Monday, December 14, 2015

12 Weeks of Christmas - Easy DIY Metallic Decorative Elements

Things have gone to the dogs a little today, with Dalmatian DIY taking on a guest role in bringing you today's 12 Weeks of Creative Christmas post with an easy idea for adding a splash of your favourite metallics to your holiday (or anytime decor).  If you loved the style of Friday's Silver and Gold Decorations this is a great (and inexpensive) way to get the look using items that you love - new, old, recycled, upcycled, anything goes! We used a pre-made Christmas tree (wooden) and dog figurine (papier mache) for two different examples in two different finished to demonstrate just how simple and versatile this little DIY can be.  The tree was purchased for this DIY and the figurine had been lingering in the craft supply stash for years.

With a little bit of prep and the right paint, you can transform just about anything.  For easily creating a slightly antiqued/vintage fake metal look on any surface, we love using hammered metal effect paint.  Brands and options will vary depending on where you live, but you can typically find these in the metal and rust paint section of your hardware store. They are made for painting and restoring metal, but work nicely on other substrates (patch test first if you are unsure).  It is usually available as an aerosol or a traditional paint - the latter takes a little longer, but creates a nice thick authentic "metal" finish when used on non-metallic objects.   We rarely use solvent-borne paints, but we think that the outcome justifies the exception to our tree-hugging ways for this purpose.  A little tin goes a very long way and a fresh new paint job has saved many a dilapidated and well-worn item from rubbish around our place.

Set up a work area in a well ventilated location - outdoors on a warm (not hot) day somewhere sheltered from direct sun is ideal - and follow all of the safety guidance on your chosen paint product.  Choose a suitably sized brush for your project, and this is one instance where we are happy to use a low quality or single use brush as clean-up is a nightmare with this paint. Bonus points if you paint multiple projects at once!  Tip: Wrapping the bush in cling-film or inverting your glove onto the brush will keep it usable for the next coat.  Simply ensure that your object is clean and dry, then get to work!  Hammered metal effect paint is very thick, but it is best applied in thin coats to avoid gloopy dripping and sagging. Intricate objects, like the Christmas tree, work best when you paint the detail/inset areas first and then smooth the transition onto the flat surfaces.  Work in multiple coats for a nice finish, with a light sand in between coats if you have any irregularities or drips to fix.

What to paint?  That's completely up to you! Letters and words (wooden or paper), picture frames, and general decorations work great with this method. You can paint just about anything for your Christmas decor or other purposes, for yourself or for gifting. Our faux brass Christmas tree holds and displays our incoming cards on the mantle (we save them all for opening on Christmas Day) and the silver dog occupies pride of place atop my dog books on a shelf in the office.  Versatile objects can be easily transitioned from day-to-day decor to a custom holiday vignette.  Idea: If you are using papier mache like our dog figurine and would like to make it into a paperweight or bookend, you can drill, fill, and patch before painting to transport a simple shape like this into a hefty "metal" object.  Alternatively, you can leave it hollow and mount it on a block for weight.

Are you a dog-lover or a pet-parent? Join our partner blog Dalmatian DIY  - its a virtual playground for dogs and dog lovers of all shapes and spots! Sniffing out and sharing the best pet DIYs, homemade treat recipes, and more. Woofs!

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