How to paint faux bronze on backsplash tile

Updated February 21, 2017

A faux paint finish creates the look of a specific material without having to install the material. Applying a faux painting process onto a tile backsplash, you can create the metallic look of bronze on an existing tiled surface. This gives you the decor you desire quickly, without the need to remove the current backsplash and replace it with actual bronze tiles. Painting also spares you from the mess and expense of re-tiling.

Clean the tiles and grout making up the backsplash thoroughly. Use an abrasive kitchen cleanser to remove any dirt and grease build-up, cleaning with a sponge or with a scrub brush for caked-on areas. Rinse the surface with water to remove any residue left from the cleanser.

Sand the surface of the tiles to remove any glossy finish and to roughen up the surface. A rough surface gives the paints more to adhere to than a smoother one. Wipe the tiles with a clean damp cloth to remove the sanding residue, then wipe with a dry cloth.

Repair any chips or cracks in the tiles. Repair the chips by filling in the chipped areas with quick-drying epoxy. Spread the epoxy with a putty knife, levelling it with the rest of the tile surface, using the edge of the knife's blade. Fill cracks in the tiles with caulk. Allow the repairs to cure for up to three days, according to the times specified by the repair material's manufacturers.

Mask off the tiled area, covering the edges of adjacent surfaces with a strip of masking tape. Place a drop cloth on the surface beneath the tiles and over the wall beneath the backsplash to catch any paint spills.

Prime the tiles for the paint with a black primer. Brush the primer over the tiles, building up a solid coat by applying multiple thin layers. Allow the primer to dry for the manufacturer's suggested length of time.

Cover the primer with two coats of an oil-based copper metallic coloured paint. Use a brush to control the paint application. Make the first coat a light one, transparently covering the primer. Use a moderate covering of the metallic paint for the second coat, just barely concealing the black primer. You want the primer to peek through slightly and create an even look for the copper. Allow the copper paint two hours of drying time after each coat.

Brush on a layer of oil-rubbed bronze paint, covering the tiles while still showing the copper metallic paint beneath. Allow two days for the bronze paint to dry.

Cover the tile with two coats of water-based urethane. Use a sponge to layer on each coat of the finish. Dry the finish for 24 hours after each coat. The finish protects the paint beneath from wear and provides waterproofing to the tile in the process.

Things You'll Need

  • Kitchen cleanser
  • Sponge
  • Scrub brush
  • Water
  • Sandpaper
  • Quick-drying epoxy
  • Putty knife
  • Caulk
  • Masking tape
  • Drop cloth
  • Black primer paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Oil-based, copper metallic coloured paint
  • Oil-based, oil-rubbed bronze coloured paint
  • Water-based urethane
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About the Author

Larry Simmons is a freelance writer and expert in the fusion of computer technology and business. He has a B.S. in economics, an M.S. in information systems, an M.S. in communications technology, as well as significant work towards an M.B.A. in finance. He's published several hundred articles with Demand Studios.