Faux Metal Figures

by Julia Aston

Use foil tape to give a paper mache figure a vintage metal makeover.


  • Paper mache form (chipboard or wood form can also be used)
  • Foil adhesive tape (sheets by Inkssentials/Ranger used here)
  • Paper stump
  • Scissors
  • Push pin
  • Metal tipped pen
  • Alcohol inks – (Ranger Adirondack Stonewashed, Black Soot, Butterscotch, Cranberry Alcohol Inks and Pearl Mixative used here)
  • Applicator for ink (felt, cloth, sponge)
  • Steel wool
  • Embellishments to decorate piece as desired(Ranger Black Enamel Accents, Idea-ology Regal Adornments Crown & Wings, Idea-ology Trimmings (rope for tail), and star from Studio 490 Wendy Vecchi/Blossom Bucket used here)
  • Thick glue dots


  1. Step 1

    Use scissors to cut foil tape into many small, differently-shaped pieces (make straight cuts, not curves).

  2. Step 2

    Remove the backing from each piece of foil and apply to the paper mache figure until it is completely covered. Overlap the edges just a bit and smooth any wrinkles out of each piece with a paper stump.

  3. Step 3

    Make indents along each edge of the foil pieces using a push pin, metal tip of a clickable pen, or any other pointed tool.

  4. Step 4

    Sponge over the entire figure with alcohol inks.

    For a more vintage look, be sure that color sinks into the rivets created in step 3.

  5. To distress the piece, sand off color with a piece of steel wool. Color can also be removed with rubbing alcohol or another solvent.

  6. Step 5

    Metal embellishments can also be colored with alcohol inks and mixatives.

  7. Step 6

    Decorate the figure as desired. Adhere heavier embellishments to the figure with large glue dots or hot glue.

  8. Step 7

    Use the altered figure to decorate a finished project. (Sample was mounted on a die cut box decorated like a circus wagon.)


Your Turn

You've seen the tutorial, now you try it! We've got a section of the gallery set aside for Faux Metal Figures. Try this technique, then upload your artwork to the gallery. Show us your creations!

***Please note - Internet Explorer/Edge is not a supported browser, and will not allow you to see the videos. Please use Chrome, Firefox or Safari to view our tutorial videos.

Questions and Comments

We'd love to get your feedback or questions. Leave your comment below.

These projects are so FABULOUS! I have never used metal on a figure before but now I want to! Adorable elephant on the circus wagon and Sweet bird on the "nest." Thx for the inspiration!
Suzanne Lelli  |  Wed Jul 9, 2014 at 8:56 AM
What a fabulous idea. I think you did a super job. I think I want to try this on papier mache letters! Thank you for a wonderful idea.
Poli Rizco  |  Wed Jul 9, 2014 at 9:17 AM
Dina...excellent tutorial.....really enjoyed the first part where you showed all the variations of inks and this and that! smile
Susanne Gleason  |  Wed Jul 9, 2014 at 9:42 AM
So very very creative and fun! I can't wait to get out my mixed media stash and use this technique and tips. I love the steam punk look the foil tape gives the form!! I'm gonna give it a go! Thanks Julia!!
Anne H.  |  Wed Jul 9, 2014 at 11:28 AM
I gave it my best shot! It was fun to learn something new, but next time Im picking an easier form for the base!
muscrat  |  Wed Jul 9, 2014 at 5:01 PM
Very cool technique. Thank you Julia and Dina!!
Loll Thompson  |  Wed Jul 9, 2014 at 6:40 PM
He's absolutely adorable... and a brilliant tutorial, thanks so much, Julia!
Alison x
butterf1y  |  Fri Jul 11, 2014 at 5:16 AM
What a great tutorial! I have a HUGE roll of foil tape and can't wait to use it again for something different. Thank you for sharing your time.
Gigi  |  Fri Jul 11, 2014 at 7:06 PM
Now I am looking at figures and other things I can cover every time I go shopping!
muscrat  |  Mon Jul 14, 2014 at 6:38 AM
I absolutely LOVE this project. So easy in the application, but takes that little bit of artistic flair to really get it looking good. smile
Tabbatha Sandoval  |  Tue Jul 15, 2014 at 11:06 AM
Thank you , I love it!! great tutorial..going to give this a try for shure..and it was very nice to hear your voice for a change
Lenet Mos  |  Mon Aug 18, 2014 at 7:11 AM
Julia....WOW! Just a beautiful technique! You are an extremely talented artist. Thanks for sharing and teaching us a unique technique.
Nancy Monahan  |  Thu Feb 26, 2015 at 12:08 PM

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