DIY: Ombre Chair
From fashion to furnishings, "ombre" is all the rage! If you have furniture you'd like to update without breaking the bank, Jesse Dresbach of 9 Red Design has a great do-it-yourself tutorial to get this colorful, gradated and trendy look. Read below as Jesse outlines his step-by-step instructions:
A sweet, sturdy chair with good bones
Steel wool (paint removal grade) or sandpaper
Mask and goggles
Spray paint primer (look for "2× coverage" or "extra cover")
Three colors of spray paint — I chose gloss white, blue and navy blue.
Spray clear coat — gloss
Optional: sawhorse, electric sander and pads, spray paint trigger
Step 1: Start Sanding
Since we are painting OVER this coat, we're just looking to smooth it out and rough it up a bit. This will give our primer and new coats something to hang onto.
If you're using steel wool, I recommend using gloves. I know the steel wool feels OK to the touch, but without gloves, you'll start to see little shards of steel poking out of your fingers … and who wants that?
I used the electric sander (see how handy it is?) because parts of the coat on this chair just weren't budging. Five minutes later, I was good to go!
Step 2: Start Priming
Remember to stick with thin coats. You can always re-coat if necessary, but make sure to read your spray paint's directions! Re-coating too soon can create unwanted bubbles in the paint. Also, grab that mask and goggles! (I forgot to wear a mask during a blue coat and ended up with blue nostrils.) For this chair, I'll probably do one or two more coats, because I don't want any of that old paint peeking through later.
Step 3: Get into the nooks and crannies
If you have a sawhorse, you can flip your chair over and get into all the nooks and crannies. Just be sure to pad your sawhorse, otherwise you'll risk scratching your seat. Here's a close-up of our underside.
Tip: An inexpensive, optional tool that will save your fingers from paint splatter is a can gun trigger.
Step 4: Plan it out
After your primer coat is dry (I waited about 25 minutes until it wasn't sticky) you can start your colors. Plan out roughly where you want the color grades to start and stop. I chose to split the chair into thirds.
Take your top color (in this case, it's white) and start coating past the limit of your white section. Remember, thin coats! If you get drips or strange textures, take your steel wool and gently smooth it out, and then paint over it again.
Once satisfied with the top color, you can move on to the next (in this case, it's blue).
Focus on the getting the CENTER of that section solid blue first. You'll notice the section where the colors change is beginning to fade all by itself. 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.
Step 5: Spray the Spindles
Here's where things get fun and creative. In little spurts, start spraying the spindles, moving quickly upwards and away from the chair. If you want, practice on cardboard first.
The real challenge is trying to not get a clean line, and keeping your color at even heights. Try standing back a little and pulling the trigger in very short intervals to get a "cloudy" look.
Do the same moving downwards. In the downward direction, spray past the point at which you want your navy blue shade to reach. We want the lower white area to be gone, so spray a good four to five inches past where you'd like the blue-to-dark-blue fade to happen.
Tip: After your blue is dry, don't forget to paint the flip-side of the chair 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.
Step 6: Start the third color
Once you are satisfied with your middle blue, use the same technique for your third color. I started at the bottom of the chair and worked up. Once a solid area is completely painted, you can use the fade technique mentioned above to spray up and away into the middle color. You're almost done!
Tip: I used the sawhorse again to raise my work level, but this technique could be performed just the same on a protected floor.
Step 7: Let It Dry
While your chair is drying, give it a good inspection. Make sure each of your fades is around the same height as the others. Now is the time to fix any mistakes!
Let the chair dry for 24 hours or longer if it still feels sticky to the touch. Once dry, clear coat the chair — again, in many thin coats. I chose high gloss. Let that dry for another 24 hours and enjoy!