Painting Tin

December 31, 2012
A pressed tin backsplash is given more dimension with an ocher glaze rubbed over the yellow base coat.
Q: On one of your shows I saw you painting an embossed tin backsplash. I love the idea, knowing that I don’t have to change the whole backsplash if my colour tastes change — I can just repaint. Where do I find embossed tin and how do I paint it?
A: Embossed tin sheets are not only decorative, but they are practical. They’ll last forever with the occasional coat of fresh paint. There are plenty of patterns available. Patterned tin was often used on ceilings and walls in the mid to late nineteenth century, and suits a historic or country setting. However, by choosing a suitable pattern and paint combination, you can achieve a stunning retro or even modern style.

To source, ask at your local building store, google “pressed tin panels” to locate an outlet near you. Cut the panels to fit your backsplash area with tin snips; wear protective gloves and sand down the edges as they are very sharp. Tin panels can be applied to the wall with tiny nails, and/or glue. Follow manufacturer’s instructions. Some tin panels come pre-primed, if not, then prime with an acrylic primer designed to cover metallic surfaces. You can paint one colour — pale shades show off the design details and pick up interesting shadows. Or, to highlight the pattern, as we have done on the kitchen backsplash shown here, we mixed an ocher glaze, one of cup glazing liquid and a quarter cup paint. The coloured glaze was applied over the cream base coat, then dabbed with a cotton rag, leaving the glaze behind in the grooves. Finish with two coats of acrylic varnish, and allow a few days for the paint and varnish to cure and harden.