How to Make Painted Metal Signs as Crafts

Written by elizabeth chaplin
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Working with craft metal and foil is an inexpensive way to make attractive sign decorations for your living room, kitchen or bedroom. Craft metal can be purchased in sheets from most craft stores. An even more inexpensive way to make a painted metal sign is with a common baking utensil. Once you have embossed your lettering or drawing, adding a little bit of colour with paint will take your decorative sign to the next level.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • 36-gauge craft foil or foil baking tray
  • Masking tape
  • Towel
  • Blunt embossing tool
  • Paint
  • Brush
  • Rag
  • Saw
  • Insulation foam or wood plank
  • Glue
  • Electrical tape (optional)

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  1. 1

    Print out or draw the lettering or design you want to appear on your sign. Make sure that the image is printed out backwards. Tape the image onto the back of the craft foil or foil baking tray. If using a baking tray, the back is the inside of the pan.

  2. 2

    Place the metal face down (with the image facing you) onto a towel or another semi-soft surface, such as an ironing board.

  3. 3

    Trace over the outline of the lettering or design using a blunt plastic embossing tool. In most cases, craft foil will be thinner than a foil baking tray, so a blunt tool is necessary. However, you can use either the tool or a ballpoint pen to trace the design onto a baking tray.

  4. 4

    Turn the foil over and look at the embossed design. Make sure the lettering or drawing is popping out enough so that it can be seen easily. To make the embossing pop out more, simply press harder with the embossing tool.


  1. 1

    Brush the paint into the raised area of the sign. This will accentuate lettering or the outlines of a drawing.

  2. 2

    Wipe the paint with the rag as if it were a wood stain. This will give the sign an antique look. Let dry.

  3. 3

    Cut a piece of foam insulation or a half-inch wood plank so that it is the same size as the sign. If you are using a baking tray, cut the foam insulation or wood plank so that it fits inside the pan.

  4. 4

    Secure the foam insulation or wood plank into place with glue and let dry. Use wood glue if using a wood plank. Decorate the edges of the foam insulation with black or coloured electrical tape. The edges of the wood plank can be painted.

Tips and warnings

  • If you do not want an antique sign, you can paint directly on the surface of the craft metal using acrylic paint. Once the paint is dry, it will stay adhered to the metal.
  • The craft metal can also be nailed or screwed into the wood plank if desired.

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