DIY Industrial Faux-Metallic Monogram Letter

I’m a little like Goldilocks when it comes to decorating my house. I usually have something specific in mind, so there’s a lot of “too big”, “too small”, “too blue”, “not blue enough” type searching.  Usually it means I end up making it myself, which is the case with this faux-metallic monogram letter (and the table it will hang over, and the rest of the wall collage…) A big letter, a little paint, and about an hour is all it took for me to have exactly what I wanted.

Make a faux-metallic monogram letter with paint, using this tutorial from Carla Schauer Designs
Make a faux-metal monogram with paint.

You will need:

  • Acrylic paint (Graphite, Lamp Black, Slate Grey, Shimmering Silver Metallic, Burnt Sienna)
  • 2″ Sponge Brush
  • Natural sponge or similar synthetic
  • Damp paper towel
  • Paper Mache’ letter

I started by choosing Graphite paint for my base coat.  I wanted a lighter finished metallic color, so I didn’t want my base to be too dark.  A quick application with a 2″ sponge brush using a swirling, circular motion worked well.  One coat of paint was plenty in most areas, since I wasn’t looking for a full, even base coat. More variation = more texture.

Make a faux metal monogram letter with the tutorial from Carla Schauer Designs.
Applying base coat for metallic letter

Next, I added some dark texture using a piece of natural sponge-ish material (or real natural sponge, you’re just looking for something without a harsh edge).  I dipped my sponge in Lamp Black paint, dabbed the excess off on my kraft paper table cover, and lightly dabbed the black onto the letter.

Faux Metallic Texture on Painted Monogram Letter. Letter tutorial from Carla Schauer Designs
Sponging dark texture layer on letter.

I used the same technique to add a layer of light-colored texture using the same technique and Slate Grey paint.  You can see the spot where I dabbed the extra paint off my sponge in the photo below.  I actually went back in and added a bit more black here and there after the light coat to give a more natural look.

Light & dark painted texture. From faux-metallic monogram letter tutorial by Carla Schauer Designs.
Add light painted texture layer.

Once I was happy with my texture layering, I added my “rust”.  Using my dry sponge brush and Burnt Sienna paint, I added color to the edges of my letter, and any other areas that looked like they would naturally rust on their own.

Paint a faux-metallic rusted monogram letter with this tutorial from
Paint rust on metallic letter.

For the metallic layer, I mixed my original Graphite with Dazzling Metallics Shimmering Silver until I got the galvanized color I was looking for.  This let me darken my metallic color, as well as tone down the shimmer.  I dabbed on my paint with the clean sponge brush a few inches at a time, and rubbed it into the letter with my fingertips. The circular motion worked well again for this top coat, giving yet another layer of dimension and evening out the paint to look more smooth and realistic. I also used a damp paper towel sparingly to remove paint in thicker areas and help blend paint.

Faux-Metallic Painted Monogram Letter tutorial from Carla Schauer Designs
Painting metallic coat on letter.

One last touch up of the “rusty” spots with Burnt Sienna to reemphasize the parts that got too covered with silver, and my industrial faux-metallic monogram letter is finished and ready to display.

Make a faux-metal monogram with paint. Tutorial from Carla Schauer Designs.
Painted industrial monogram letter.

The best part of this technique is that there is no “perfect”. Skip the texture and paint in one direction for a brushed nickel look, add brad “rivets” like Retropolitan’s Zinc Letters or change the color with different metallic paint.  Bronze and patina lovers can make Snazzy Little Things’ grungy patina letter with a few changes in technique.  There is a faux-metallic paint technique for every decorating style, so you can stop searching and make your own!

Thanks for stopping by!


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