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How to Paint Tin Ceiling Tiles
Crafts and Sewing ruadb / May 21, 2022

If you haven’t read the story about how & where I purchased my ceiling tins, check it out over here. As I mentioned, I decided to get plain, nail-up tins in mill-finish aluminum. I figured they would only take about a week to get in, and I would figure out how to paint them & mount them & have them done quite quickly. Seems like a simple project right? Well, it didn’t really happen quite that way.

It took well over 3 weeks for my tins to arrive. Apparently I don’t read the small print. When you order your tins from M-Boss they basically custom-make your order. They don’t have every tin made in every style they offer in a warehouse somewhere. I guess it’s not Amazon. Ha! No big deal though, once I realized they were going to take a little longer because of that, I was willing to wait.

how to paint tin ceiling tiles to look old

So, here’s the big reveal, how they ended up

And this is how they got there…

The first thing I did when the twins finally came was jumped for joy! *grin* Then at the next available opportunity, I brought them over to my parents to use their saw (again) and make the frames for them. I was hoping to use some scrap wood from other projects, but I didn’t have anything really great that would work. (I store all of my extra wood at my parents because we don’t have room for it at our house.) Just as we were about to give up & head to the Home Depot, my dad remembered he had a bunch of leftover composite deck material that could work. Apparently he has a ton of the stuff. We used some pieces that were about 1-inch square & white. Perfect!

To cut the frame, I measured the edge of the tin. That length was to be the long edge of each angled cut. I made 4 lengths of composite, angled at each corner, to fit exactly behind the tin. So the tin was going to be framed on the back by the composite, the frame would not show at all directly from the front, but it would make the tin sturdier, and give me something to hang it from rather than pounding the tin directly into the (rented) wall.

I nailed each length of composite directly onto the tins.  I did not attach them to each other first.  This seemed to be the easiest way to do it.  I attached the top first, then aside, then the bottom, then the last side, using some wood glue on each corner just for extra stability.  Framing these tins was actually pretty quick.  It wasn’t perfect, but it didn’t have to be, since this part wasn’t going to end up being seen anyway.

Later, back at home, I broke out the spray paint.  I used Rustoleum’s Slate Blue to spray each tin outside.  It only took 2 layers to get good coverage, but if you do this, make sure you do it from different angles each time you spray.  Because the tin isn’t flat, sometimes you can miss a spot behind a raised area & not know it ’till you walk around to the other side.  I also made sure I sprayed the edges of the composite so that it would match the tin.

Once that was dry, the best part began!  I got some gold acrylic paint by DecoArt and a small foam brush.  I wanted to make the tin decorative & pretty, but not go overboard with it.  So, I went after the high points of the tin with the gold paint.  If you do this, you want to not have very much paint on your foam brush, and apply the paint in tiny little strokes.

You can use gold as I did or silver or any other color that will look good with your base.  Don’t worry if you get off the raised areas a bit or if some parts are a little brighter or darker than others.  That’s part of the beauty of it!  Just put it on there wherever it’s raised & let it dry.  You’re done!  This picture below shows the completed one on the right compared to the one I hadn’t started detail painting on the left.  You can see the subtle difference.

To hang mine, I figured out the center of the end I wanted to be the top of my tins and drilled a small hole there just through the composite material.  The composite was hollow, so when I put the nail upon the wall, it fits right inside my drilled hole.

I really love these!  Although the one on the left looks a little off above… should go check that out.  They turned out exactly how I had hoped that they would & I feel like they are something a little bit different, that makes the room more interesting.

Here they are in the context of the rest of the room.  Yes, I’m totally standing in the corner to take this picture, our room is small.  It’s crazy hard to get decent pictures, which is why all the angles in these pics are weird.  Anyway, my original plan way to position them on either side of the bedroom window in the back, but Brendan thought they’d be better on this giant blank wall that we have, at least for now.  If I figure out something to put on that giant wall, they might eventually get moved to the smaller walls on either side of the window, but for now, they look really good over there!

So have you ever painted ceiling tins before?  Do you have any in your home?  I’ve seen some cool things done with them before and would love to hear your ideas!

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