Create a Faux Copper or Tin Pressed Metal Ceiling with Paint and Paper

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Questions From Readers

Metal ceilings or pressed tin ceilings seem to be making a comeback in some areas of the country. Not only are they being used in old historical style remodels, but they are used in contemporary spaces as well. 

Several options are available for the DIY'er who wants to try this great looking ceiling treatment for their own home.

I am wanting to know how to paint a ceiling to look like a metal ceiling, any suggestions?


Try Metal Ceiling Tiles 

Real metal ceiling panels are available. Taken from antique designs, the new modern ceiling tiles are slick and shiny.   This is an interesting treatment for a contemporary space.

The same tiles can be toned down with paint, so they look aged. Using a wash of almost any color paint will take the shine right out them.

Embossed Paper 

Embossed or Anaglypta paper can be installed. This is a heavy paper and requires many hands and a clay based adhesive to install.  New on the market us a vinyl version of the embossed papers. They are available at the big box hardware stores and online. They are much lighter in weight… and so easier to install. 

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The paper must be fully dried before you try to coat it with any thing wet like paint. You must prime the paper before you start any painting treatment. Move quickly and gently with the primer and be prepared for some paper to loosen.

The paper should be tight to the ceiling and primed before moving on to the next steps.

Painting the Ceiling 

You can faux paint the ceiling with several layers of paint. At the big box stores metallic paint is sold by the gallon and is available in a copper sheen.  Roll this paint on in several coats. Check the ceiling as you go… painting in several directions to cover every groove in your new ceiling

If your happy with the copper… Your done! If you want to age the copper, use a faux glaze tinted with raw or burnt umber and brush it on. Rag off the glaze as if you are antique staining the ceiling. This will tone down the bright copper and leave an aged look.  

More Aging 

For even more aging… try a thin "sponging" of verdigris green. This is the color copper turns when exposed to moisture. You will not want to cover the entire ceiling with this, just where their might be water damage in a aged ceiling. 

You can go one better with paint and actually paint the paper with paint that has metal flakes in it.  Modern Masters carries a paint like this called "metal effects". I comes in Iron, Copper, Pewter or Bronze. The paint is applied just like regular paint, but after it is dry a re-actor is applied with sponges, brushes or sprayer…(or a combination of all applications). Wait a few hours and you will see the transformation… it's like years of aging in just a few hours. 


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  1. mary gavitt says

    how would you make a painted metallic ceiling looked “punched” like panels. I have a ceiling I’d love to do in a simple pattern. it is the tile squares, 12x 12 i think. MG

  2. Bonnye Manning says

    There is a very lightweight version of pressed tin paper that is sold by Brewster that I, as a professional paperhanger, install often for customers who want the copper ceiling look.

    We prime the ceiling, install the paper, let dry overnight, then faux finishing by putting a terra cotta basecoat of latex, and then a metallic glaze. Lowe’s has a Brilliant Metals paint application for the DIY that is wonderful…

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