Another week update is here for the One Room Challenge! I’m bringing you all the details from my Ombré Wall turned Stormy Skies Wall. First and foremost, we are NEVER to speak of this in person to Broderick. He knows it as: the painted wall, the blue wall, the ombré wall…NOT the stormy skies wall. If he hears me–or anyone–refer to it that way, he will be too terrified to sleep in his room until I paint over it.
To see this process in video form, visit my highlights on Instagram.
The Ombré Technique
Okay…so, I’m going to be honest. This was hard. For a few reasons:
- I attempted to blend, but because I was working with two different color families–blue & gray–the blending was more of a challenge, and I couldn’t get it to look just right.
- Working with wet paint is VERY different than the dry paint color that develops.
- The painting technique is definitely a challenge when moving across a 12 foot wall, as opposed to experimenting on a smaller area.
- Wet paint vs tacky paint are two very different things.
- There are about 18,000 videos on YouTube–trust me, I watched them all–and everyone uses a different technique.
- I had to come face-to-face with my perfectionism, and while I loved the look of other walls that have imperfections, I struggled so much with my own process during the project.
- Not enough (good) paint brushes.
I’m not letting go of this idea…I love the look of ombré, so I may have to try again, even if it’s just a canvas hanging somewhere.
The Stormy Skies Wall
This wall quickly became known–in my head–as the stormy skies wall, mainly because of the movement from dark blue to gray to white-gray. It reminds me of a day out on the bay, where the sky begins to turn. The wind kicks up, causing the water to swirl. The horizon is a combination of dark blue and gray sky, reflecting in each other, layers of gray fading as they rise the the clouds.
A bit poetic, but it works.
Let’s talk problems first, in case you’re considering trying this look. Scroll down to see what actually worked for me.
The First Time Through…
Like I mentioned above, there were a bunch of things that challenged me.
See the two colors going on the wall below? This was a 4:1 ratio (blue to gray). They looked great wet. Dry? They were almost too much alike–which would be fine if the wall was ALL blue ombré.
Here–you can see the variations of blue. I did a decent job mixing the paint to create a faded look, but when I added the gray (scroll down), it was too much contrast.
Below, you can see what happened when I added in more gray. I had worked up the wall adding a bit more gray each time. But, by halfway, I wanted to be half and half. The gray overwhelmed the blue–there was no soft blend:
The other problem I faced was working in such a large section, the paint was hard to keep wet enough for blending. Tacky paint resulted in a very unappealing look.
I attempted to wet the paint brush with a spray bottle, and it was hard to find the balance between “wet enough” and “too wet.” Obviously.
But, one thing that messing up this process did was to help me identify which process I was most comfortable with.
Starting Over: The Main Colors
The top section of the wall–about 20 inches–I painted in the very light gray–Silver Shadow.
I kept the bottom painted the original unblended Midnight Blue, about 25 inches up the wall, since I was counting the trim into the measurement. I made sure to repaint any ombre that was showing, so it was just solid blue.
The “middle” section ended up being about 50 inches, which is half the wall height. I painted this the Pewter Gray–covering any variations that had been done. Afterward, I made sure to let them all dry.
Next Step: The Blends
The next step was to create a “blend line” where the two colors meet. I will say that I’m not 100% sure of the mixtures I used because it was a lot of trial and error. But, the blends were approximately 3:2 ratio with the darker color being more dominant.
One thing to note is that I focused on the wet edge of the blend first. The whole section of 3:2 paint ended up being about 18-20 inches wide. However, the blending edge was about 8 inches of wet paint (3:2 blend) on top of the gray, with about 4 inches of the existing color on the other side of the blend line.
So, for example, I painted 8 inches of the 3:2 blue/gray blend above where the blend line was, then painted a fresh wet edge of just blue right below, about 3-4 inches.
After the blending technique was done across the wall, then I focused on extending the 3:2 color farther up into the gray.
Once I painted the blue/gray blend up the wall–for a total of 18 inches or so, then I did the same process to bring the gray/light gray blend down from the top section into the gray.
Once those sections were dry, then I did the blending lines with the 20 inch middle gray section on the top and bottom.
The Blending Technique: Horizontal Strokes
Let’s back up just a bit. What exactly did I find the most successful blending technique? Horizontal strokes. That means, there was no criss-cross that I used the first time around.
It was important to have a wet edge on the two sections being blended. As an example, for the first blend, I painted the blue/gray blend just along the top of the blue section. Then, I painted a fresh edge of just blue below. I took my blue paint brush and painted a horizontal line right where the two wet paints met.
I kept a wet rag with me to wipe any random brush strokes that created a “textured” look–I wanted a blend, or a cloudy look, not a “mistake” kind of look. My hand was also an important tool! Wiping the paint horizontally to blend became a good way to achieve a look or fix a mistake.
I continued this technique in 18-24 inch sections across the entire wall. Then, I did the same process for every section that blended into another.
Blue to blue/gray blend
Blue/gray blend to gray
Gray to gray/light gray blend
Gray/light gray blend to Light Gray
Was I done yet? Of course not.
I wasn’t happy with the way the blended sections looked all cloudy and blended–for lack of a better word–next to the painted sections of blue, gray and light gray without any blends.
I decided to to add a step in the process that I’m going to call the “highlight” technique. If you’ve ever gotten your hair highlighted, you know that against one color are laced wisps of another color.
Last Step: The Highlight Technique
At this point, I had 5 colors I was using, in blends and plain shades. The idea of highlighting was to bring some of those horizontal swipes into the plain shades of blue, gray and light gray (bottom, middle, top).
After swiping on some horizontal strokes, I used the wet rag to soften the brush strokes–making it cloudy and hazy.
The blue/gray blend was brought up into the plain gray–very minimally. Same process with wiping and making it hazy.
The final step was to bring the gray/light gray blend up into the light gray plain section.
What do you think? Like most projects, by the end–would I go back and do it again? Was it worth it? I think–yes. Once I pair it with the bedding and other accessories, it’s going to be awesome.