Can You Paint Faux Tin Backsplash? The Complete Guide

A faux tin backsplash can add a charming vintage vibe to your kitchen. Tin backsplashes were extremely popular in the early 20th century and give a kitchen a quaint, old-fashioned look. However, installing a real tin backsplash can be labor intensive and expensive. A much easier and budget-friendly option is to paint a faux tin backsplash that replicates the look of authentic tin tile.

What is a Faux Tin Backsplash?

A faux tin backsplash refers to a backsplash painted to look like real tin tile. Rather than installing individual pieces of decorative tin tile, a faux tin backsplash is created simply by painting the wall. This painted backsplash mimics the look of hammered tin or pressed tin tile backsplashes popularized in the early 1900s.

Faux tin backsplashes provide the antique, industrial appeal of tin tile without the hassle and high cost. The end result is vintage styling that transforms the look and feel of a kitchen.

Benefits of a Faux Tin Backsplash

  • Far more affordable than real tin tile
  • Much easier and quicker to install
  • Endless customization options for color and finish
  • Allows you to easily cover large areas
  • Can mimic look of different tin tile styles
  • Easy to touch up or change down the road

Can You Successfully Paint a Faux Tin Finish?

The short answer is yes! With the right materials and technique, you can absolutely paint a backsplash that looks convincingly like real tin tile.

Certain specialty painting tools and acrylic paints make it possible to achieve the hammered, metallic look of tin on a smooth wall surface. The irregular dips and texture can be created with sponges, textured rollers, rag rolling, and glazing techniques.

Painting a backsplash is within the DIY capabilities of many homeowners. Even beginners can learn the techniques to pull off a stunning faux tin backsplash. It does take some skill and practice to master the layered effects, but you can accomplish professional-looking results with a bit of patience.

Hiring a professional muralist or painter is also an option if you want to ensure your faux tin backsplash turns out perfectly. Professional painters have experience recreating the realistic look of tin tile – and can spend the necessary time prepping and finishing the surface.

Either way, a faux painted tin backsplash is very achievable and will save big bucks compared to installing authentic tin tiles.

Step-by-Step Guide to Painting a Faux Tin Backsplash

If you’re up for a DIY faux tin backsplash, follow this step-by-step guide for stunning results:

Supplies Needed

  • Drop cloths
  • Painter’s tape
  • Sandpaper
  • Tack cloth
  • Primer
  • Acrylic paints in tin colors
  • Textured roller sleeves or paint brushes
  • Sea sponges
  • Rag
  • Clear polyurethane sealer

Step 1: Prep the Surface

Proper surface prep is crucial for the faux tin finish to properly adhere. Fill any holes or imperfections with spackle and sand smooth. Clean the surface thoroughly and remove any grease, dirt or debris. Lightly scuff sand to help the paint grip.

Wipe away all dust with a tack cloth. Apply painter’s tape around the perimeter edges for a crisp finish line.

Step 2: Prime the Surface

Priming provides an essential uniform base for the faux finish paint to adhere to. Use a high-quality primer designed for kitchen surfaces and apply an even coat. Allow the primer to fully dry per the manufacturer’s instructions.

Step 3: Base Coat

For the base layer, choose an antique tin color that matches the overall look you want. Silver, pewter, copper and brass metallics work well. Apply the base coat color using a paint roller with a subtle texture. Only roll in one direction to prevent blending.

Step 4: Add Top Coats

This is where you build up the layers of depth and dimension that mimic hammered tin’s natural patina. Dry brush watered-down pewter or silver metallic paint over the base coat using irregular brush strokes. Apply accents of darker acrylic paints with a sea sponge for subtle staining. Add tonal variation with muted browns, grays and copper acrylics using random rag rolling motions.

Step 5: Add Textures

Use the sea sponge or textured roller to dab small areas of lighter silver or pewter paint to replicate the hammered tin look. Focus on the high points and avoid over-blending colors. Apply a dark glaze with a rag or brush to add more contrast.

Step 6: Seal and Protect

Once the faux tin painting is complete, seal the finish with 2-3 coats of clear polyurethane designed for kitchen surfaces. This prevents moisture damage and enhances the metallic sheen. Remove painter’s tape and admire your stunning new faux tin backsplash!

Faux Tin Backsplash Paint Color Ideas

One of the great advantages of painted tin backsplashes is the ability to customize the finish. You can choose any color palette that fits your personal style and kitchen decor.

Here are some popular color combinations for faux tin backsplashes:

Classic Silver Tin

This mimics the look of traditional silver-hued tin tiles. Use a base coat ofClean Silver Metallic paint accented with darker grays.

Aged Copper Tin

Warm, rustic copper tones created with Burnt Copper Metallic base with brown and brick red accents. Finish with a dark glazing layer.

Antique Pewter

A softer gray palette starting with Pewter Metallic base with muted silver and dark gray accents.

Go Bold

Make a dramatic statement with darker hues like Inky Navy accented with metallics and neutral grays.

Farmhouse Chic

Achieve a charming cottage look with Creamy White base coated over with light grays and antique copper accents.

On-Trend Mixed Metals

Combine metallic paints like pewter, brass, copper and silver for an on-trend mixed metal look.

Tin Tile Styles to Replicate in Paint

Another advantage of painted tin backsplashes is you can mimic different classic tin tile designs. Consider what style of tin you want before beginning to paint.

