how to make wood look like metal

How to Make Wood Look Like Metal

Working on a wood project and wondering how to make wood look like metal? Making wood resemble other materials, such as metal, is a fun and unique way for crafters to personalize their projects. It’s easier to do than you may think and requires only a few hardware supplies. 

How to make wood look like metal? A combination of paint and stain (such as spray-on, acrylic and latex varieties in both metallic and flat shades) and specific painting techniques (such as ‘blotting’, ‘pouncing’, ‘mottling’, ‘glazing’ and ‘dry brushing’) are needed to make wood look like metal.

In addition to paint supplies and techniques listed above, other materials you will need:

Now that you know it takes paint materials and specific techniques to make wood look like metal, let’s explore this idea in more detail. Like how to make wooden stair spindles look like wrought iron. We also discuss what types of paint you can use on wood to give it a metal look, what the ‘galvanized metal effect’ is and how to make a wooden door look like metal. 

Lets get to it and show you we have done several different wood to metal effects below.

How Do You Make Wood Like Wrought Iron?

A wrought iron look on spindles can make any wooden staircase look unique and modern. Special water-based paints that contain iron filings is what gives the wood that metal look. The following is a simple five-step method on how to make spindles look like they were made out of iron.

Material List

  • Dark gray acrylic paint with a flat finish
  • Wrought iron paint
  • Water-based varnish (sealant)
  • Paint brush
  • Disposable brush
  • Rust solution (optional)
  • Cloth
  • Sandpaper

Step One

Sand the spindles to dull the surface and then wipe off the excess dust with a clean, dry cloth.

Step Two

Paint the spindles with a flat, dark gray paint first to act as a base count. Be sure to cover the entire surface of the wood completely. Wash your paint brush thoroughly with soap and water and allow the paint to dry completely.

Step Three

Prepare the wrought iron paint by shaking the can well to evenly distribute the iron filings. Apply a fairly thick, even coat of paint to the spindles. Wash your paint brush again thoroughly with soap and water. Allow the paint to dry completely.

Step Four

Apply the rust solution to the spindles with a disposable brush to create an antique, aged look. Give it 12 hours to allow the rust to develop.

Step Five

Apply a clear coat sealant to the spindles. This will prevent them from further rusting. Allow the sealant to dry thoroughly.

And there you have it, five very easy steps to making wood spindles look like metal. Be sure to work in a well-ventilated room, if possible. Be sure to also wear a dust or vapor mask as well as safety glasses and impermeable or nitrile gloves.

How to Make a Wooden Door Look Like Metal?

Making a wooden door look like metal is a twelve-step process that is fairly easy to do and only requires paint or stain, paint brushes (in different sizes) and some basic painting techniques. The steps 

  • Start with a smooth surface (that has been well-sanded) and spray one coat of light gray primer evenly onto the door.
  • When the primer has dried, add a second layer of spray paint, this time in a metallic silver color.
  • Wait for the silver paint to dry and then spray on another coat.
  • Dry-brush around the edges with a gel stain in a darker gray color.
  • Apply the dark gray stain all around the door using the same dry-brushing technique.
  • Let the door dry overnight.
  • Use a black-gray paint to add a shadow effect to the door. Apply the paint with a small brush around the edges and then go over it again with a dry brush to diffuse the color.
  • Add larger areas of shadow with a bigger paintbrush using the same dry-brush technique.
  • Add highlights by using white latex paint on a small brush and dabbling or blotting the paint onto any high points in the door.
  • Larger highlighted areas can be added by dry brushing once again with a bigger brush.
  • Spray a clear varnish all over the door when finished painting.
  • Allow the door to dry completely.

Be sure to work in a room with good air flow. Wear a dust mask and safety glasses as well as nitrile gloves. Always take the necessary safety precautions when working with products containing solvents and other toxic chemicals, such as paint or stain.

What is the Galvanized Metal Effect?

The galvanized metal effect is a way of using different colored paint to make wood look like metal. It is very easy to do, uses inexpensive materials and looks amazing! The technique includes the following materials and steps:


  • Gray spray paint or primer
  • Metallic silver paint
  • Black acrylic paint
  • White acrylic paint
  • Paint brush (stiff-bristle style)
  • Satin clear coat finishing product
  • Sandpaper
  • Cloth
  • Paper towel
  • Paper plate

Step One

Sand the wood surface first (with sandpaper) and wipe off any remaining dust with a clean cloth.

Step Two

Use gray spray paint or primer and cover the wood surface completely.

Step Three

Put some silver paint onto a paper plate and dip the end of the paint brush into it. Blot off the excess and then ‘pounce’ (transfer an image from one surface to another using paint as the medium) the brush over the gray-primed wood. You’re not going for full-coverage here but rather a blotted effect.

Step Four

Rinse the paint brush with warm water and squeeze-dry it with a paper towel. Add some black paint to the paper plate and using the same pouncing (or blotting) technique, apply black paint to areas of the wood. Use less black than you did when you applied the silver paint.

Step Five

Rinse the paint brush again with warm water and squeeze-dry with paper towel. Add some white paint to the paper plate and once again, pounce or blot the paint onto the wood the same way you did with the black paint.

Step Six

Before the paint has a chance to dry, use a cloth or paper towel to smear the white paint around creating a mottled (marked with smears of color) look. Gently push the paint into wood grain to create a more weathered look.

Step Seven

Clean the brush again. Add a thin layer of metallic silver paint to the wood. This time, however, remove most of the silver paint from the brush beforehand by dabbing it on cloth or paper towel. Lightly drag the brush over all layers of paint to blend the colors and smooth out the finish.

Step Eight

Finish the piece by glazing it or lighting coating it with a varnishing product in either a satin or egg shell finish. Avoid overly-glossy finishes as they do not reflect the true appearance of galvanized metal. Allow the wood to fully dry before handling or moving.

If at all possible, keep a piece of galvanized metal handy to hold up and look at while you’re painting the wood. This way, you can compare it to your work as you go, using it as a guide. Be sure to work in a room that is well-ventilated with good air flow and don’t forget your protective gear, such as dust mask, safety glasses and nitrile gloves.

Can You Use Metal Paint on Wood?

It is possible to use metal paint on wood. Hammerite metal paint, for example, may be used on wood as long as you apply a water-based acrylic wood primer first. The same goes for Rustoleum metal paint. You must coat the wood with primer beforehand as paint does not adhere well to bare wood surfaces. And remember, no matter type of paint you use on wood, sanding is also important.

What is Faux Metal Paint?

Faux metal paint is a highly-concentrated product that makes wood look like iron while also protecting it from tarnishing. Modern Masters is one such paint that is available online at and comes in a variety of different-colored metal finishes including gold, platinum and bronze. 

This provides a high-end, decorative finish and is available in opaque, semi-opaque and sheer coverage varieties. It is water-based, affordable and highly recommended by users. It has an overall rating of 4.3/5 with 4.9/5 for ease of use and 4.6/5 for value. Why not go online and check it out today!


In conclusion, with the right paint, materials and a little know-how, you can make wood look like other materials, including metal. It is a fun way to make your next DIY project both unique and creative. So why not try some of the wood/metal techniques discussed in this article today? Good luck and happy woodworking!

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