Ombre Owl Artwork (from Dollar Store Halloween decor)

I love “distressed” art projects.  They’re so forgiving.  If it isn’t perfect, or you really mess something up…. that’s ok.  I meant to do that.  That being the case, I really enjoy this type of project.  Here’s my latest:
Ombre Owl Artwork, using Halloween silhouettes from the Dollar Store.

This was really quite easy to do.
Supplies needed:

  • Owl silhouette cut outs from your local Dollar Store
  • Wooden board  (I used a 24″ x 24″ piece of 1/2″ plywood)
  • Spray adhesive (I recommend Martha Stewart Stencil Adhesive Spray)
  • Black spray paint
  • At least 3 colors of acrylic paint in the same color family
  • 1″ paint brush
  • Gold acrylic paint

The owl cut-outs come 15 to a pack and had two different designs.  I played around with placement and got a general idea where I wanted them.  I sprayed the board black* and when completely dry, I sprayed the back of each paper owl with the stencil spray adhesive and firmly pressed into place. I don’t measure, I just eyeball where I want the owls to be.  Remember… it’s distressed.  It doesn’t have to be perfect.  (*Yes, you can use black acrylic paint instead of spray paint, but in my experience you run the risk of pulling up some of the paint when you remove the stencil.  Spray paint doesn’t do that.)

Now lets paint our ombre effect.

I always start with the lightest color and work my way up to the darkest, using the same brush and just blending as I go.

One thing to keep in mind.  These owls are paper.  When paper gets wet it starts to warp, so you’ll want to move fairly quickly.  Try not to have the brush strokes go on to the owls as much as come off of the owls.
Like this:

If you had the paint pulling towards the owl you risk the paint bleeding under it.  It’s not a perfect seal and you want to take care when applying the paint to minimize that risk.

You’ll notice that the paper owls will start to warp once the paint soaks in to them.  That makes it easier to peel the paper back off.  (Since the stencil adhesive is designed to be repositionable, that helps too.)  Peel off all of the owls and let it dry thoroughly.

Next?  Sand the crap out of it.

You want the black paint to show through in places.  Sand, sand, sand.  Then sand some more.  If you don’t have a hand sander, you can pick up a cheap one for about $10.  Every craft supply closet should have one.

Wipe it down with a slightly damp cloth to get all of the dust off of it, then water down some gold paint to make a wash.

Applying this watered down gold paint in a light coat creates a bit of a sheen, but it also adds to the distressed “old” look by muting the colors a bit.

I’m very happy with how this turned out.  $1 for the owls, $3 for the board and I had everything else on hand.  Yay me for keeping it under $5!

The Dollar Store had spider cut outs too.  (I’m just sayin’…)

about Vivienne Wagner


  1. says

    $3 for the wood? I just bought a piece for the sign I made for the guest bedroom and paid $33. Now, I did buy a nice piece of pre-sanded pine but $3? Clearly I’m shopping at the wrong store!

    I love this and may have to add it to my Halloween collection!


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