Upcycle a Metal Tin with Decoupage

Decorative Upcycled Metal Tin
Decorative Upcycled Metal Tin

A lot of gifts and products come in decorative metal tins. Usually I don’t like the design already on the tin and prefer to cover it with something else. Turn a humdrum tin into a treasure with decoupage!

What you will need:
Images on paper to decoupage
Scrap paper
Metal ruler
Optional: rubber stamps
Timber Brown StazOn stamping ink
Metal tin
Small flat paintbrush
Water container
Paint palette with wells
Old credit card
Water based matte medium (if you prefer a glossy surface, use gloss medium)
Aleene’s Turbo Tacky Glue
Metallic Silver StazOn or other silver paint appropriate for metal
Silver Ribbon

  1. To begin, gather together paper pieces with imagery that you like. This project will work best if they are on thin, opaque paper (not tissue paper). For my sample I wanted to create decorative tins for the bath, so I collected nostalgic images with a bath and personal products theme. Some of my images were downloaded from the Internet and printed for me at an office supply store. Some were cut out of magazines and catalogs, some vintage, some newer. Others were purchased from craft suppliers.You can also stamp images onto paper with permanent ink, such as the StazOn Timber Brown I used in this project. I stamped words from the rubber stamp set “Products on the Kitchen and Bath” onto narrow strips of torn scrap paper. Use any color of stamping ink you like as long as it is waterproof.
  2. Trim the images and cut to the size you want to use. Some images will look better cut out cleanly, some look good torn by using your metal ruler as a straight edge. You can also cut some with decorative paper edging scissors for variety. This project looks best if you prepare images in a variety of sizes.
  3. If you have any pieces larger than 1 inch square, there is a risk of the paper wrinkling as you apply it. Here is how to prevent wrinkling. Put down some scrap paper to protect your work surface. Pour a little matte medium into one of the paint wells. Paint the larger paper pieces on one side. Let dry, then flip over and paint the other side and let dry. Now they are ready to apply, wrinkle free!
  4. Prepare the tin to accept the paper – Sand the tin to rough up the painted surface to better accept the glued on pieces. Wipe of the dust with a damp rag. Let it dry.

    Applying paper to tin
    Applying paper to tin
  5. Now for the fun part, applying the paper pieces! For now, set aside the lid and only work on the body of the tin. Squeeze out some Aleen’s Turbo Tacky Glue into one of the paint wells. Start with larger paper pieces first – brush some tacky glue onto the back of each, then smooth in place on the body of the tin with your fingers (we’ll be using a different technique for the lid so set the lid aside for now). If you have to, roll the handle of your brush over the paper after you apply it or burnish with the edge of an old credit card to force any excess glue out and make the paper bond tightly to the tin with no gaps. You don’t have to worry about wiping or brushing away any excess glue if you don’t have big globs of glue oozing out – it will dry clear. Repeat this process until the whole bottom portion of the tin is covered. Let dry, then coat with a varnish of matt medium.
  6. Now we’ll work on the lid and a silver ribbon to wrap around the bottom edge of the tin. Sponge silver StazOn ink or other paint or ink of your choice around the edge of the lid and about a half inch onto the top. Cut two pieces of silver ribbon that are long enough to go around a tin one time. Tape them to a piece of scrap paper and sponge them with the silver ink or paint too – even though the ribbon is already silver it’s best to match it to the ink.
  7. Once the silver ribbon is dry, glue it around bottom edge of the tin with Tacky Glue.
  8. When the silver paint on the lid is dry, varnish lid and body of the tin with matte varnish.

    Collage on cardstock
    Collage on cardstock
  9. Get a piece of cardstock and decoupage it all over with more pieces of decorative paper. Let dry and coat with matte varnish.

    Circles of collaged cardstock ready to glue onto lids
    Circles of collaged cardstock ready to glue onto lids
  10. When the cardstock is dry, cut out a circle that is big enough to cover any unpainted areas of the lid. Glue down this paper circle with Tacky Glue, and let dry with a weight on top to keep it flat. You’re done!

    Another finished tin
    Another finished tin

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