How to Use Paint to Make Things Look Rusty

Written by keith dooley
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How to Use Paint to Make Things Look Rusty
Use a paint technique to add a rusted metal appearance to objects. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

People invest quite a bit of time attempting to stop rust forming on tools, knives, outdoor equipment and other susceptible items. However, the look can actually be desirable for some who are trying to reproduce the look on items made of materials other than metal. You can use paint to reproduce the look of rust and add interest and visual appeal to an object.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Newspaper or dust sheet
  • Paint brush
  • Latex paint
  • Sand
  • Dark brown paint
  • Light brown paint
  • Water bottle
  • Gray paint
  • Dark orange paint

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  1. 1

    Place newspaper or a dust sheet on the floor or work surface to protect from paint splatter.

  2. 2

    Choose an object for painting such as a concrete garden statue, new metal scroll work or an item based on personal preference.

  3. 3

    Apply a coat of latex paint with a paintbrush to the object to act as a primer. Completely cover the object with paint and allow to dry.

  4. 4

    Apply a second coat of latex paint to the object. Sprinkle sand onto the paint to completely cover the object. Shake off excess sand and allow the paint to dry overnight.

  5. 5

    Apply a coat of dark brown paint to the sandy surface of the object. Dab the paint onto the object with the tips of the paintbrush bristles. Do not completely cover the object with brown paint but apply it in a random pattern. Allow the brown paint to dry.

  6. 6

    Dab light brown paint onto the object in the areas where the brown paint was not applied. Allow the paint to dry before continuing with the project.

  7. 7

    Lightly mist the surface of the object with water from a spray bottle. Apply dark blue paint to the object by dabbing. Work the paint randomly onto the object by dabbing. Allow the dark blue paint to dry.

  8. 8

    Spatter dark orange paint onto the surface of the object in a random pattern. Tap the paintbrush against a hand to spatter paint onto the object. Use a random pattern when spattering paint. Allow the painted object to dry overnight before using.

Tips and warnings

  • The time required for the individual applications of paint to dry will vary based on temperature, humidity and location.

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