Serious Education ... plus the most fun you can have in metal finishing.
How to Faux Paint a Tin Ceiling
Q. I recently remodeled my kitchen. It is an old Victorian home and I thought that I would like to try a tin ceiling. What I want to know is if I can faux paint one. Does anyone have any ideas about where I can start?Cindy F [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Appleton, Wisconsin
Q. Hello... I also would like to achieve the look of a tin ceiling with paint. Do you have any ideas?Vicki Y [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Fayetteville, Georgia
A. I used paintable wallpaper that I bought at Lowe's for about $10 a double roll. They have one design that actually looks liked old tin when painted. The design is raised and it is very authentic looking.S Morton
Making wallpaper look like tin despite coming in strips(2003)
Q. I also am trying to get the tin ceiling look. My first thought was to the wallpaper, that looks like a tin ceiling but thought that the 21", or what ever it is, would appear like strips of wall paper, not a tin ceiling. How do you put it up without the seams showing? Could a stamp be made of something that had a tin ceiling pattern and then stamp it? There must be a solution.Pam N [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Lanesboro, Minnesota
A. I have used the embossed wallpaper. I work at Home Depot in blinds & wallpaper dept. The designer & I displayed the papers on 4 x 8 sheets of plywood & had them hung to show different ways to paint embossed paper. We painted one silver, one copper & and one to look like brass, using the Ralph Lauren metallics in the quart jars. The panels turn out beautiful. We also washed 1/2 of each board with paint to resemble tarnished metals. They hung in the store for 3-5 mos. People would pass and say look at the tin ceilings. We were very pleased with our results. We used the paper with the 6 x 6 inch square design. I am going to use the bigger square (12 x 12) for my ceiling in dining room at my 120 yr. old cottage.
PS: we used teal color wash for copper, black for the silver & brownish for brass. looked very real.
Thanks,Gail G [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Lenox, Michigan
A. I also lived in a old Victorian home and redid the bathroom. I wanted a tin ceiling in there and I tried the embossed wallpaper on the ceiling. I did have some trouble getting the paper to stick but used staples also. I was concerned about the seams and how they would look so after I hung the paper and painted it with the metal paints, I trimmed all the edges and all the seams with a one inch trim board which was painted the same color. It turned out wonderful. I got so many comments saying how real it looked.Jackie K [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Bentonville, Arkansas
A. I just finished two rooms in my home with the embossed, tin-looking wallpaper and it turned out awesome. I cut the wallpaper which was 6"x6" squares into 4 by 4 squares (resembling tin plates) which I could handle easily by myself when hanging. I found the paper on E-bay for 9 bucks a roll. I also found the ceiling texture was a big factor for the pre-pasted wallpaper to adhere properly (also when they say to soak the paper for 5 seconds take 10 and only let sit 3 to five minutes for booking). The flatter or non textured, the better and easier. I wallpapered over one ceiling with that had that sand additive for texture in the paint, and had lots of trouble making the squares match up. Solution, white caulking on the spots that lifted from the ceiling and two coats of paint. Looks great. I had to write back after finishing my project, because I used a lot of good advise from you all!Lacy W [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Janesville, California
(2004) -- this entry appended to this thread by editor in lieu of spawning a duplicative thread
Q. I would like to faux paint ceiling tin for a decorative purposes. I would like to find out how you begin this process. Thanks.Lisa C [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
hobbyist - Friendswood, Texas
I just found this thread and am interested, but have a different twist. We have a basement room with no ceiling, as of yet, and would like to make it look like a tin ceiling. I would rather NOT sheet rock, since I would like access to plumbing, etc. So, my next thought was. . could I use drop ceiling tiles and wallpaper them, stamp them, paint them to look like tin. I'm REALLY cheap, so my next thought was, could I attach the tiles right to the flooring joists, so I wouldn't have to pay for the grids? Any thoughts?
- Holdingford, Minnesota
A. Easy to do!
Armstrong sells a staple up embossed ceiling tile 12 x 12 or 24 x 24 that can go directly onto bottom of studs, you can also buy a trackless hidden mounting system (I have done both ways, it is way faster to use the system if doing a large area)
Armstrong also sells almost the same tile in system designed for standard drop ceiling grids
Both tiles styles are paintable and look wonderful done with aluminum paint (1 coat only - looks a bit dull, helps to hid any imperfections)
These tiles can be ordered directly from Armstrong or the stores.
- Portsmouth, Rhode Island
Floor joists will probably be on 16" centers rather than 12" or 24", so it seems you would still need furring strips rather than stapling directly to the floor joists. But if otherwise, please explain. Thanks.
