How To: DIY Yellow Ombre Striped Feature Wall
You all might recall that I took a friendly bet with a good friend to not paint any walls in our home for the one year we live here. He thought I couldn’t do it, I bet him I could…we’re 6 months in (1/2 way!!!) and I’m going strong. But just because I’m not painting in my own home doesn’t mean I can’t help other people in theirs, right? I am super excited to be popping in today with a non-holiday project: I’m going to show you how to paint an ombre-striped effect onto a wall! This one has 6 stripes that we achieved using just three paint colors plus white. Read on to see how we created this amazing focal wall in a single day!
One of my older sisters recently bought a small, rundown fixer upper. Her and her husband have been painstakingly dealing with all of the structural, insulation, electrical and plumbing issues over the last few months; and I have been watching with anticipation and envy every step of the way. They are nearing the end of the not-so-fun work and are ready to move onto the more fun jobs…like painting! My sister envisioned a happy and bright ombre-striped feature wall in the main living and dining space, and I was so excited to help her pull it off! These hands and arms have been hankering to paint!
Here is the feature wall, primed and ready for our striped treatment. The wall literally runs from the very front to (almost) the very back of the home (it’s a tiny house!). The nice high ceilings and large windows provide ample light and make the room feel pretty big. It’s been my experience that horizontal stripes can help a room feel even wider, so I thought this plan was perfect for this little house!
For the paint, we used HGTV HOME by Sherwin-Williams from Lowes. I love that their colors are all coordinated to work in harmony, so you are guaranteed to find a combination that looks good together (whether you are looking for similar or different colors!). For an ombre wall, finding hues that will blend nicely can always be tricky; but using colors on a single paint strip is always a good (and safe!) place to start.
For this project we used:
- Lemon Chiffonade (HGSW1177)
- Panoramic Gold (HGSW1176)
- Outrigger (HGSW1175)
- White core (HGSW4051)
Since the ceilings are so high and we really wanted a very gradual effect, we planned for 6 stripes, each measuring 17″ tall. However, the paint strip we chose only included three shades of yellow. Instead of hunting down additional paint colors that would work between each shades, we added white to our shopping cart and planned to mix the paints to achieve 6 different shade of yellow. I’ll show you the easy (and surprising!) way we did it below.
There are various ways to achieve a striped wall (with or without an ombre effect). We really wanted to complete this feature wall in a single day so we were very strategic in our painting and drying timeline and technique. Instead of painting one stripe at a time and allowing each to dry before moving on, we chose to work on alternating stripes in the three different colors straight from the paint cans first. This ultimately shortened our dry time before adding second coats and the remaining stripes.
With this type of striped wall, there is no need to tape twice, so save your tape and your time by applying the first three (alternating) colors to the wall in the general area of where the stripe will be. While you don’t need to measure exactly or tape, I did find it helpful to measure and draw a (very light) pencil line an inch outside the final stripe dimensions to ensure we painted wide enough in each space.
Dealing with multiple shades of the same paint color can be very, very tricky…especially when the paint is wet and the hues are quite close. We quickly determined that a number system would help us keep everything straight as we worked our way through the colors and multiple coats. We numbered the stripes from top to bottom down the wall as #1-#6. Each paint bucket, roller, tray and brush were then numbered to match the coordinating stripe.
Speaking of rollers and brushes, we used Clear-cut Glide Brushes for cutting in around the trim and White Dover Rollers for the walls…both products are by Purdy. I have used Purdy brushes for years on all my wall and furniture painting projects and have loved them. No other brush feels as good in your hand; there are never any loose hairs in your paint job; and with good washing each time, you can keep them forever. This is my first experience with Purdy rollers, and I was quite pleasantly surprised how well they covered. Before this project, a roller was a roller was a roller to me. I really didn’t expect any dramatic difference from a generic roller. However, I was very impressed at how well these rollers covered with just a few passes on the wall. No more “w”s over and over!
Just a few hours in, stripes 1, 3, and 5 were complete with 2 coats each.
With the first round of stripes painted and dry, it was time for the more precise measuring and taping. Using a level and a pencil, we measured out 17″ stripes all the way down the wall. I have found that drawing a light pencil line all the way across is the easiest for putting up the tape nice and straight. The paint often covers the pencil line, making it unnoticeable in the end.
NOTE: This is a very old house and almost nothing, but especially the walls, ceiling and trim, is square. We had to decide if we wanted the stripes to parallel the trim or be perfectly level. I’ve learned that the wonky-ness of a wall will be more noticeable if you choose to make your stripes perfectly level instead of in line with the trim. As such, we chose to make the stripes parallel to the trim, measuring down from the ceiling for each stripe.
