Faux Painting – How to create a hammered copper effect with paint and a homemade stencil. This is a quick and easy paint technique to get the look of faux hammered copper on wood.
My friend, John who is a cabinet maker par excellence, contacted me recently for another special faux metal project. On this particular job he was not only building and installing the cabinets, but the homeowner also wanted a beautiful hammered copper sink installed. He was building a vent-a-hood drop down and want a wood “skirt” with a faux hammered copper look to match the copper sink.
He sent me two photos
One photo was the right color.
The other photo was for the scale or size of the hammered dents.
The two different colors really threw me off.
So, I decided to take a trip out to the jobsite. I took a sample board where I had tried a couple of different copper colors. There were several to choose from: a red copper, a goldish copper, and an antique copper. It really depends on the light. Taking a photo outside was so different than how the copper would look in the house.
If the light was super bright then the dents had bright highlights and deep shadows.
On a test piece of wood, to create the faux hammered copper look, I painted a lot of little dots. It didn’t take very long for me to discover that my dots were to circular and too predictable. So, this called for a brainstorm and another trip back to the jobsite. This time I took paper and a crayon.
I made a rubbing or impression.
There were so many small, random shapes that I decided, “TaDa! A Stencil is what I need.” I tried a Scan-n-Cut but the machine told me that there were too many tiny shapes.
Since I lean just a bit toward “old school” ideas, I had another thought about what might work. When you have lived as long as I have you are allowed to have old school ideas. And you know as well as I do that there really is nothing new under the sun. If I could find it, I knew I had a stencil burner from back in the 80’s. I was so excited that in all my decluttering, organizing and UPDATING MY LAUNDRY ROOM that I had not put my stencil burner in one of my GARAGE SALES.
It was there, right where it has been for over 25 years. It was in my little red toolbox, just happily waiting for me to bring it out of retirement.
The supplies for burning or cutting a stencil for faux hammered copper:
- Your Pattern
- A tempered glass cutting board to protect your work surface
- Stencil Burner
- Blank Stencil Material
I layered mine starting with the glass first then the pattern and the stencil material was on top. You can transfer the pattern to the material with a Sharpie, but I didn’t.
Here is the VIDEO.
The wood skirt was based coated and then 2 coats of the correct color copper paint is applied.
To stencil I used a dense sponge with only a very small amount of paint on it and dabbed lightly. Then, with a very light touch, I swirled the sponge.
A word of caution and a bit of advice. If you have too much paint on your sponge it with ooze under the stencil and make globs of colors. Don’t you just love my artistic terminologies? Ooze and globs. But you get the idea. It is also a good idea to practice first before going straight onto your beloved project. If you want to dive right without a trial run, go right ahead. That’s how we learn, right? Why read directions or follow instructions.
After I finished stenciling all 4 sides with the faux hammered copper technique that I came up with, I set the wood piece on a stool and walked away. Most likely I took a mid-afternoon coffee break. When I came back into the studio, I was able to see it with new eyes, so to speak. After a little more photo comparison, I decided that all those little shapes might not need highlights and shadows. But I wasn’t going to make the final decision so, I sent a photo to my carpenter friend. And it looked good to him. Now it was ready for delivery and installation.
When I got to the jobsite, the sink was sitting on a table not installed yet. I set the faux hammered copper piece on top of the sink for the main contractor’s approval. The colors looked a little different with the sink on the table rather that in its finally space.
The homeowner’s loved it.
It was perfect inset into the hood that my friend had crafted.
The cabinets are finished in a wonderful dark, oil rubbed bronze type finish. The construction of the kitchen is still in progress.
Earlier as I was talking about following directions or reading instructions I thought about the Paul’s instruction to Timothy “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of Godmay be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17
Basically, what the first part of this is saying:
Teaching – Let me tell you how to do THIS.
Rebuking – That’s not what or how I told you to do THAT.
Correcting – Let me tell you again how to do THIS.
Training – Now, let me show you how to do THIS.
I have always loved and now use the teaching technique.
“Tell me, I will probably forget. Show me, I might remember. Involve me and I will learn.” I was going to give credit for the quote but after a bit of research, it seems that there is some uncertainty as to who the real author is.
‘til next time,
Susan Margetts says
I am trying to use your Hammered copper idea for my own range hood but I cannot get the video to work? What I really need to know is what paint colors combo did you use?
Thank you for your time and your talent
The colors are Folk Art Metallics Antique Copper and Sequin Black. The base color is Antique copper. Then the hammered effect is with a combination of the two colors.
Hope this helps