craft, DIY, Home, rustic, upcycle

a wall: recycling rusty pressed tin (1)




Faffing around here the other night as the ‘new’ tin wall grows

 … getting an idea how it might  look, might work.

This project made its first public appearance on the old blog




Sharing this project in 2 posts . . .  a work in progress

You can see the wall evolving from the plain gyprock/drywall it was into a feature wall with vintage rusty patina made from old pressed tin.


I have had these mixed pieces of pressed metal lying around for some years always knowing I would eventually find the right project for them.




They are the original old tin sheets often found on the ceilings of historic homes in Australia measuring 6 feet x 2 feet or 1800 cm x 60 mm.  Basically, I don’t do a thing to them, other than a basic wipe over. I dare not lose any of that patina, that beautiful rust, the old chippy paint. Use them as I found them.

And, yes, you can buy the the pressed metal sheets new now in exactly the same size as the originals.  In fact they seem to be used in homes for various projects such as ceilings, walls, and as back splashes to name a few.  The designs, certainly in SA, are historically accurate as the sheets are pressed from moulds made from the originals.






Beautiful rust, chippy paint . . . the light is not always the best especially when I was working outside in the veranda area, at night.








Initially,  I lay the sheets out for size & suitability & to make sure I mix up the patterns as much as possible.








Cutting & fitting. Laying out. Thinking. Planning. Mixing up.






While it’s very easy working with this beautiful old tin it is thin & must be handled with care to avoid letting it bend right over & flatten enough to create a bent line.  You cannot really get the bend mark out.




Some tools of the trade …. the measure, pliers for bending crooked & bent edges & the angle grinder for cutting.

And, yes, while a good pair of tin scissors or tin snips will cut these very malleable sheets, it’s much easier & faster with an angle grinder especially when there is quite a bit of cutting required as in this project.  For very small jobs I would use tin snips.

I simply cut the sheets into 60 x 60 cm squares which means 3 squares per sheet length.  Given the rectangular shape & equal size of each sheet (60cm x 1800cm) it was easy to cut out the squares.   Minimal or no measuring required.




The nail gun is indispensable for a job like this.

Yes, a hammer & small nails would work but a nail gun simplifies & speeds up the process.

And a good spirit level is mandatory.  Get a good one not a cheapy.  I have a large Fat Max.




As always, I do a detailed preparation.  Yes, you need ladders.

In the gyprock/drywall I locate the vertical studs which are, as expected, about 60cm/2 feet apart.  I accurately locate the studs using a plum line & spirit level so that they are straight vertically.  I use a pencil to mark out these details.

You can see my 2 vertical pencil lines – one is the centre of the project, the other (on the right) is the stud.  The studs are about 35mm wide.  The centre line is where I placed the first piece of tin so its centre sat on the line making each side equi-distant from the line.

I didn’t have to pay much attention to the design sequence in this project as in *this one.  This one was an easy, random affair.




I also locate the horizontal studs.  You need the wood studs to attach the tin to through the gyprock.  The studs are weight bearing & help later when you want to add, say, heavier pieces to the wall such as shelves, pictures, mirrors or other things.  No doubt I will want to add something.  You can’t cut corners in this type of creative art work.

It’s not hard … just takes good planning & prep & attention to detail.  It’s actually a very straight forward job.










Before I attach each piece of tin to the wall/studs, using the nail gun or small nails, I add dobs of stud adhesive to the back to further strengthen & reinforce the bonding between the tin & the gyprock/drywall.

This stuff is cheap & can be found at any hardware store & is dead easy to use.  Mitre 10 & Bunnings have various brands.




Starting from the centre point in the wall I work out left & right.








Work in progress.




Getting there.

Then I have finishing to do, the fine & detailed touching up of tiny holes, covering tiny nail heads with antique brown paint.

Yes, while a lot of prep & patience is necessary in these types of creative projects, I love the ideas that come to me, that I think about, incubate. The planning & design, the ‘how to’ is just one part of the process. Another is making it happen, making it all come together.  Gives me so much pleasure & satisfaction.  And, I’m not paying a tradie or handyman. Frankly & with respect, most have no idea what I want, how I want it done, or why 🙂

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