DIY Wall Art: Ombre Diptych

Posted by: on August 19th, 2013 | 14 Comments
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DIY Wall Art: Ombre Diptych made from stained wood

If you’ve ever embarked on the challenge of decorating your home, whether it’s a tiny apartment or a large space, you know what a challenge it can be to find large pieces of art to hang on the wall. That’s not to mention that artwork can be expensive! As any DIYer knows, however, there’s always room to try your hand at some DIY wall art! With just a few materials and some time, you can create large pieces that are sure to create a striking focal point in your home.

I created these two large paintings, combined to make a diptych, with just a couple of supplies and some creativity! Find the full step-by-step instructions below for this DIY wall art project.


Supplies for DIY wall art project


For this project, I used the following materials:


Sanding wood with fine grit sandpaper for a DIY wall art project


Begin by sanding down your pieces of wood. Be sure to sand with the grain of the wood, and don’t forget to polish up the edges.

When you’re done, be sure to use a tack cloth to wipe down the wood before you begin staining.


Staining wood using staining pad for a DIY wall art project


Once you’ve finished sanding and wiped the wood clean, you can begin staining. Use either a staining pad or a clean cloth to wipe the stain on the bottom two inches or so of the wood.

Work the stain into the wood with a cloth, then wipe it off with a clean cloth.


Mixing paint thinner into stain for a DIY wall art project


To create the ombre effect, I used paint thinner to lighten the stain. First, I used the original stain on the very bottom of the board, then as I worked upward, I gradually added more and more paint thinner into a cup of the stain to gradually lighten the color.


Using the thinned stain, begin gradually working the stain up the wood for this DIY wall art project


You can see here that I worked the stain (diluted with paint thinner) into the wood, creating a gradual lighting.

Once you’re satisfied with the gradations in the color, you can move onto the gold.


Painting with gold for DIY wall art project



I employed the same method for the gold as the stain, adding gold in its original form to the top of the wood, then gradually adding paint thinner as I moved toward the middle.

Before painting with the gold, be sure to read the directions, which discourage you from working too much with the paint or from adding a second coat.


Adding paint thinner to paint in a DIY wall art project


Because this Rust-Oleum paint is oil-based, you can use paint thinner to dilute the paint. This method means that the paint has the same color, it just goes on thinner, creating a lighter finish.


Adding paint thinner to paint for a DIY wall art project


Gradually move toward the middle of the board with the diluted gold paint to create your ombre finish.


Ombre from stained to gold in a DIY wall art project

Here, you can see that the gold is extremely thick at the bottom, but gradually lightens as it moves toward the middle.

Let the wood dry for several days before moving onto the next step.


Using a patching compound to five the edges of the board a finished look in a DIY wall art project


In order to give my paintings a finished look, I decided to use a patching compound on the edges.

I tackled this step once the stain and paint dried completely because I didn’t want any patching compound to get onto the board pre-stain. This would create lots of discoloration when the stain was applied to the wood. I knew that if I applied the patching compound after the stain, I’d be much more careful, and I’d immediately be able to spot any flecks of compound on my canvas, and I could quickly remove them. Either method would yield similar results though.


Using a patching compoung to five the edges of the board a finished look in a DIY wall art project


Use a putty knife or hammer end joint knife to create a smooth finish along the edges.


Try to work the compound until you can get the smoothest finish possible in this DIY wall art project


You want the patching compound to be as smooth as possible, but you will be sanding the edges once the compound is dried, so it doesn’t have to be completely perfect.


Once compound is fully dry, sand it with a fine grit sandpaper in this DIY wall art project


Once the patching compound is completely dried, sand the edges with a fine grit sandpaper (I used 180 grit).

Wipe off all the sanding dust from the edges and any that may have fallen onto your canvas with a tack cloth.


Once it is smooth, begin painting with your gold paint in this DIY wall art project


Once it is smooth, begin painting with your gold paint.


Painting edge with gold paint in this DIY wall art project


This side doesn’t need to be perfect, but again, follow the directions on the label, and don’t work with the paint too much or re-coat.


Use d-rings to hang the DIY wall art project


Once the edges are all painted and dried, it’s time to hang your diptych!

To hang the paintings, I chose a simple pair of D-rings for each painting, then connected them with picture hanging wire. The picture hanging wire is optional, as you can also just use two different nails for the D-rings if you prefer.


Use a straight edge to make uniform spacing for D-rings in this DIY wall art project


I used a simple straight edge to measure where I would add the D-rings. You could also use a tape measure if you prefer. Because I decided to connect the rings with picture hanging wire, it isn’t necessary for the rings to be precisely level, as the wire will naturally level the painting.