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey
Thanks! I will check out this option. We have a Home Depot in our area, but not Lowe's.Marcia O [returning]
- Holdingford, Minnesota
Q. I want to use the existing drop in ceiling that I have and wallpaper each panel in the faux tin ceiling paper. The problem that I run into is that the panels also have a vinyl coating on them. I can't figure out what paste to use that will keep a heavy wallpaper w/ paint on them without eating them away. Any ideas? Has anyone else every done this? P.S. I did look at replacing with the drop in tin or tin look panels but they were either way out of my price range or too thin plastic to look good.Doreen R [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
office manager - Galesburg, Illinois
Q. I love all your Q&As!
Can you please tell me how to make my drop ceiling look like a tin copper one? I would love to have step by step.
I just opened a restaurant and I am on a budget. Money is getting very tight and I need help. I find it very hard to believe it can appear the same, but your letters kind of convinced me. Can you help ? I would appreciate it very much. Thank you. Looking forward to hearing from you.
Broke in New York.
- Brookhaven, New York
A. A ceiling look can be obtained with paint. You would have to pick what type of metallic paint you would like the tone to be and a stencil with what decorative design you'd like. It would be time consuming, but it can be done. You'd start with the metallic paint. Painting the whole ceiling... then lining up your squares, taping them off if you want the squares showing.. Then color washing the ceiling in either a brassy dark tone of antique black ... depending on the color of your metallic. Then stencil your squares with metallic again with a light roller. When done color wash lightly.
It can be done.
vanfaux - White Lake, Michigan
A. I decor8 for a living and they have come out with Tin looking wallpapers that are already painted. Bronze, Gold, copper, silver, pewter, greens, reds blues and yellows
Warner wall coverings have these. Oh they make my life so much easier... These papers are really pretty. Any paint or wallpaper store that carry catalogs of wallpaper books can order these for you.
Good luck and you will love papered ceilings. Do not forget to size your ceilings first. That way the seams do not open and shrink. Then you can remove it later on down the line.
Best to you
- Nashville, Tennessee
A. My home is an updated Victorian (approximately 120 years old); although the styling has changed considerably over the years. The interior style is French Farmhouse. The kitchen was added about 25 years ago. It's a large, open area with pantries only ~ no overhead cabinets. The finish on the pantry doors is dark oak and due to the volume of surface area, it would really save my budget to create interest to the ceiling rather than the cabinetry. I've decided on a tin ceiling look. (I would love to have real metal, but I don't want the kitchen noise to bounce around the room.) The wonderful faux, metal-look products on the market today are the solution! Since I'm a copper collector, I've decided to go with an antique copper finish. I hope my "closet designer" ideas will encourage others to consider faux ceiling finishes, too.BONI H [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- PACIFIC GROVE, California
A. I live in a mobile home that has the typical "daisy head" screws and wood strips on the ceiling. Two years ago I replaced all the screws with 1-1/4" sheet rock screws and taped the seams using sheet rock mud to cover the heads and seams. I then thinned the mud and did a half moon swirl design with a brush attached to an ice pick. I measured so as to have a uniform look. It turned out great and helped to cover the imperfections in the existing ceiling. The only room I did not do was my bathroom. I have decided to create a faux ceiling tin with sheet rock mud. I am in the process of prep work now and am excited to get started. I plan to use stencils designed for sculpturing that I purchased at Lowes. I will measure the space into 12x12 grid using string to pop the lines onto the ceiling. It will be a 2 phase project with the 1st stencil creating the tile block using a 12" spreader to create a smooth surface. After that dries, I will go back over each "tile" with the decorative stencil then paint in a silver and burnish with a diluted black paint. It will be a time consuming project, but my hopes are high that it will turn out great.Leta Woolard
- Mill Spring, Missouri
This thread is so amazing and heartening. I am so sick of my drop ceiling that the previous home owners left. My home is over 100 years old and I can't afford to take the ceiling down and deal with all the pipes and wires so my only hope is faux tin tiles to keep an old look. So many have described success doing this but what I need is a visual. Can anyone point to any visuals anywhere or give exact sites for ordering and viewing these effects? I think it would be so helpful. I think doing this faux tin drop ceiling project is so much easier when you see what it looks like finished.
