Tuesday Tutorial: Distress Stain on Metal

Today I am sharing two techniques for changing up metal embellishments.

tammytutterow distress stain on metal

Back in July I shared my 12 Halloweens tag book.  One of the things that I did on this book was to play with different ways to add color to metal embellishments.  I thought for today’s tutorial it would be fun to go back and show in more detail how I did that.  Today I am sharing how I added Distress Stain to the metal Ornate Plate shown above.

Don’t forget, you can always click on each photo for a larger view.

tammytutterow distress stain on metal

Begin with a metal embellishment on Craft Sheet.

tammytutterow distress stain on metal

Tap the surface with a pigment ink pad.  I like using Ranger’s Snow Cap Pigment Ink Pad because the white gives me a nice “clean slate” that will keep whatever color I apply over it true to color.

tammytutterow distress stain on metal

Use a heat gun to dry the ink on the metal.

tammytutterow distress stain on metal

When it is dry it will have a very matte finish.  If you wanted just the matte color that the ink creates, you could use any color here and then seal it (described below).

tammytutterow distress stain on metal

Dab Distress Stain onto the metal.  I like apply it so that it is blotty looking, leaving some white showing but you could apply it so that the coverage is more solid and even.

tammytutterow distress stain on metal

Dry the stain with a heat gun.

tammytutterow distress stain on metal

As you dry it, the stain will pretty much stay where and how you applied it.

tammytutterow distress stain on metal

To seal the piece with a clear coat, dab over the surface with clear embossing ink.

tammytutterow distress stain on metal

Place the piece in an embossing powder tray.  Cover it with clear embossing powder.  I use regular powder for this, but you could use UTEE.

tammytutterow distress stain on metal

Remove the piece from the tray and place it back on the craft sheet.

tammytutterow distress stain on metal

Heat the metal piece until the clear embossing powder is melted.  Keep in mind that the metal piece will be hot so let it sit and cool before picking it up.

tammytutterow distress stain on metal

At the heating stage you can actually change the look of the ink and stain a bit depending on how long you heat the metal.  On the plate on the finished book, the white ink layer and stain remained solid under the embossing powder.  On this example, I heated it much longer which caused the white ink and stain to kind of break apart slightly under the clear coat.  The end result is a bit more distressed looking, almost like crazing.  If you try this technique, you may experiment a bit with the heating and see what kind of variances you can achieve. (You may want to click on this image to see more detail.)

tammytutterow distress stain on metal

Crazed or solid, I think the end effect is really cool and adds a fun touch of color to your project.

tammytutterow distress stain on metal

As I was working on the photos for the tutorial today, I kept thinking about the cool embossing powder melt art technique that Jess from Vintaj was sharing at CHA.  (Scrap Time has a video of the demo that you can find HERE.)  I wondered how it would look on a metal embellishment like the Ornate Frames.

tammytutterow distress stain on metal

I like the finished result.  I followed Jess’s technique with the Melting Pot and used Distress Embossing Powders in Shabby Shutters, Antique Linen, and Broken China along with Ranger’s Enchanted Gold and UTEE.  I used a small bead reamer to clean out any open spaces that got filled with melted powders.  (By the way, bead reamers are awesome tools to have in the studio.  They are super fine round metal files found in the beading section.  I picked up a set of 4 at Joann’s for under $4.00.) The finished result really reminds me of an old piece of metal that has aged in the weather or maybe been salvaged from the sea.


Check out my teaching calendar and join me for a class at a store near you!

My next event: August 21-23, 2015 The Doodlebug, Inc | Jasper, IN


  1. Nannie of 3 says

    ooowww, so much fun to be had. I love to alter the original look of things, at least most of the time, and this gives me one more outlet. I haven’t played with Tim’s stains yet, I really need to get some purchased and start playing.

  2. Sarah P says

    I LOVE this technique!! I never would have thought to put Distress Stains on metal but it looks gorgeous! Thank you for teaching me something new, yet again : )

  3. Marijane says

    Fantastic techniques,Tammy! I have been wanting to start working with Tim’s foil tapes and sheets – making a wall hanging I saw on Linda Cain’s blog. This gives me some perfect embellishments to adorn it. Thanks again!

  4. Julie says

    Wow…what awesome results! I have more than a few packages of the ornate frames. What a great way to change them up! Nothing metal will be safe now…lol! Thanks Tammy!

  5. says

    Off to play with metal and Distress Stains -who knew not only that they would work on top of Snowcap, but that they would stay exactly where you put them when heat dried!
    inspirational as ever. xx

  6. Elaine Allen says

    Tammy –
    Great tutorial! My mind is spinning with the possibilities. I really love the idea being able to alter metal. Thank you so much.
    Elaine Allen

  7. Cindy says

    This is just sooo cool……..and the best part is, I have all the supplies!! Thanks for the inspiration.

  8. says

    Hello Tammy
    i always love a tutorial on how to alter metal.
    The ornaments look sooo cool ! Love the old look you can create with this techniques.
    I will have a look at the tutorial of the other lady cause I also like the result you had with her technique !
    greetings from belgium

  9. marion estes says

    Thanks for this. I can’t wait to try it. I love UTEE but have never used it like this. I have only dipped things in the UTEE and I always feel kinda witchy when I play with it–Put something in the pot and pull out something completely transformed. he he. This method takes the witchy factor out of it. Don’t know if thats good or bad.