DIY Coral Ombre Dresser

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DIY Coral Ombre Dresser via

The pics of this will be no surprise to anyone who saw the room reveal last week, but I thought I’d share the process for painting an ombre piece with you! Truth be told, this dresser holds a lot of history and, as I found out, a few challenges. It is a ‘vintage’ piece and has been in the family for more than four decades. Recall this is what it looked like before being reclaimed.Ombre Dresser 1

While it looked alright from afar, up close, the top was really damaged. It was scuffed, scraped, stained and, in some places, it was cracked.Ombre Dresser 2 Initially, I had hoped to sand down the white paint and stain the top of this dresser. But due to the fragile nature of the top piece, I decided I didn’t want to risk using a power sander on it just in case it totally split on me. Which leads me to …

Step One: Sand down your piece. (If your item is laminate or veneer, you can skip this step and opt for an extra light coat of paint/primer instead.) Zuzu and Louie decided this was a good time to inspect my work and evaluate my choices. LOLOmbre Dresser 4

I had to scrape off bits and mend parts of this dresser as I was sanding. I used a medium grit paper with a hand sanding block. It took some elbow grease, but after about 20 minutes, it was looking alright. Then I wiped it down with a damp rag.

Step Two: Using a foam roller and a small foam brush, I painted the body of the dresser white. I used a paint and primer in one, but because of all the staining and pitting, it took three coats to get it good and even. You can see in this side-by-side that it was still quite uneven after just one coat. So three was the solution.Ombre Dresser 3

Step Three: Remove drawer hardware. I actually like the clean lines of the hardware, so I’m going to keep them. Now is the fun part – mix your ombre! I used a Rule of Threes to achieve my ombre effect. Basically, because my ombre is three drawers high, I made sure my ratios always equalled three parts. Using two tin containers from the grocery store and the paint can (Pittsburgh Paint’s Coral Crush), I measured my paint like so -

  • BOTTOM DRAWERS – 3 parts Coral Crush straight up
  • MIDDLE DRAWERS – 2 parts Coral Crush to 1 part white
  • TOP DRAWERS – 1 part Coral Crush to 2 parts white

For ‘parts’ I used an old Tablespoon we had – I’m not even kidding ;) It really doesn’t take much paint to cover a drawer front!Ombre Dresser 5

So, if your dresser had four drawers, I’d do Drawer 1 as 4 parts all colour, Drawer 2 as 1 part white 3 parts colour, Drawer 3 as 2 parts white to 2 parts colour and Drawer 4 as 3 parts white to 1 part colour. Am I making sense? I hope so. Oh if my Grade 7 math teacher could see me now! Blogging about ratios and fractions! Whaaa?! haha

Step Four: This was a departure for me. Normally, I’d use a foam roller and brush on the entire piece but this time I decided to try my hand at brushing on paint with an angle-bristle brush. The trick is to do SUPER LIGHT coats and let the paint dry for at least an hour between coats. I had to do three once again to achieve the right evenness. I sanded very lightly between the second and third coats to get rid of some more obvious brush marks.

The drawers were almost in worse shape than the top of the dresser, so there are areas that will never be perfect, but that’s alright with me.

Here’s a shot of the drawers drying after the first coat of ombre. Ombre Dresser 6

Step Five: If you know me, you know what’s coming :) POLYCRYLIC the living daylights outta it. I did not want this dresser falling victim to another decade of stains, scuffs and otherwise unsightly marks. So, where usually I’d do two or three coats of Polycryclic – this time I did FIVE coats on the dresser top. Remember to always use a bristle brush and stroke in only one direction (like you’re painting your fingernails) or your project will end up streaky and you will probably be sad. Also, do this in a well ventilated area (or be like me and be proud of the number of brain cells you’ve sacrificed in the name of furniture reclaims. It’s really your choice. haha)Ombre Dresser 12

And there you have it! A vintage ombre dresser :) Hopefully this lasts for another few decades, in which time I’m sure it will go through at least a couple more transformations.Ombre Dresser 8 Ombre Dresser 9

Some people say ombre is over… but I still really like the way it can bring bold colour and softness all at the same time.Ombre Dresser 11 Ombre Dresser 10

As always – thanks for reading! Also, feel free to drop an email or comment if you have any questions about process. Sometimes I think I forget to explain certain steps :) Hope you try some ombre soon!


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DIY Passion

Ahoy! We are Erin and Dan - a couple on a quest to make a house a home. We met in beautiful Halifax, Nova Scotia in 2009 in a record store (yes, seriously). Since then, we've moved from the city to the sea into a house that admittedly needed some love. Here's where we share our journey through DIYs - from building and constructing, sewing and crafting, musing and inspiring, designing and curating. We'd love for you to subscribe to our Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram feeds to follow along and chime in. Thanks for stopping by! xoxo