The look of metal is very appealing for many art and craft projects. Working with actual metal is difficult, however, since metal is often heavy, is hard to glue to other surfaces and requires special tools to alter its shape. Paper that looks like metal is much easier to work with. You can purchase paper that looks like metal, or there are many different ways to make paper that looks like metal yourself.
Paint the paper with a metal spray paint. Many paints are designed to look like different types of metal, such as silver, copper and iron. While shiny paints are available, dull paints or paints that create an aged, hammered or distressed look are often more convincing.
Paint the paper with metallic craft paint. This is very simple to do; use any metallic acrylic craft paint and brush it onto the paper. This will give a metallic look to the paper, although plain metallic paint is often not very convincing for the illusion of real metal. To make the paper look more realistic, use some thin black or brown paint and either dry brush the paper or use a thin, streaky coat.
Paint the paper with nonmetallic paint. This requires some skill. Look at a shiny object for reference, and paint the paper with stripes of a very light color, a dark color, and one or two medium colors. The colors you need will vary depending upon the type of metal you are painting. For instance, silver needs shades of grey and blue-grey, while gold needs bright yellow, orange, and brown. Any type of paint is suitable for this.
Print a photograph of metal onto the paper. You can also use many digital art programs to easily create the illusion of metal on an image, then print the image onto a piece of paper. This method is very easy.
Many papers can be used for these projects. Thin cardboard and cardstock are particularly suited, because they can withstand a lot of abuse from painting and repainting.
Adding seams or rivets or dry brushing red or orange paint on paper to suggest rust are some ways that you can enhance the illusion of real metal. Green paint looks like patina on copper.
To make an object out of paper that looks like metal, try using paper mache.