Americana Architectural Details

Tin ceiling tiles were once commonplace in many homes in America. Today, you can often find them in architectural salvage yards (we did). If you can’t find any to upcycle, you can also buy them new. 

Step 1


Prep Tile

Unless you are using new tiles, most likely they will have some rust or old paint on them. Sand the tiles to get them clean; it will make the surface easier to paint. Wear a dust mask while sanding away old paint. If any of the tiles need to be flattened, gently tap them with a hammer. You’ll want the tiles as flat as possible before affixing them to your headboard.

Step 2


Cut To Size

Use tin snips to cut the tiles. Safety is your number one priority. The jagged edges on the tiles can be quite dangerous. It’s vital that you use thick work gloves and wear long sleeves and pants to prevent cutting yourself.

Step 3


Lay Out Design

Lay out the tiles on the plywood to create a pattern. We researched some Americana quilt designs and used those as inspiration when piecing together the tile. Number the tiles on the back to help you remember the placement of the tiles.

Step 4


Cut Molding

You will need three pieces of molding to frame the headboard; one for the top and two for the sides. Cut them to size and then sand the edges smooth.

Step 5


Paint Tiles

When you have decided on the pattern, paint each tin tile. Make piles of the tiles that will be painted the same color so you can paint them in batches. Use a drop cloth, gloves and a mask to protect your floor, skin and lungs from the fumes. Spray paint the tiles in a well-ventilated area (preferably outside). Allow them to dry for a few hours.

Step 6


Adhere Tiles

Use Liquid Nails adhesive to adhere the tiles to the plywood. Press the tile down flat. If necessary, lay a heavy object on the tiles until the adhesive sets.

Step 7


Fasten With Nails

Use small nails to hammer down any areas that are not lying flat.

Step 8


Attach Molding

Apply a small strip of adhesive to the flat side of the molding and then place the molding along the edge of the headboard. Use long nails on each corner of the molding to secure.

Step 9


Hang or Fasten To Bed

Hang the headboard on the wall or add legs to the back of the board and then fasten it to the bed frame