Monday, August 31, 2015

How to fake a tin ceiling

I love tin ceilings. In two different homes, I installed tin backsplashes, but never a tin ceiling. So when I had the opportunity to finally get my tin ceiling of my dreams, did I do it? No. Instead I opted to fake a tin ceiling.

Tin tiles are beautiful, but I decided not to use the real thing on my ceiling.
I chose to go the fake route because it was easier to install and less expensive but the look is no less impressive. You start by choosing a wallpaper made for the job. It is called anaglypta paper, which is a textured, paintable wallpaper. It comes white and on a roll, just like wallpaper. There are all kinds of patters of anaglypta paper from florals to abstract designs; you'll want to look for patterns that  resemble traditional tin ceiling tiles.

Because the paper comes white it looks tempting to just install it as it comes if, in fact, you want a white tin ceiling. However, even if it is white you are after, it is best to paint it. Painting preserves the paper, keeps it cleaner and readies the paper for faux finishing if needed.

I wanted a white ceiling...or to put it more precise, I wanted my ceiling to look like a 150 year old copper tin ceiling that had been painted white 80 years ago and now the copper is bleeding through. Given that, technically, I could have left the paper white and then just faux finished it with a copper paint, but that wouldn't have been the best choice. You are better off painting the installed paper white and then adding your faux finishing; the color will be truer and won't soak into the paper.

Here's how I got the look:

First, the paper was painted white. No trick here. Roll on the white paint as you would paint any ceiling.

Since I wanted the ceiling to appear like the white paint is wearing off to reveal the real copper ceiling beneath it, it required a faux finish. But whatever you do, don't take your paint brush to the ceiling right away.

First, mix up some colors on a piece of scrap anaglypta paper. Hold it up to the ceiling. I tried gold tones, which I didn't want, silver paint as well as copper tones. When I held them up to the ceiling, the copper tones looked too red-brown for the look I was after. The silver color, while nice, wasn't right for the room, which I had to do in warmer tones. Ultimately, I ended up surprising myself and opting for the more golden paint color.

The golden paint color I chose for the ceiling.

Next, practice your hand at the application. Do you want a light distressing or heavy? You don't want to get carried away one way or the other. Again, look at samples. Brushes, not a sponge, was used for this application.

Once you are happy with the color and the amount of distressing, start applying it lightly--LIGHTLY--to the ceiling. Remember, periodically, step down from the ladder and look at your work from the floor. You'd be surprised how different it looks from this perspective.
Stop periodically to look at your work from the floor, where you'll be seeing it every day. It helps you avoid going too heavy-handed in one area or too skimpy in another.

The process is only difficult because painting a ceiling isn't the most comfortable position.

Here's the finished product. The ceiling has been mistaken for a real tin ceiling numerous times. I have it in my office and pantry.

What is your feeling about tin ceilings--regular or faux?