Artist, designer - Saugerties, New York
January 3, 2008
Q. I want any and all the help possible for my dilemma. Moved into a 20 year old house and believe it or not didn't realize until we moved in that the whole house has cottage cheese ceilings. I wanted to know if by any chance the tin look wallpaper would work on a cottage cheese ceiling. I am worried about it not sticking and would like any and all the help to deal with this problem. I love the old fashioned look and would like the real tin but the main problem area, which is the kitchen which flows into the dinette into the family room is way to large of an area cost wise for the real tin. This area is also connected to a hallway where there is a bathroom, laundry room and bedroom.Harriet Damico
home owner - Pennsylvania
Q. I want to wallpaper my dropped ceiling panels to look like tin, however I do not know what to do about the metal frame work. I would appreciate ideas.
hobbyist - New Phila, Ohio
March 8, 2008
A. For faux tin ceilings on drop ceilings, use the embossed wallpaper. Adhere to the ceiling tiles using outdoor carpet glue and disposable brushes. Cut the paper slightly larger than the tile then trim with scissors. Be sure to let the glue get tacky ( 15 to 20 min) before putting on the paper. I use those light fiberglass tiles with the shiny surface and the paper sticks with no problem. If you use paper with 12" by 12" look squares you need to be sure you line them up straight and in the same pattern on each 2x2 or 2x4 tile so the lines match when you put up the tiles. Paint the grids the same color as you plan to paint the paper such as silver or copper. Use a small roller. Good luckKen Williams
- Oregon, Illinois
April 22, 2008
If you want tin look on dropped ceilings use PVC decorative ceiling tiles and if you want tin look over popcorn use decorative ceiling tiles.Both are inexpensive and easy to install.
hobbyist - Margate, Florida
May 8, 2008
Q. Can anyone who has had success with the embossed wallpaper to create a faux tin ceiling please post an image?
artist - Saugerties, New York
Ed. note: Simply email any pics to firstname.lastname@example.org, labeling them for "letter 14828". Thanks.
June 16, 2008
Q. I am opening a business in a store that is about 1200 square feet. I am doing the whole decor Victorian and I want to have a tin look to add to the decor. What is there now is your typical drop down ceiling with 2' by 4' panels and fluorescent lighting. I will be changing the lighting to recessed lighting, but I need to know the best way to do the faux tin. I check into changing the panels to just faux tin panels you can buy, but unfortunately, not all the panels on the ceiling are the same size and it would cost me a fortune to have them custom made.
If I was to try the wallpapering, how would I work around the metal frame that runs around the panels?
- St. Cloud, Florida
July 21, 2008
A. There are stencils available that are thicker in many different designs and patterns that you put joint compound in and when removed you have a 3-D texture. You could then paint over that. I think this might work out for you.Valerie Sokol
- Macedonia, Ohio
May 20, 2009
Q. I put up an embossed wallpaper faux painted to look like antique copper. It looked like real copper tiles. I first painted a patina green, then lightly brushed a brown then a metallic copper, just catching the high spots. It looked gorgeous. I cut in squares so it looked like real tiles and was easier to work with. I tried just wetting it, but the tiles were too heavy. Then I added a clay adhesive and it stuck to the ceiling. I primed the ceiling first. I then added copper brads in the corners. It looked great---for about 4 months, then one tile after another started coming down. I have reapplied glue trying different kinds three times already. Nothing works. I do live in the coastal south with high humidity. I am now taking all the wallpaper down and am thinking of getting faux tin tiles out of PVC or something similar.Patricia Reed
- Angleton, Texas
August 9, 2009
Q. Could someone please tell me what your process was for making the paper look like a tin ceiling? I see you said you used Ralph Lauren metallics paint, but what about the color? Was it a copper paint and did you do any faux painting to it? I am trying to make a copper looking ceiling and I would like it to look a little aged.Amy Williams
- Laurens, Iowa
August 31, 2009
Q. I have been following these posts with hope. I have a 140 year old Victorian home that has just received a kitchen ceiling replacement - I cried when I had to remove the plaster and lath, but it was beyond repair. I, too, would like to use the embossed wallpaper on the ceiling. I have two parlors on which I have used the embossed wallpaper and have painted it with a coordinating color paint (gloss) with great success. I would, however, like to paint the kitchen ceiling in a bronze color that looks antiqued, like it came with the house. What colors and technique should I use? I was told once by a manager at Friday's which had this wallpaper on their walls painted to look like tin. I was told that 3 coast of gloss paint produced the effect. I just would like the addition of the metallic paint of the raised portion of the paper. HELP!Charlene Harkness
- LeRoy New York
February 13, 2010
A. I have done the wallpaper on my ceilings and they look great. If you get the extra adhesive, usually for border and use that along with the prepasted paper you will have no problems having it stick or have loose spots. Practice a little first and you will get the hang of lining up the seems and when you get them tight, you cannot see them. Trust me I have done tons of wallpaper. Also I have a real tin ceiling and the "fake" one looks just as real. One more solution to the drop ceiling people and cottage cheese person is to look online for the styrofoam fake tin ceiling panels. They are cheap and can be glued right over drop ceilings or cottage cheese, popcorn, whatever. I am in the process now. They are about 3 to 4 dollars each and 20 inches square. It sounds crazy but again it works and looks awesome. I think the company is euro-deco.susan grot
- Buffalo New York
May 19, 2010
Q. I currently have a tin ceiling in my kitchen that was painted white. I would like to give it the look of a copper ceiling. I have been trying to find paint in my area, but everything I find looks red-orange. Does anyone have any suggestions?Gail Clark
- Crown Point, Indiana
June 26, 2010
A. Hi, Gail. Copper is copper, and paint isn't, so you're not going to be able to make your painted ceiling look precisely like copper. But I've been pleased with the "hammered" metal finishes =>
They have some kind of dispersant that causes the paint to flow into tiny rings that look a lot like hammered metal.