Adding the D-rings to hang the DIY wall art project


After marking on the wood where your D-ring will go, you can use a drill to attach the D-rings.


Use a drill to tighten the screws into the D-rings in the DIY wall art project


Before drilling into my board, I made sure the included screws in the package of D-rings wouldn’t be too long for the board (meaning they wouldn’t pierce through to the finished side). Double check before drilling. You definitely don’t want to puncture a hole in your artwork!


Add picture hanging wire to D-rings in the DIY wall art project


Once the D-rings are in place, fasten the picture hanging wire using tight loops.


Adding picture hanging wire to D-rings in the DIY wall art project


In the photo above, it’s hard to see the picture hanging wire stretching between the D-rings, but it is there.

Now you’re ready to hang your diptych!


Use painter's tape to create a level line on your wall to hang the DIY wall art evenly


My favorite method when hanging two frames at the same height is to add a piece of painter’s tape to the wall. Then use a level to make sure the tape is perfectly even. Then, you can use the tape as a guide so that you hang the nails at the same height.


Use painter's tape to create a level line on your wall to hang the diptych evenly


You can see that I simply hung the nail just below the painter’s tape, then hung my first painting. It came out perfectly level.


Hang your second painting and remove the painter's tape


Now you can hang your second painting, and simply peel the painter’s tape off the wall behind the painting! Voila!


Finished edge of painting in the DIY wall art project


You’ll also notice that the finished sides all the way around give it a much more expensive and polished look.

DIY Décor is a series about small, affordable design and décor projects for home and garden.

Follow our All About Paint board on Pinterest for more DIY ideas like this one. 

Shop our online Paint Department, too, for paint, primer, stain and more.


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Leave a Comment

  1. Cassie says:

    Am in the process of making these. We followed the directions to a “t”. The artwork has been drying for a day, and we have yet to paint the sides, but will do so later this week. I’d like to share a few things we noticed in the process.

    The biggest thing we noticed is the paint wouldn’t crackle like it did in this rendition. I think to get the paint to crackle you have to put it on insanely thick.

    Second, you have to put a lot of paint thinner to get the stain to get lighter but you don’t need a lot to get the gold to go lighter. We went all the way to the top with the stainer but had we to do it over again we’d stop before we got to the top. We only painted 3/4 the way down, ours is a more gradual ombre effect.

    Finally, we made an extra board. I highly advise this because then you can pick the best two (or in our case 3). We will be cutting the 4th board into 4 and adding picture frames in the middle to put in our game room.

    If someone would like pictures of our final product you may leave your email address and i’ll provide some when we finish in a few days. All and all this is a very interesting project, and turned out better than expected (though not as great as the pic due to the lack of crackling). It will work well to cover up a large wall space.

  2. Liz says:

    We featured this in our Gold Inspired DIY Round-up Post! 27 Awesome DIY projects all in one place.

    Here’s the link:

  3. Dorelle Andersen says:

    Just found your blog so I’m sorry for the late post. I’m confused like your other reader, the finished pictures definitely look like they have a cracking medium on them and they look like the paint is way thicker than you suggest. I like the finished product I just want to know how to get there craftwise.

  4. Hello again! I featured your ombre diptych in my monthly blog series, Get Your Color On!. Each month I select a color, provide tips on how to decorate with it, and feature other bloggers with their projects that relate to this color.

    This month’s post is all about silver and gold, so I featured your project because I love how you combine an earthy, natural look with just the right amount of glam.
    Feel free to grab a featured button and check out my post at Get Your Color On! Silver & Gold. Thanks for sharing your amazing creativity!

  5. [...] a look at how Caroline from Home Depot’s DIY Decor created this wall art with wood panels, stain, and gold p…. These would be perfect for adding a larger dose of gold to your room without altering the [...]

  6. Love the simplicity of this project, and yet it’s artistic in an abstract way. Pinning!

  7. Looks great!!! At first glance it looks super fancy and expensive :)

  8. Teresa says:

    The finished product looks like it is sealed with a laquer of some sort, and the gold paint looks like it has a crackling effect and much thicker than the boards above. Did you seal it?

    • Hi Teresa,

      I didn’t seal them. The gold Rustoleum paint that I used is a high gloss oil-based paint, so it has a very shiny finish when it dries almost like a lacquer.

      Let me know if you have any other questions.

      Senior Editor, The Apron Blog

  9. Awesome DIY project. You have solved my problem of covering up two(2) electrical panels.
    Thanks, Laurie