When it comes to incorporating ceiling tin in a house, I have seen it done three ways: Cottage chic = chippy pastel paint paired with loads of lace and linen. Classic = subtle paint colors, Georgian, with a column or two, maybe even a bust of some famous deceased person on a mantel. Rustic industrial with western flare = old antique tin pulled out of a 1800’s house and stored in the barn for the last decade, rusting and getting covered in chicken poop. Take a guess which one we would prefer?
Yep, the rusty poop covered kind.
But, no matter the style, real ceiling tin is expensive. Even worse, authentic antique tin that has decades of patina is a budget breaker. Reproduction tin (not even painted) costs into the several hundreds to thousands depending on the size of tin and square footage. Authentic antique tin?….we’d need a loan from the bank to purchase it and months to years of sourcing it all. Then there is the faux stuff made of thin plastic, heavy resin, and even lightweight Styrofoam. We went with the least expensive option. Styrofoam.
I purchased these ‘tin’ sheets on Amazon, a package of 8 cost $22 + shipping, and they are just under 20″ square. When similar size antique tin cost over a $100 per piece, uh yeah, that’s an easy decision to make when you’re not rich.
Okay, so they do look a bit, well, cheap. But that’s because you’re just seeing the Styrofoam, and not the vision in my head. Every single example I saw online of people installing these, they painted them one solid color (there’s that sophisticated classic). Just not the look we want. So how does one take basic old white Styrofoam and make it look like it’s been stored in that barn for the last 20 years? Paint my friends, paint.
I started by looking at examples online of real rusted tin tiles. Took note of how their paint had cracked and chipped, where, how, and why they rusted in certain areas, on and on. Okay, so I needed the original ‘tin’ to show through the cracked paint, then I needed the paint, and it needed to be cracked. To achieve this, I purchased this set at my local Michael’s Craft Store….
Not true chalk paint, but an acrylic hybrid as acrylic is safe for Styrofoam. The first layer of paint to go down is the ‘Silver Grey’ color that was going to be my tin metal showing through….
Once dry, I brushed on the ‘Crackle Medium’. Some tiles I covered the entire tin, while others I only brushed it on in key areas so that the tins wouldn’t all look the same. After the crackle medium was completely dry, I then painted over it with the white paint. Within moments, the tiles took on the cracked and chipped look….
So, you might be asking ‘where’s the rust and poop’? Okay, so maybe I don’t really want actual chicken poop on my ceiling, but rusty metal?, oh yeah. There are various colors to rust, but from all the rusty barn roofs I have painted on canvas to sell in my online shop, I know the shade that I like best. It takes these three colors….
Yeah, my grey paint leaked all over these in the shopping bag, so I can’t tell you the exact color names by ‘Folk Art’, but basically any orange, dark brown, and fire engine red will do. I also picked up a package of cheap-as-all-get-out paint brushes because I was not about to use my art brushes for this. Before I could rust out my tiles, they need to have large areas of damaged paint, so I got the ‘Silver Gray’ chalk paint out and dabbed it on….
Remember I said I looked online at real examples of rusted tin tiles? Anywhere there is a raised relief on the surface, those areas were more likely to get rubbed and scuffed, and hence rust. That was also true for the edges, for when real metal tiles are removed, most times the edges get damaged and hence will also rust more easily. Anyway, back to concocting my rust….
I mixed it all up until I got the right shade that I was after, then started to apply it to the dabbed areas of grey paint and along some of the cracked white paint. It ended up looking like this….
My rusty, chipped, antique tin tiles! I absolutely love how they turned out, so much so I couldn’t wait to take a photo before they were all installed….
To adhere them to the ceiling I used a Liquid Nails that is safe for Styrofoam – beware, regular Liquid Nails will melt the tiles! The above photo also shows my ceiling light dilemma. We took down the ‘boob’ light that was there but we were having a hard time finding something we liked, until I scored this vintage shade….
The laundry room make over is almost complete, we just a have a couple of more small items on our to-do list and then we’ll have a big reveal post, so stay tuned! 🙂