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey
June 30, 2010
A. This is a follow-up to my inquiry about how to make embossed wallpaper look like an antique tin ceiling that I posted almost a year ago. I spent two months testing, trying, erroring on scrap paper until I got what I wanted.
Here it is: The paper was applied in rolls by a professional paperhanger. After letting it dry for 3 weeks, I painted it with a dense roller (I found that the tools were as important as the materials)in a cafe a'lait color. Then a applied a gel stain in hickory with a 2 in. x 1 in. nap-less painter stick that I first used to paint my louvered shutters. This was chosen because of the ceiling pattern; it was square with straight separators and I needed to follow the line of the pattern (also learned through trial and error), much as you would follow the grain of wood when staining. Then I used a rag to wipe the stain in the same pattern - working with application and wiping in 2-3 square foot sections. As your rag gets more and more saturated, it is easier to control how much you take off. If you take off too much, reapply the stain. I got done with my pantry before I perfected the technique in the kitchen, so I went back two days later and restained the pantry. The embossed pattern was very deep, so wiping it took off more stain from the raised areas, leaving more stain in the recessed areas. When that had dried, I took a small nap-less roller and lightly rolled over the entire ceiling with Ralph Lauren gold paint to which I added some inexpensive craft gold paint to get the lustre for which I was looking.
It looks like a hand burnished tin ceiling in a bronze color. Everyone is amazed, as am I, at the results. It looks exactly like I wanted it to look, and identical to the hand painted tin squares I found on Americantinceilings.com at $40-50 per 2 square foot sections. Good luck. I was not able to find a painter or an artist who could help me, so I hope you find this to work well for you.Charlene Harkness [returning]
- LeRoy New York
October 25, 2010
Q. I bought the tin looking wallpaper b/c the real tin is too expensive. We have foam tiles on our kitchen ceiling and I was wondering if I can put the wallpaper right on the tiles. I really don't want to have to take down all of those tiles and the wood they are stapled to. It is an old house and I'm afraid of what kind of shape the ceiling over the tiles is in. I know it isn't dry wall and so far almost every repair we have done to this house has cost at least twice as much as we thought. Help please.Angela Jaynes
- Flat Rock, Indiana U.S.
December 29, 2010
Q. I have had 4 rolls of the embossed paper hanging around for almost 20 years--Want to put it one the ceilings of the BATHROOMS of out 100 year old house. But I've been afraid that it won't take the humidity. Anyone have experience with this?Darby Tarr
- Carthage, New York USA
September 20, 2011
A. I used the paintable wallpaper for the tin ceiling look. The trick to the seams was just like any wall paper, you really have to work the edges to butt right up against each other, then use a seam roller. It took 3 of us because we have a very large kitchen and dining area. Start at one end and work the paper to the other end. When starting the next strip do the same lining it up along the way. The best part, the Martha Stewart metallic paints. We painted a "golden" color on with a deep pile roller across the entire ceiling. When it dried, we took the "Bronze" color and LIGHTLY painted at a almost 90 degree angle across just the highlighted surface with a brush just to give it dimension. Next a small jar of copper color and a natural sponge. Just blot it really well and dab randomly all over the ceiling. Looks absolutely great. Looks like the expensive metal tiles you can buy and the paint really makes the whole thing look great.Victoria L. [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Utah, USA
Ed. note: Send a pic!
October 18, 2011
A. I do many ceilings professionally with the pressed tin paintable wallpaper. Our most popular is high-gloss white, but when we DO faux finish it in a metallic, we use the Brilliant Metals two-step process from Lowe's. Works well.
We also have request for deep rich tones in high gloss as in an Italian red (ketchup). Pictures attached.
