DIY ombre canvas art

Ah ombre, as I write this, I’m sporting an ombre dye job. I might be a couple of months (seasons) late to game, but I don’t care. I love ombre. Barring a disastrous trip to my local hairdresser last December, I’m super happy with my ice blonde tips. Long story short, my small town Italian hairdresser made me look like Barbie… if she decided she really wanted to grow her dark brown roots out. It costs me €100 to fix it!

But this post is not about ombre hair. It’s about ombre art. I was flicking through Zara’s new collection last week and saw a plain white canvas and decor in one of their living room shots. Obviously they had it there as a nondescript placeholder piece that didn’t detract from the stuff you could buy, but it got me thinking. I currently have an empty wall in my guest bedroom that I’m itching to fill. Why not make a white on white on cream ombre canvas to fill it?

Ombre art can get really tacky, really fast, so you have to be careful. I’ve seen a lot of ombre walls on the internet and while I’m tempted, an ombre canvas is a cheap and non-permanent way to get on the trend without ruining an entire wall. This entire project cost me €16, so even if it only lasts a season, it won’t be the end of the world.

I know my white bread choice of colours is pretty staid, but I was going for subtlety and I really like the muted finished effect of white-on-white. You can use whatever colours you like. The trick is to stay in the same colour palette. Use those paint cards you find in hardware stores as a guide!

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MATERIALS

60x90cm canvas
white acrylic paint
brown acrylic paint
paintbrushes and plastic plates for mixing your colours

Prepare your colours. The traditional ombre method is to buy two colours. One light and one dark in the same colour palette. To produce the third colour, you simply mix dark with light to get somewhere in between.

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I strayed from this because I wanted 3 shades of white. So instead, I mixed a drop of brown paint with a lot of white to get a really light cream and then mixed another drop of brown to get an almost latte colour.

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Divide your canvas into three parts. Use a pencil to mark the edges of the canvas, but don’t draw lines. You cannot rub out pencil from a canvas – believe me, I’ve tried. Since you’re going to be blurring the edges, you don’t need exact sections anyway.

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Working quickly (the paint dries super fast), paint the bottom section white, the middle section light cream and the final section latte. Grab a medium-sized clean paint brush and start blending the colours with diagonal downwards motions. Keep blurring the borders until you can’t seem them anymore and then repeat in the opposite direction.

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Just like ombre hair, the key is to have a really subtle colour gradation. Just keep blending with criss-cross brush movements until you’re happy with the level of ombre.

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Leave to dry and hang for a really chic summer piece.

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