Metal wall decor makeover | Metal tile wall art makeover with homemade chalk paint | DIY chalk paint recipe | How to use white wax | How to use black wax | How to paint metal with homemade chalk paint | Easy and budget-friendly DIY home decor transformation | Before & After | Farmhouse style home decor | Victorian style metal tiles | TheNavagePatch.com

Metal Wall Decor Makeover

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Slowly but surely, our living room makeover is coming together. Over the weekend, while Greg was busy groaning putting the media console together, I tackled the metal wall decor makeover.

I bought these metal tiles from Grandin Road in January 2014. They were on sale for $49 each – down from $90…pretty good deal! Knowing that I would never catch a steal like that again, I bought three of them. Even today, I am not sure why I bought three, but when Greg also wondered about it, my quick response was:

H: Guess why my babes?

G: I don’t know… so we can cover the big empty area on our living room upper wall?

H: Huh?!? Oh yeah…exactly! They are going to look awesome there 😀

Hahahaha… I know, I know… a bit sneaky… but why admit that it was a total impulse buy, or that I never actually had a plan for them, when he comes up with the best idea, right? And guess what? He still thinks it was my great idea. LOL. 😉  [pfffft….not anymore! -Greg]

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When we received our metal wall decor, I wasn’t so happy with their glossy finish. But a makeover wasn’t a priority back then, so we hung them and forgot about them until we started our living room makeover back in November. When we changed the color palette to neutral, those metal tiles stuck out like a sore thumb. So last weekend, I grabbed my beloved paint brush and some homemade chalk paint and got to work.

After dusting them off with a damp cheesecloth, I started painting the first two tiles to Warm Onyx color – yes this is that interesting brown color which turns into smokey gray with white wax!… and yes, it is the same color Greg used to call “turd brown”, hahahaha 😀

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I have to agree when the paint is wet, it is not a very agreeable color.

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But it’s not too bad when dry…it is sort of grayish-brown…definitely more on the brown side though.

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…but when white waxed, like magic, all that brown disappears and transforms to a wonderful smokey gray!

Working section-by-section, I brushed the white wax on…

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…and wiped it off with a cheesecloth.

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This is how it looked when I finished white waxing the first tile. So far so good!

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Once I completed painting and waxing the first two metal tiles, I moved on to the third one. To create a nice contrast, I decided to paint the last tile with white, so I prepared some homemade chalk paint in old white color.

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After giving 3 thin coats of paint…

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…I waxed the tile with Annie Sloan’s black wax. Again, I worked in small sections, because I didn’t want to mess it up.

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You see, the way all these waxes (antiquing wax, white wax or black wax) act on paint is pretty much the same with how Greg acts on a sofa – you leave them sitting too long, you’ll have a hard time getting them off. To avoid that issue, I either work in small sections or keep some clear wax handy. If I happen to apply too much dark wax or happen to wipe it off a bit late, then I apply clear wax on top of it and that helps to clear the mess. Say what? Oh, how do I get Greg off of the sofa?!? I don’t…I can’t…no one can…so at those times the best thing to do is lighting a cozy fire or raising the temperature in the house. When he feels hot and thirsty, he’ll definitely get up to fix himself a martini. That is the time to catch him before he sits back again…hahahaha 😀   [Did someone say “martini?” -Greg]

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Once I finished waxing, we hung them back in their places using our tallest ladder, and that was that!

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I love how everything is slowly coming together! They look really nice, don’t they?

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As usual, here are the close up pictures for you.

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I really love how Miss Mustard Seed white wax transforms Warm Onyx to this beautiful color!

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Before I forget, if you also want to give Warm Onyx a try, just show the color code picture I shared above to Home Depot or Lowe’s paint staff, and they will prepare the same color paint for you.

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It’s a pity that Grandin Road doesn’t carry these metal tiles anymore. But if you liked our tiles you can still find them on Joss & Main: Verennes Wall Decor or Pamela Wall Decor.

