DIY faux metallic painted papier mache dog statue

Check out my (super simple) faux metallic DIY dog statue. So cute.  Need a little bit of decorative doggy flair for your holiday vignette or perhaps a creative DIY Christmas present for a dog lover? Check out the details below for how to turn just about any object into a vintage style faux metallic decoration. We won’t judge if you decide to make a cat ornament. We promise… 

Christmas Has Gone to the Dogs!

This is an easy (and inexpensive) makeover painting project for new, old, or upcycled objects. I’ve opted for a hammered metal paint, but you can easily adapt to other painting finishes to suit your person decorating style and tastes. I used a pre-made Christmas tree (wood) and dog figurine (papier mache) for two different examples in two different finishes to demonstrate just how simple and versatile this little DIY can be. The tree was purchased to paint for Christmas and the dog figurine had been lingering in my craft stash for years.

Options for the Base Dog Statue

Finding a Ready Made Dog Statue

My papier mache dog statue came from a standard craft supply store. You can find a similar statue from craft store or online. They’re inexpensive (especially if you stalk for sales) and easy to work with.
 
Alternatively, you can repurpose just about anything you can find for painting. Hammered metal paint like the one I used here is crazy versatile; however, not all paints suit all surfaces. You may need a different type of paint or have to do some prep work and/or priming on the surface prior to painting.  Check online and local shops for possible bases. Bargain hunt. Remember, you’re refinishing, so flea markets, charity stores, or second-hand shops might have some great options. Ugly dog ducklings ready to be painted pretty! Garden and outdoor store may have small dog statues as well.
 

Making Your Own Dog Statue 

If you are keen to create a dog statue but can’t find a suitable ready-made dog figurine, perhaps you’d like to make your own from scratch. For a flat shape (like my tree) you can use an outline of your own dog or a free silhouette as a template to trace for cutting with a jigsaw. Papier mache or clay (smaller figurines) also work. Remember that colours won’t matter if you are painting the finished sculpture.  
 
Not sure where to start?  There are some really cool tutorials online that will help. There are even breed specific tutorials for your favourite doggy shape. Pawesome! Here are a few quick links:
 

Other Makeover Ideas

What to paint? That’s completely up to you! Letters and words (wooden or paper), picture frames, and general decorations work great with this method. You can paint just about anything for your Christmas decor or other purposes, for yourself or for gifting. My tree holds the stack of our incoming cards (we save them all for opening on Christmas Day) each year. The silver dog was originally part of our Christmas decoration display, but after the holidays, it moved to the office. It occupies pride of place atop my dog books on a shelf. Metallics are so easy and versatile. Objects can easily transition from day-to-day decor to a custom holiday vignette and back again. 

Tip:  If you are using papier mache like my dog figurine and would like to make it into a paperweight or bookend, you can drill, fill, and patch before painting to transport a simple shape like this into a hefty “metal” object. Alternatively, you can leave it hollow and mount it on a block for weight.

DIY hammered metal painted dog statue and Christmas tree decoration

Painting the Statue

My Selection of Hammered Metal Paint

With a little bit of prep and the right paint, you can transform just about anything. For easily creating a slightly antiqued vintage fake metal look on any surface, I love hammered metal effect paint. Brands and options will vary depending on where you live, but you can typically find these in the metal and rust paint section of your hardware store. They are made for painting and restoring metal, but work nicely on other substrates (patch test first if you are unsure). It is usually available as an aerosol or a traditional paint. The latter takes a little longer, but creates a nice thick authentic “metal” finish when used on non-metallic objects. Check out my vintage style personalised pet picture frames to see the same paint applied with an additional antiquing for a faux vintage metal look.

We rarely use solvent-borne paints, but we think that the outcome justifies the exception to our tree-hugging ways for this purpose. A little tin goes a very long way and a fresh new paint job has saved many a dilapidated and well-worn item from rubbish around our place.

Painting a dog figurine with hammered metal paint

Supplies and Materials

To paint a statue, like the some shown here, you will need a suitable base shape, suitable paint (see above), and paint brush. Choose a suitably sized brush for your project. This is one instance where I’m happy to use a low quality or single use brush as clean-up is a nightmare with this paint. Bonus points if you paint multiple projects at once!  Tip: Wrapping the bush in cling-film or inverting your glove onto the brush will keep it usable for the next coat. 

  • Base statue or figurine (see tips above)
  • Paint
  • Paint brush

Preparation and Painting 

Ready-made Papier mache like my dog statue doesn’t require any special prep. You may need to wash, dry, sand, and or prime some objects.

Set up a work area in a well-ventilated location. This is stinky messy work, so outdoors on a warm (not hot) day somewhere sheltered from direct sun is ideal. Follow all of the safety guidance on your chosen paint product. 

Ensure that your object is clean and dry, then get to work.  Hammered metal effect paint is very thick, and is best applied in thin coats to avoid gloopy dripping and sagging. Intricate objects, like the Christmas tree, work best when you paint the detail or inset areas first and then smooth the transition onto the flat surfaces.  Work in multiple coats for a nice finish, with a light sand in between coats if you have any irregularities or drips to fix. Dry thoroughly before use.

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