How to Make Plastic Look Like Metal

Written by rosallee scott
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Learning how to make plastic look like metal for your next art project is not very hard, just time consuming. There are few steps involved, depending on if you want a silver or steel finish (Section 1) or a gold look (Section 2) to your piece. Drying times to all paints vary and also depend on the climate you are working in, so start this part of your project ahead of others to allow for extra drying time if needed.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • For Silver or Steel Finish:
  • Plastic
  • Sandpaper
  • Newspaper
  • Well ventilated work area
  • Gray primer spray paint
  • Silver- or steel metal-look spray paint
  • For Gold Look:
  • Plastic
  • Newspaper
  • Sandpaper
  • Well ventilated work area
  • Tan primer spray paint
  • Gold-look spray paint

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Instructions

    Silver or Steel Finish

  1. 1

    Sand your plastic piece in order to create a good surface for the paint to stick to. If you want a silver look for your art project, take your sandpaper and work it up and down in the same direction around the whole piece. This makes small, vertical scuff marks that mimic the lines found in real silver. For a smooth, steel finish, work your sandpaper in a small circle pattern to minimise any visible scratches or marks. Make sure that you sand the entire surface or the paint may come out uneven.

  2. 2

    Spread newspaper down in a well ventilated area. Cover the entire piece with grey primer spray paint. Work in small layers, using short, even strokes. While painting, start your spray a little off one side of the piece, and don't stop the spray until after you have sprayed a little off the other side onto the newspaper. This prevents thicker areas or drops of paint ruining your piece when learning how to make plastic look like metal for your next art project.

  3. 3

    Let the primer coat dry throughly before lightly spot sanding any drops or raised areas of primer paint.

  4. 4

    Spray the entire piece with your can of silver or steel spray paint. Like you did with the primer, work in small, short strokes making sure to coat the entire surface by starting the spray before it hits the edge of the piece and not letting go of the button until it over-sprays onto the newspaper on the other side. This helps to ensure even coverage. Use as many coats as needed to achieve your desired results.

    Gold Finish

  1. 1

    Sand the entire surface of your plastic piece. This helps create a good surface for the paint to stick to. If you'd like a natural gold look, take your sandpaper and work it up and down in the same direction to create small vertical scuff marks. This mimics the lines found in items such as gold bars. For a smooth gold finish, work your sandpaper in small circles. This helps to minimise any marks that will be seen through your coats of paint. Either way, make sure you sand the entire surface area so that your paint sticks evenly.

  2. 2

    Spread your newspaper to protect any adjacent area from over-spray. Working in a well ventilated area, use a tan primer spray paint over the entire piece. Spray in short, even bursts, starting the spray on the newspaper on one side of your piece, over the surface of it and to just over the other side. Doing it this way prevents accidentally leaving thicker areas of paint on the edges. Spraying in thinner layers allow you to put more on if needed.

  3. 3

    Let this coat of primer throughly dry before taking your sandpaper and lightly going over the surface where there are any drops of raised paint or any other spots that need spot sanding.

  4. 4

    Spray over the surface with your can of gold spray paint. Like you did with the primer, work in small short strokes making sure to coat the entire surface from side to side, over-spraying on both to prevent thick paint drops. Ensuring even coverage is what makes learning how to make plastic look like metal for your next art project successful.

Tips and warnings

  • If you do get thick areas of primer or paint, let the plastic dry throughly before sanding the surface smooth and respraying it.

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