Eleventh Thing: Racking my brain

It seems that 2012 was the year when ombré went seriously mainstream. Not just the style (its been the big trend at the hair salon for a good while now, which you know is true when you can even get DIY kits) but also the word itself applied in all sorts of contexts from curtains to cakes to M&S men’s pants (how much more mainstream is there!?)

Ombré comes from the French, meaning shading. Once upon a time, we used to call it dip dye or colour gradient: it was one of my favourite tools when I first learned to use photoshop to use the bucket fill to make a precision blend from one colour to another (usually for a cheesy background sunset along these lines.) Perhaps ‘gradient’ sounded too mathematical and dip dye too hippy for the fashion world, which reminds me of one of the only jokes I can ever remember: Q: what are hippies for? A: to keep your leggies on.


Talking of fashion, a perpetual dilemma is where to keep one’s shoes, especially if you’ve put your shoe boxes to other use. As I explained in an earlier post, my historic relationship with shoes is checkered, but I do still have enough pairs, if not to merit an Imelda Marcos museum reputation or even a Carrie Bradshaw shoe closet, then to require a small shoe-rack to keep them neat.

I’ve been planning to paint mine blue as long as I had it: over a decade I’m sure. And inspired by this multi-coloured wooden porch mat, I thought some ombré blue would be just the job.

I picked two shades of blue: a darker one for the uprights and connectors and then a brighter blue for the slats. The outside ones were painted in the original blue, then as I moved inwards, the paint was mixed 25%, 50% and 75% with white. In case I didn’t mix enough and needed to make more to match, I did precision measuring using scales. All that maths did make my brain hurt a bit!

To finish off, the whole thing was varnished with three coats of clear varnish to make it more durable when I hurl my shoes at it in the porch.

Tools / special requirements: paintbrush (ideally one that doesn’t shed bristles)

Time taken: Lost track a bit as was doing it off and on while watching telly, but estimate about 5 hours to paint slats and the varnish (plus drying time.)

Things learned: 2013 will be all about reverse dip dye hair. God help us.

Satisfaction (1-10): 8






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