. With primer, I tend to grab the one that says it can stick to plastic, even if I'm not priming plastic. My logic, is that if this stuff can stick to a smooth plastic surface, it'll stick to anything. And that's what I need! The steel wool is "paint removal" grade, which I had on hand. Steel wool is great, it lets you sand surfaces very very gently.
Scratched up enough to hold the primer. Now start priming! Remember; thin coats. You can re-coat a few minutes apart too. Read your brand of spray paint's directions. Grab that mask and goggles! I forgot to wear a mask during a blue coat, and ended up with blue nostrils. Lovely. Went over fantasticly in public.
Side note here: Ever notice that the directions actually say "Re-coat within 1 hour or after 24 hours"? I didn't! I would just paint on my clock, and now and then I'd get these weird bubbles. After a phone call to their help desk, they pointed this out. So far playing by the rules has really helped!
Once satisfied with the top color, move onto the blue. Take a look before I explain:
So my goal here was to get the middle third in my royal blue. Focus on the getting the center of that section solid blue first. You'll notice the over spray is already starting to do the fade, all by itself. Just focus on that center now, back and forth, thin, thin coats. Here's a close up of the seat, notice that I haven't gone up or down the spindles yet, I'm just focusing on a solid blue seat.
Here's where things get fun and creative. If you want, practice this paint job on cardboard first. Though by now you probably have a good feel for the behavior of the paint, since you painted the seat. In little spurts, just start spraying the spindles, moving quickly upwards and away from the chair. The only real challenge here is trying to not get a clean line, and keeping your color even heights.
Try standing back a little, and just pulling the trigger in very short intervals. See how you are getting that cloudy look? Great. Now you can decide how far up and down you want this to go. I started low, because I had to keep adjusting my heights to get them even, which ran the color higher up the back! Do the same moving downwards. Remember in the downward direction, to spray past the point where you want your navy blue to reach. We want the lower white area to be gone, so spray a good 4-5 inches past where you'd like the blue to dark blue fade to happen.
So - teacher made a mistake here, and I'm passing this onto you so you don't! I should have flipped my chair before my third color and done the bottoms of my royal blue. So, I recommend, after your blue is dry to flip and get that color on there. Or do it before you do the top of the blue. Either way, just get it done before the third color. This particular chair didn't need extra protection, but if yours does, cover areas behind your spray range with cardboard or paper bags.
Once you are satisfied with your middle blue, do the same technique for your third color. I started at the bottom of the chair, and worked up. Once the area you want solid is complete, you can use the fade technique from above to spray up and away into the middle color. You're almost done!
I used the sawhorse again to raise my work level, but this would work just the same on a protected floor.
So far, so good! While your chair is drying, give it a good inspection. See the missing spot on mine? Mmhmm... good thing I checked. The thing to really look out for here, is to make sure your fades are around the same height as the others. Here we are, complete:
Forgive me, those ARE raindrops there! I was taking photos the next morning for better lighting, when it started raining on me! Don't worry - that high gloss came in handy and protected the chair.
So what did you think? Not too bad, right? I think you can definitely tackle this in a weekend, and we most likely stayed under $1500. Not saying anything bad about Anthro's bench, I'm sure it's great! You have to love that place, if at least for the amazing inspiration.
Thanks for tuning in for another class in the School of Restoration here on The Divine Minimalist. I had a lot of fun making this tutorial and I know you'll have fun trying it out! If you tackle this project, share the ombre love and send us your pictures. Share it, tweet it, pin it - it's always great to see other peoples work!