Introduction: Faux Painting Copper Plating Effect

About: I'm a social-worker, working with 12 - 23 year-olds. I used to be a printer. In 2018 I opened a small makerspace ( in my house, where I have lasercutters, 3d-printers, Arduino's, Mindstorms and ot…

While on holiday in France I've seen a beautiful painted effect that looked like metal plating riveted to the wall. Back home I wanted to create this effect on a wall in copper-color.

Searching Instructables and YouTube, I couldn't really find the right instructions. I still wanted it so there was no other choice than figuring it out myself. (and write an Ible :) )

I am really happy with the result. (The pictures don't do it justice)

Step 1: You Will Need

I used mostly stuff I had laying around. I just bought the copper paint, the black pigment and some brushes for this project.


  • Some old latex paint (wall paint) Any color will do
  • Gypsum plaster
  • Black pigment (you don't really need this)
  • Black paint
  • Copper color wall paint
  • Cardboard
  • Solvent for the black paint


  • Brushes
  • Sand paper
  • Level
  • Pencil
  • Perforator
  • Spatula
  • Ruler
  • Cloth

Step 2: Paint the Wall Dark

You will need a reasonably flat wall to start on. We did this effect over the wallpaper and the edges of the wallpaper are a little bit visible through the effect paining.

You can use any left over bit of latex wall paint you have laying around. I colored my latex with black pigment. This will not be visible in the effect, but when you might damage your finished effect in the future it will be less visible when the paint underneath is dark.

  • Paint the whole wall with the latex paint.
  • Wait for the paint to dry.

Step 3: Mark the Plates

  • Use a pencil and a level to mark on the wall where and how big you want the plates to appear.

I made mine 60 x 30 cm (1 x 2 ft)

Step 4: Paint the Structure

Now comes the fun part. (well I liked it)

  • Add gypsum to latex wall paint
  • Stir really well
  • Add some more gypsum
  • Stir
  • Repeat until you have a gloppy paste
  • (You can also add pigment, but I ran out off it)
  • Paint the mixture on the wall with short random strokes
  • Use a ruler and a spatula to 'scratch' the edges of the plates in the material when it is still wet.

Some people might be able to 'cut' the edges by hand (but not me, I tried)

Step 5: Sand the Wall

To remove the grain you need to sand the whole wall.

  • Wait until the paint is fully dry.
  • Use 60 grid or 80 grid sandpaper on a block to sand off all the rough grain.
  • Brush the dust from the wall

Just sand off the big grain. You don't want your wall smooth!

Step 6: Add the 'rivets'

First we need a template.

  • Decide the distance you want in-between the rivets. (for me it was 4 cm = 1 1/2 inch)
  • Perforate holes in a piece of thick, solid cardboard (the corrugated board didn't work very well)

Now we have the template and we can make the rivets.

  • Hold the template alongside one of the lines.
  • Use a spatula to smear your latex mixture into the holes in the template.
  • Carefully remove the template.
  • Clean out the holes in het template.
  • Put the first hole of the template over the last rivet you just made.
  • Fill all the holes again and repeat.

When you made all the rivets they will look like points or cones. We will fix that now.

  • Let the rivets fully dry.
  • Carefully sand the rivets until they are just a few mm high.
  • Some rivets might break off. If you want, you can fix that. I liked the missing rivets.
  • Brush off al the dust.

Step 7: Paint It Gold

Now it is time to paint on the metallic paint. I used a copper/gold color.

  • Stir the metallic paint thoroughly
  • Paint the metallic paint also in short random strokes. The strokes will be visible so you can use this to break up strokes in the latex paint that came out to long.
  • Make sure to paint in all the cracks and bumps.

Step 8: Finish With Black

To give it more depth and age, I finish it of with black paint. I used some left over black paint for metal.

  • Wait for the metallic paint to be fully dry.
  • Brush the black paint in all the cracks and bumps.
  • Before the black paint is dry you wipe it off with a cloth with solvent.

The black will remain in the cracks and around the bumps. The edges of the 'plates' and the rivets will become much better visible and the plates will get an weathered look.

Step 9: The Result

I am really happy with the result. Digital pictures don't do metallic, so the pictures don't do the result justice. If I had to do it again I would start with a wall that was better prepared and 100% smooth, but beside that I would do it exactly the same.

We are planning on doing the inside of the bathroom door the same. Pictures might follow.

This project ended up to be much easier than we expected.

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