When taping, make sure you tape to the outside of the stripe you will be painting, meaning tape above and/or below your pencil line. Make sure your tape is straight and pressed firmly to the wall. Pay special attention to the tape near the trim and baseboards, as there can be gaps when going around corners. Any gaps in tape can lead to bleeds, so spend some time ensuring it’s all pressed down well.
We considered lots of different options for mixing the paint to create an ombre effect. Originally, we planned to mix white with each hue to create the step in between the pre-mixed stripes. However, white can often turn a color quite light and pastel, and we worried the colors wouldn’t fade right. Ultimately, we decided to mix a new color with half and half of the paint from each neighboring stripe to create a perfectly balanced hue right in the middle. It’s a bit hard to explain in words, so refer to the photo below. Stripes 1, 3 and 5 were our HGTV colors…Stripes 2, 4, and 6 were achieved by mixing as follows:
When mixing paints yourself, consider these tips:
- Use buckets that have measurements written on the sides so you can be sure you’re mixing your desired proportions correctly.
- It will be near impossible to get the exact color mixed correctly by hand again, so mix enough paint to do two full coats of whatever space you’re covering.
- Mix the paint really, really well before loading up your rollers and brushes. Ensure the two colors are fully incorporated so you will be sure to have one solid color once it’s up on the walls.
With the stripes taped and the paint mixed, all that was left was to re-number our trays, buckets, rollers and brushes and paint the final three stripes. After painting the second coat, we peeled the tape right away (while the paint was still wet) to reveal perfect lines with no bleeding! It’s always nerve-wracking to peel off the tape, and since we were doing so late at night after we lost our light…we weren’t quite sure how well the fade worked.
The next morning…boy, were we excited to see a perfect fade down the wall!
Honestly, this mixing method was a bit of a gamble, and we were so relieved when it worked just the way we hoped it would. If you’re looking to do an ombre-like wall and don’t want to buy gallons of different paint colors, I highly suggest giving this method a try!
This little house of my sister’s has a long way to go before it’s ready for its close up…which, fingers crossed…I’ll be able to show you in time! For now, this bright sunny wall was a great project for me to get my painting fix and try a new paint treatment I’ve never done before. And while my sister and brother-in-law continue to work on the less exciting elements of a fixer upper, hopefully it will perk them up and keep them motivated for the prettier work ahead!
I’m bustling putting the final touches on our holiday home for this year. Fingers crossed I have the whole tour ready for you to see here on Friday!
I did not receive compensation for this blog post; however Lowes and Purdy did provide the paint, brushes and rollers for me to use and review. Please remember that I only work with brands and products I fully support and that make sense for my home, my family, and this blog. All opinions are 100% my own!
6 Comments on “How To: DIY Yellow Ombre Striped Feature Wall”
I LOVE my “sunny” wall that is a bright spot in our otherwise yet to be spiffed up “tiny” house. I was so happy that Megan was willing to take the time to assist me with this painting project. When she indicated we could tackle it in a day I was somewhat skeptical, but she was right! I am not nearly as talented as my younger sister and she provided the guidance and knowledge to make this project a complete success. It was actually quite a bit easier than I had envisioned and she has given me the confidence to consider some other fun painting projects in the remainder of this fixer-upper. Thank you again to Megan for all her help and to Henry for his patience with public TV as we tackled this project.
Ok, I am in love. This is so pretty. I am picturing this in my girls rooms, once we split them and get to repainting the walls. The yellow is so perfect. Light but so welcoming. I cannot wait. Thanks for sharing the how to. You did a fabulous job. You have one lucky sister!
Looks very cool! Love it! (And yes, at first when I saw the post, I did think that you lost your bet with John…) 🙂
Your sister was lucky to have you to help her for this job! I think these stripes needs high walls which is not the case in our new homes but it’s quite nice and soft ! Have a nice time at home. Michèle
Hello Megan. I just discovered thehomesihavemade, and I am so happy I did. I’m going to tell you what I love about you. You explain your steps in a way I understand. You have good pictures to demonstrate what you’re doing. I have total confidence that I can follow your steps.
You may or may not know, that is unusual on the Internet today. Thanks so much for the difference you make.
Thank you so much for this kind note. All too often, it becomes hard to remember there are people out there cheering me on…so thank you for taking the time to leave me such a nice thought. I am so glad you found my site, and find what I do helpful and inspiring! I’m excited to have a reader like you following along!