- New Braunfels, Texas, USA
December 21, 2011
Q. Please do not laugh. My kitchen has very tall ceiling. Would it be possible to paint the metal tile embossed wallpaper BEFORE hanging it on the ceiling?
The ceiling is slightly textured. Should it be scraped before hanging wallpaper? Or should sizing (whatever that is) be used without scraping.
Thank you very much.
- Granbury, Texas
February 7, 2012
A. I work for a company that sells Faux Tin ceilings. Recently a restaurant bought our solid copper colored panels and simply painted them with a teal (patina colored) paint and then as it was drying brushed off the paint with a sponge to get the copper to show. This was the first time I'd ever seen anyone try this but they were very happy with the look they were able to get! We've tried to replicate it and realized it's a really easy DIY project!Jeramey Fistrovich
- Prior Lake, Minnesota, USA
March 14, 2012
Q. I am painting my bedroom and would like the wall behind the headboard to look like striped wallpaper.The alternate stripes should have a sheen. Can you please give me some advice on how to achieve this look. Thank you,
- Boksburg, South Africa
March 15, 2012
A. Hi, Keith. Unless I'm misunderstanding you, you just paint the whole wall with the matte paint, put painters tape on the areas which you want to keep that way, then paint with the sheen paint, and remove the paint.
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey
May 23, 2012
A. I have been using textured paper for years. I have put it over paneling on the ceiling to cover and most people cannot tell it is not the real thing. It is a very easy project but I suggest you get help because at least two people make it easier especially when matching the pattern. I always use wallpaper paste on the ceiling because it is easier than wetting and you can be sure it will hold good and not fall down and when you wet it there is more chance the paper will pick up any old left behind residue on the wall I painted my bedroom ceiling the same color as my wall with white trim in between and it looks great and I have been reading that you can go a shade lighter on the ceiling than you do the walls. I would recommend anyone trying this who wants to save money and don't mind a little work because the results are amazing. I have painted before; I hung this on the wall for a backsplash behind the stove, but not a big project such as the ceiling.Patty Slack
- Chapmansboro, Tennessee USA
February 15, 2014
Q. I have painted my wallpaper a gloss white. Then applied Valspar gold glaze over the white, hoping to make it look like old fashion tin. I let it sit briefly than wiped off some of the gold highlighting, [leaving] white on raised area.
Two walls are fine but the outside wall took the glaze blotchy and I don't like that wall. I'm thinking it was maybe because it was an outside wall and colder? Any suggestions would be appreciated.Darlene Shuster
- Toano, Virginia
February 28, 2014
A. That sounds more like it was a surface preparation issue than an issue with different temperatures. Did you use anything to clean the wall off before you started painting?Marc Banks
Blacksmith - Lenoir, North Carolina USA
March 1, 2014
Q. All the walls had been wiped down with plain water and then painted gloss white. The 2 inside walls are fine but the outside wall is blotchy. Thanks. Any continuing help is appreciated. I walked away to re-evaluate the problem. So it is still waiting on me.Darlene Shuster [returning]
- Toano, Virginia
March 2, 2014
Q. I wiped the paper with clear water before I painted the paper gloss white. Since the other two walls took the glaze alright I assumed it was a temperature problem. Thanks; continued help would be appreciated.Darlene Shuster [returning]
- Toano, Virginia
March 5, 2014
A. If that outside wall had something that was not water soluble on it, then just wiping down wouldn't cut it. Try scuffing the area to be painted with a mild abrasive, like a scotchbrite pad or similar. Also try cleaning the surface with soap and water before painting.
I'm still betting that the issue was due to something on the wall.
Blacksmith - Lenoir, North Carolina USA
February 3, 2016
A. On painting pressed tin type wallpaper!
I used regular wallpaper embossed to look like tin or copper panels purchased at Menards. First, paste it on like regular wallpaper. Align the edges to match. If you do it properly, you won't see the joints. Take your time, plan your steps and EXPERIMENT with paint colors, don't be to fast. I used regular paints for indoor use. I went to Ace Hardware for the paint. Second I put on a coat of medium dark latex blue as my base coat, After it dried, I took a sponge and medium green latex paint and (thoughtfully) sponged the green paint over the blue covering it so as to make the green prominent over the blue, then I took high quality GOLD paint and ever so lightly sponged it over the green, just to give the ceiling a slight spotty sheen. Then I set back and admired the ceiling. An important recommendation: only one person should apply the green and gold paint. This keeps the technique of the application and the painter the same for the whole project. Experiment with colors and think about it at least overnight, longer if you can. Remember! Patience is the most expensive part of this project. You are the artist for your project.
Retired Engineer - Neosho, Wisconsin USA
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