My dad gave me this dresser and it took a while for me to get excited about painting it! That was until I brainstormed this gorgeous ombre furniture painting technique. It was so easy to achieve and I documented my entire process, so you too, can create this easy and fun look on your projects!
Lately I have been sticking to a new rule when buying furniture – if I am not excited about painting it right away then I don’t buy it. No matter how good the price is, if my creative juices aren’t overflowing about the piece, then I force myself to walk away. But my dad showed up with this dresser at my shop a few weeks ago that he had purchased from someone at his work. Thanks Dad!
I rarely turn down a freebie piece of furniture, with the exception of having it covered in cat pee or that it’s haunted by an evil spirit. Neither one of those have ever happened to me but if they do I will be prepared to kindly say “no thank you.”
I decided on painting the dresser in an ombre effect. I starting mixing and playing with different colors in my signature color line until I settled on the perfect crescendo of blue and green hues.
I have taught workshops using an ombre technique and milk paint to create these monogramed signs, so this wasn’t a new brand new idea I came up with. Just the first time I have slowed down long enough to document it for you!
The dresser measured about 42 inches in height so I marked off 4 sections with a piece of chalk, each measuring 10 inches. I knew I would blend the paints starting at the bottom, where the darkest color would start, so I wasn’t worried about the top extra few inches looking wonky.
If you want to play paint mixologist at home here are the ratios:
Darkest: Verdigris Green (next to the blues I also used it reads very blue, but by itself it is more green.)
1 part Ball Jar Blue & 1 Part Verdigris Green
Ball Jar Blue
Lightest: 3 parts French Vanilla & 1 part Ball Jar Blue
Then using the marked off sections as my guide, I painted the 4 colors in each section, starting at the bottom with the darkest color and working up to the lightest color at the top. Don’t worry about perfection because you are just going to blend the colors together. Get the paint on there and move on.
I let the paint dry overnight and the next day I got ready for blending the colors together.
Here is my set up.
I used 4 cups of water, one for each color I worked with. I also used 4 brushes, one for each color of paint. I just reused the paint brushes I had worked with the day before painting this piece, I wrapped them in a ziplock bag and stored them in the fridge overnight so they would still be moist and ready to use the next day.
I dabbed a bit of each paint color on a piece of cardboard and then dipped the brush into the water and blended as I went. Putting just a dab of paint on the cardboard keeps you from getting too much paint on your brush. It doesn’t take much.
I made a quick video showing how I blended the colors together with the water and the dabs of paint. I timed how long it took me to blend the front of the dresser and it was 8 minutes. So easy! PS: I did a time lapsed video so it’s only 1 minute. No one wants to watch paint dry for 8 minutes.
Because Heirloom Traditions is a chalk-type paint it dries very matte and when you brush a damp brush over the dried paint it blends together easily. I do not think this technique will be as easy with latex paint because latex doesn’t have the natural properties that chalk-type paint does so it won’t soften with water. Have you done this technique with latex? I would love to hear your tips.
Another bonus of running a damp brush over Heirloom Traditions after it has dried is that it levels out your brush strokes resulting in a super smooth finish. (More on achieving an ultra smooth paint finish HERE)
I sealed the piece in Aqua Clear Ultra Finish Top Coat in Satin, just to give the finish a little gloss. It needed some glam next to the gold textured knobs.
As you can see I left the top a solid color, the lightest of the 4, so there was no blending needed here. Easy peasy.
I would recommend to start the blending of the colors on the sides of your piece. This lets you get the hang of it before you work on the most obvious part of the dresser – the front. Did you notice I didn’t video me working on the sides of the dresser? By the time I worked on the front I had my system down. I always tell my workshop students – start on the back or the side of the piece – not the very top, front, most obvious place! It gives you time to get your painting mojo going before you tackle the most important part i.e.; the part of the furniture everyone will see first.
This dresser went from dullsville to mayor of fun town! Don’t you think?
PS: This piece will be for sale at my Lost & Foundry Monthly Market next weekend. We are having a Tag Sale (which is a fancy word for vintage garage sale!) so make sure you stop by or join my email list so you get a reminder.