Pressed Tin Tiles

These feature intricate patterns and relief designs stamped into the metal. They have an ultra-smooth look when new. Use minimal texturing when painting smooth tin.

Hammered Tin Tiles

Made by hand-hammering tin sheets, creating dips and divots that diffuse light beautifully. Replicate this look with rag rolling, sponging and textured rollers.

Corrugated Tin Sheets

Formed into curved ribbed sheets, corrugated tin has bold lines. Use a striated roller brush to recreate the corrugated look.

Rusted Patina Tin

Develops a mottled, stained patina with age. Paint watered-down layers in browns, grays, coppers to achieve a rusted look.

Supplies and Tools Needed for Painting a Faux Tin Backsplash

To DIY your faux tin backsplash, make sure you have the proper materials on hand:

  • Primer – High adhesion primerallows acrylic paint to stick. Opt for kitchen/bathroom specific primer.
  • Acrylic craft paints – Provide strong adhesion and an even finish. Use metallics in tin colors along with darker accent colors.
  • Sponges – Natural sea spongeswork best for dabbing on mottled texture.
  • Textured paint rollers and brushes – Create indentations and grooves that mimic hammered tin.
  • Rags – Use to achieve rag rolled textures and mottled antique patina.
  • Clear polyurethane – A must to protect the finish and enhance the metallic sheen.
  • Painter’s tape – Helps create crisp edges and clean lines.
  • Drop cloths – Protect floors and surfaces from mess.

Invest in quality applicators and materials. Don’t skimp, or it can affect the final result. Store paints and finishes properly between use.

How Long Does a Faux Tin Backsplash Last?

With proper application and care, a painted faux tin backsplash can last for many years before needing touch ups. The longevity depends on several factors:

  • Quality paint – Higher end acrylic paints last longer than craft paints. Invest in paint specifically made for kitchen surfaces.
  • Proper prep – Taking time to correctly prime and prepare the surface helps the paint adhere and withstand wear.
  • Sealer coats – Polyurethane sealer protects the finish from moisture, grease, and daily wear and tear.
  • Kitchen exposure – Areas behind a stove or sink get more use and require more frequent touch ups.
  • Cleaning methods – Avoid abrasive cleaners or scrubbing that can deteriorate the paint. Use gentle cleaners and soft cloths.

With heavy use, a faux tin backsplash may need minor touch ups after 3-5 years to keep it looking pristine. But with proper prep and care, it can maintain its beauty for many years before requiring a full repaint.

Cost of Painting a Faux Tin Backsplash

One of the biggest perks of a DIY faux tin backsplash is cost savings. Here’s a breakdown:

  • Paint and supplies – Approximately $100-$200 depending on size of project and materials needed.
  • Professional installation – Hiring a pro muralist or painter costs $40-$80 per hour; total $300-$1,000 or more.

Compare that to:

  • Authentic tin tiles – Material alone can cost $20-$50 per square foot, or $1,500-$5,000 total. Professional installation is another $1,500-$3,000.

So you can see why a DIY faux tin backsplash is exponentially more budget friendly! With some skill and effort, you can save hundreds or even thousands of dollars compared to real tin tile.


Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about painting faux tin backsplashes:

Is it hard to paint a faux tin backsplash?

It can be tricky for a beginner, but with some practice, the right tools, and patience, a DIY faux tin backsplash is definitely achievable. Breaking the project into steps helps make it less intimidating. Don’t expect perfection on your first try – improvements will come with experience.

What kind of paint is best?

Acrylic craft paints designed for home decor work beautifully. They offer good adhesion and coverage on multiple layers. Metallic paints are key for achieving a realistic tin look. Make sure paint is kitchen or bathroom rated for durability.

How do I prep and prime the surface?

Proper prep is crucial – don’t skip this step! Fill imperfections, sand, then thoroughly clean and degrease the surface. Scuff sanding helps the paint stick. Apply 2-3 coats of high adhesion primer to create a uniform base.

Should I use a paint roller or brush?

Both! Use angled brushes for cutting in edges and corners. Short nap or textured paint rollers help replicate tin textures. Apply base coats by rolling in one direction. Use irregular brush motions for top coats.

How do I get the hammered texture?

Use sea sponges, textured rollers, dry brushing, and rag rolling to build up dimensions that mimic the dips and divots in hammered tin. Apply paint in random, irregular motions, not uniform rolling.

What’s the best way to antique or age the finish?

Add tonal variation with layers of watered-down paint in darker copper, brown and gray hues using rag rolling or sponging. Dry brush on accents of verdigris green or rusty orange for an aged patina.

How do I protect the faux tin backsplash?

Apply 2-3 coats of clear satin or semi-gloss polyurethane sealer once painting is complete. Water-based types allow for easy clean up. Polyurethane protects the finish from moisture damage and everyday wear and tear.

Achieve the Tin Tile Look Without the Hassle

A faux painted tin backsplash offers vintage styling at a fraction of the cost of real tin tile. With the right materials and some practice with faux finishing techniques, this is a DIY-friendly project that can completely transform the look of a kitchen.

While painting the imperfections of aged tin requires skill and patience, don’t be intimidated – even beginners can pick up the techniques with some trial and error. The end result will be a gorgeous, unique backsplash you can enjoy for years to come.

Embrace the old-fashioned charm of tin backsplashes without the complicated installation and hefty price tag. With some creativity and effort, you can can successfully paint a faux tin finish that mimics the real thing!