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How to paint wood to look like metal

Updated November 21, 2016

Painting wood to look like metal might sound complicated, but you can easily render a metallic look by using metallic spray paint. These paints create the colour and shine of metal on nearly any surface, including wood. You must properly prepare the wood and add a clear coat to ensure that the metallic paint adheres properly and lasts for years.

Sand the wood with 220-grit sandpaper to prepare the surface for primer. Wipe away any dust created during sanding with a dry cloth.

Apply a coat of alcohol-based primer to the wood with a paint brush. These primers are sometimes referred to as shellac primers. Don't worry about tinting the primer to match your paint; a plain white primer will work just fine.

Shake your can of metallic spray paint thoroughly to mix the paint.

Spray the paint onto the wood starting at the top, using a back and forth motion, constantly moving the can of paint to apply a thin coat of paint. Continue to apply thin coats of paint until you cover the entire wood surface. Let the paint dry.

Brush a coat of clear, latex-based polyurethane with a high-gloss finish over the dry metallic paint, which adds extra shine and protects the metallic paint.

Tip

Keep the spray can moving constantly while painting or you will apply too much paint to one area, which will cause the paint to drip and ruin the metallic finish.

Things You'll Need

  • 220-grit sandpaper
  • Dry cloth
  • Alcohol-based primer
  • Paint brush
  • Metallic spray paint
  • Latex-based polyurethane
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About the Author

Kittie McCoy has been a freelance writer since 2008. She is also a part-time personal trainer and licensed entertainer in Las Vegas. She enjoys sharing her love of physical fitness and experience in the entertainment industry via her writing.