This ombre watercolor technique combines colorful paint with clear glaze over a pastel base to create stripes. It has a watercolor-like effect since the stripes do not have definite edges…which also make this technique much easier to paint than regular stripes! No messing around with tape, paint bleeding under the tape, and making sure that everything is perfectly straight.
For anyone who isn’t sure, ombre is a French term meaning “shaded” and usually implies shades of a color that changes from dark to light. In this case, we actually used 2 dark colors (green and blue) since that was the color scheme in the room.
Guest Bedroom “Before”The bare beige walls in this guest room cried out for something interesting and different. My inspiration came from an article I had seen in Better Homes and Gardens Special Publication “Walls with Style.”
Click Next to find out how to paint an ombre wall.
What You Need To Paint An Ombre Wall
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- (Optional) Latex paint in a pastel color for the base coat. This is only necessary if the current wall color is a darker color.
- Latex paints in dark green and three shades of blue (1 lighter, 1 medium intensity and 1 darker). Use 3 colors of blue from the same paint color if you want to be sure that they will go together.
- Measuring Tape*
- Chalk Line*
- Clear Glaze*
- 4 plastic containers with lids*
- Good quality 3-4 inch paintbrush*
How To Paint The Wall
1. (Optional) If the current paint color on the wall, is a darker color, paint a base coat of ivory or beige-colored paint. Hint: Avoid using a flat finish because it soaks up too much of the glaze that is applied in the next coats and makes it more difficult to apply. Satin is my preference.
2. Once the base coat is dry, measure three horizontal lines. I marked dots on each corner at the 3 foot, 5 foot, and 7 foot points up the wall from the baseboard. Then I joined the markings by snapping a chalk line between them. The wall is now divided horizontally into four sections. These lines will act as guides to keep your brush strokes level.
3. In one of the plastic containers, mix the green paint with the glaze in the ratio of 1 part paint to 3 parts glaze (eg. 1 cup green paint with 3 cups glaze).
4. Start at the baseboard with the dark green glaze and brush it horizontally, using long stokes. Don’t be too worried if the paint color is uneven…this adds to the effect. Keep doing this until you reach the 3’ line. You don’t have to worry about making a perfectly straight horizontal line since it will be blended with the next layer of paint anyway.
5. In the second plastic container, mix the darkest blue paint with the glaze in the ratio of 1 part paint to 3 parts glaze.
6. Next start applying the darkest blue glaze, using long application strokes and blending the green and blue. Do not clean your brush between colors so that the green will continue to mix with the blue. Continue until you reach the line at the 5′ mark. Again, you do not need to make the line perfectly straight…the 5′ mark is just a guideline for where the stripe should end.
7. In the third plastic container, mix the medium blue paint with the clear glaze in the ratio of 1 part paint to 3 parts glaze.
8. Now dip your brush into the medium blue glaze and blend the medium blue with the darker blue in the same elongated stoke manner. Continue until you reach the 7’ line.
9. In the last plastic container, mix the light blue paint with the clear glaze in the ratio of 1 part paint to 3 parts glaze.
10. Using the same brush, dip into the lightest blue glaze and continue painting with long stokes until you reach the ceiling.
11. To further the watercolor blended effect, apply some of the darkest blue glaze to the green and medium blue bands at random using an almost dry brush and short horizontal stokes.
12. Then do the same with some of the medium blue glaze, applying it to the light blue and dark blue bands at random.
Enjoy your ombre wall!