Painting like Pewter?
April 17, 2009 8:56 AM   Subscribe

My grandmother is looking for a way to paint metal and/or wooden objects to make them look like they are pewter (or nickel plated). What's the easiest way for her to achieve this effect? Bonus points for grandma-friendly techniques.
posted by jgee to Home & Garden (12 answers total)
is it as simple as a flat gray spray paint?
posted by HuronBob at 9:02 AM on April 17, 2009

Rustoleum has a whole line of metal finish spray paints, including various hammered metal textures...
posted by stenseng at 9:25 AM on April 17, 2009

I see kits like this frequently; even used one on my kitchen cabinet hardware. It was a spray can of a flat silvery color, then there was a 'glaze' of sorts that was sponged on over the paint. It was a pretty simple process, but it is spray paint and it stinks just like you would expect.

Check the craft section of stores... JoAnn Fabrics, A.C. Moore, Michaels and the like.
posted by wg at 9:25 AM on April 17, 2009

Seconding the suggestion for Michael's, Hobby Lobby type stores. I've also seen metallic paints that you brush on, and then brush/sponge on a second type of "texturing" paint over that for the aged look, if spray paint is too messy or noxious.
posted by owtytrof at 9:34 AM on April 17, 2009

I've used Modern Masters metallic paint. The pewtery and dark gray colors are especially good in that line. It's very durable, too.
posted by wryly at 9:41 AM on April 17, 2009

Seconding stenseng's recommendation for Rustoleum. The stuff is miraculous.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:41 AM on April 17, 2009

I've used Rustoleum silver, followed by some glossy clearcoat, on some old drawer pulls that were "goldcoated" pot metal. They look pretty good and the finish has held up well, but I don't think anyone would be fooled into thinking they were pewter or nickel-plate.
posted by adamrice at 9:44 AM on April 17, 2009

I used to have those tiny lead gaming figures that are made out of lead. Never got around to having lots of free time to painting them up in full colour. So instead I opted to paint them out to make the look like pewter -- it was actually very easy.

I picked up some black enamel paint and then painted them totally black. Then I dry-brushed the in Testor's "Steel" colour. This means lightly dipping your brush in the colour and wiping/brushing off most of it on a paper towel. Then you very lightly flick the surface of the brush on the object, leaving just a very light touch of the colour. You can then do layers of this effect until you reach the depth of colour or look you want.

For years I've received tons of compliments from people who marvel at my "huge" collection of pewter figs, not realizing that all but one of the are actually lead. So it can be done quite convincingly and affordably. It would simply be a matter of finding the appropriate paint tones -- I would go with a darker silver-toned metallic, not a bright one. Usually marketed under names such as "steel" rather than silver. The cool thing is that until you refine your technique, if you mess it up, it is simply a matter of painting it black again and trying over. Good luck!
posted by Jade Dragon at 9:50 AM on April 17, 2009 [1 favorite]

I've had good results with Rub n' Buff (sounds dirtier than it is). It requires more labor than spray paint, but the finish is really nice.
posted by dogmom at 1:02 PM on April 17, 2009

seconding Rub n' Buff. I've used it in various craft projects and it works really well--the perfect pewtery finich--on a variety of surfaces, including wood, metal, and plastic.
posted by Ms. Informed at 2:09 PM on April 17, 2009

I had very good results using a Krylon "bronze" spray paint on a yucky light fixture to make it look like bronze. They have a pewter version. The label says it's for plastic (big letters on front) but the product description says metal, wood, etc. I bought mine at a local Home Depot.
posted by Robert Angelo at 3:16 PM on April 17, 2009

step one: go to your local hardware store
step two: repeat question

there are many kits and products on the market that will do this for you. most are intended for hobbyists and will be fairly simple to execute.
posted by swbarrett at 9:14 PM on April 18, 2009

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