The beauty and ease of use make metal ceiling tiles the perfect craft material for any DIY project. They come in a variety of colors, styles, and textures and can be cut, painted, and shaped into a variety of stunning home accessories and gifts. They can be used for about anything you can imagine. From wall art to table lamp covers to cabinet décor to photo frames.
So here is a comprehensive guide for some tools and techniques so you can start crafting with metal ceiling tiles.
Cutting Metal Ceiling Tiles
Even though they are made from sturdy metal, cutting metal ceiling tiles is quite easy if you have the right tools. To cut your metal ceiling tiles you will need:
- Pencil or marker
- Straight edge or pattern guide
- Ruler or tape measure
- Tin snips or a utility knife – tin snips preferred
- Metal grit sandpaper
- Gloves to protect your hands from sharp edves
Once you have all your tools gathered, here is how you can cut your metal ceiling tile into any shape you can imagine:
- Whenever you cut metal ceiling tiles, you want to make sure you wear gloves so you don’t cut yourself on the sharp edges of tools or the tiles.
- Measure your ceiling tile with a ruler or tape measure to figure out where you’d like to make the appropriate cut.
- Use a pencil to mark where you’d like to make the cut. You can use a straight or pattern guide to line out your cuts and get the exact shape you desire.
- Next cut along the line with either tin snips or a utility knife. Utility knives are best used when making a straight cut because you simply score along the line going back and forth a few times and then “break” it for a clean edge. Tin snips are better for when cutting unique shapes and patterns because you can control them the same way you control a pair of scissors. Do be careful with tin snips as you can easily go off-track and end up with curved or uneven shapes.
- Since cutting metal tiles can leave sharp or uneven edges, you may want to finish up the edge with fine metal-grit sandpaper smoothen the rough edges.
Shaping Metal Ceiling Tiles
Metal ceiling tiles are quite flexible so you can bend them into a variety of shapes to meet whatever crafting needs you have. Here are some tips on getting a perfect bend:
- For a 90° angle bend: Mark with a straight edge where you would like the bend. Then simply line the ceiling tile against a 90° edge like a piece of wood or a sturdy box. Slowly bend the tile along the edge and focus on creasing the seam of the bend. Once you have the 90° angle you can make a few adjustments to make sure it’s straight simply by working the material along the seams to make the perfect angle.
- For any other angle: Follow the same guidelines as you would to make a 90° angle. You have two options to make a different sized angle. First, you can choose a different guide like a box with the desired angle and mold it along the edge. The second option is to fold the 90° angle and then work with the material using your hands and a compass to get the angle you desire. Be careful though, if you overwork the seam you may end up splitting the tile in half. So just fold and unfold the tile slowly to get your fold. Alternately, you can cut and join using a little bit of glue such as liquid nails to adhere various pieces together.
- For a round shape: Making a rounded shape is also relatively easy. You just need a cylindrical shape guide. Wrap the tile around the guide and slowly roll it until it is curved into the shape that you want. Please note that you can roll metal tiles into cylinders or into pyramids as long as you are using the entire tile to do so. For example, if you want to make a cylindrical shape, it would be best to roll an entire tile into a cylinder and glue the ends together. You can then craft a base or you can use a finished piece of wood or other material and attach your cylinder to allow it to stand up.
- For any unusual shape: If you want to create a triangle or square shape, simply make a pattern for the shape. Remember that though they are flexible, if you stretch the tiles too much you will lose the pattern. Instead use a mixture of shaping guides and cuts to design your pattern. For example, if you want to make a box out of a single tile, measure the six sides of the box and the cut the excess and fold into shape. This way, you won’t end up with a shapeless piece of bent metal!
Painting Metal Ceiling Tiles
Another important crafting technique when working with metal tiles is the ability to paint them any color that you want. To paint a metal ceiling tile you will need:
- A brush or sponge for stippling
- Oil-based primer
- Oil-based paint (you can also use oil-based spray paint)
- Oil-based finishing coat
- Tarp or drop cloth to protect your working surface
To paint a ceiling tile is easy. Simply choose your color, lay out your surface protection fabric or plastic cover, and apply primer followed by paint, and then add finishing coats, letting each coat dry completely before each application. Remember, painting metal ceiling tiles requires oil based paints, so you will also want to make sure you are in a well-ventilated area. You can read more about painting ceiling tiles with our guide found here.
With these easy techniques, you can make anything you can imagine out of metal ceiling tiles. Just use your imagination and let the creative juices flow!