Verennes Wall Decor, $87.95

Pamela Wall Decor, $97.95

You just gotta love Google Image Search! Verennes and Pamela seem to be exactly the same tile (same picture, same size and same material)…and both are on Joss & Main! I guess “Pamela” is about a $10 sexier wall decor name than “Verennes”! hahahaha 😉

Handan, xo

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32 Comments

  1. Hi! Did you put any kind of winish on top of the wax? I am wondering about long term dust…Does dust “stick” on the wax or does it dry smooth and not tacky?
    The tiles look gorgeous, by the way, the living room looks completely different! I love it!

    1. Hello Claudine, thank you so much! It does look different doesn’t it? I am so loving it.

      As for your question, I didn’t put anything else on top of the wax, since wax should always be the last finish for anything you paint and protect – meaning that the sequence would be: first paint, then any type of protective coat (poly or anything else), then wax.

      When you buff the wax, you not only do it to apply it properly, but also to create a smooth surface that dust wouldn’t stick to, So as you are wiping the excess wax off, you are also slightly buffing the surface, and that helps to create the smooth surface, For frames or wall art like this, only a little buffing is needed, as they don’t have a lot of horizontal surface like furniture (a side table or desk) would have. For a side table or buffet, I would buff the piece with an electric buffer to achieve that lovely smooth and dust-resistant surface.

  2. Oh I love those metal tiles Handan. Here in S Africa they’re as scarce as hen’s teeth, unless I’m looking in all the wrong places? They look superb hanging on the wall, such a dramatic impact. Lovely

      1. I’m really inspired! My husband and l bought our home 5 years ago in the suburbs of Dallas after our move from San Jose, California. We’ve did a ton of projects and most recently made a decor change from browns and traditional design to grays and farmhouse. It is very costly and I’ve been looking for some ways to save money. Thanks to a quick search, I found your blog. I love diys and I am going to try this out on some metal wall decor we purchased years ago. Thanks for the inspiration!

  3. I found these at Big Lots in the States.
    Marked down to $12.99 then half off that. I drove around like a mad women to pick up all I could. Used in our properties wooded retreats.com.
    Also lined with wood so lip wasn’t and issue and made large concrete stepping stones.
    So fun!!!

    1. Wow! Now that is a good deal!! The ones I have 36″ by 36″, so they would be really huge as stepping stones. But if I could find anything around 12″by 12″, I would definitely use your stepping stone idea ?

    1. Thank you so much, Charles! Although every now and then I mix gold or silver bling to certain things, I do prefer muted colors for indoor furniture or decor items. 🙂

  4. I have some similar vintage ceiling tiles that are about 12″x12″. They used to hang in the kitchen until I got sick of looking at them. Perhaps I can dig them up and paint them for a spring refresh! Your living room looks great! Thanks for sharing at Vintage Charm xo Kathleen| Our Hopeful Home

    1. Thank you so much, Kathleen! It took quite a bit of work getting the living room this far, but it was worth it. Now I enjoy spending time in our living room 🙂

  5. Nice job. The variety of materials we have to work with today is a wonderful thing. I have never tried the coloured waxes. I have coloured my own liquid wax and used it in projects. One of these days I will try some of the prepackaged products.

  6. Thank you for sharing your wonderful post at #OverTheMoon. I look forward to what you will share next week! Like someone in person today! We hope you’ll come back again next Sunday when we open our doors at 6:00 PM EST. Pinned and tweeted!

  7. I don’t see where you told us how you redid the second time in the tealish color. I’m confused. Did I just miss it?

    1. Hi Kelly, I painted two of the panels with Warm Onyx color, then waxed with white wax. That process turned the metal panels to a smoky blueish/grayish color. You can see those two panels (together with the white one in the middle) in the final pictures. If you’re asking for the shiny tealish metal panel that’s in one of the process pictures above, that panel was waiting to be painted to Warm Onyx color.