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feeling rusty?


From Habitat magazine - issue 12

Jeff demonstrates the ‘incredibly simple’ art of a rust effect.

Finished rust effect projectFinished project

Rust effect project- suppliesWhat you need

Jeff’s word, ‘tattoo’ is made of aluminium powder-coated letters which were kicking around his studio. Yours can be those you’ve already painted in a matt Resene colour, or in a Resene satin varnish if you’d like sheen. You can also source dimensional letters from signwriters and craft shops.

You may choose to ‘rust’ something other than a word – a motif or picture, perhaps or old bolt heads, screw hooks or cup hooks.

You will need:

  • A background surface, such as the sturdycardboard roll here, painted a light to mid-grey
  • Dimensional letters or whatever you’re going to paint ‘rust’ from, and a drill to attach these if necessary
  • Resene Quick Dry waterborne primer undercoat
  • Three Resene testpots in Resene Fire, Resene Mai Tai, and Resene Rebel
  • Three small round-tufted paint brushes, although those small cheap brushes lurking in the shed will probably be fine
  • A rag, plastic water-spritzer or old glass-cleanerbottle, paint-stripping gun or hair-dryer
  • A mahlstick or paintbrush-like pole which isused to steady the non-working hand

Rust coloured paints
Paint colours required

Step 1Step 1

Step 2Step 2

Step 1:  Apply a low-key paint effect to the background, if desired. Pour some Resene Quick Dry primer into a good-sized lid and add at least as much water. Scrunch up a rag and daub into the diluted paint. Apply indiscriminately to the background until your desired effect is achieved. Blast this dry for about two minutes in directions you'd like the paint to travel with a paint-stripping gun or hair-dryer.

Step 2:  Apply the dimensional letters, sign, bolts or hooks to your background board.

Step 3:  Open all three testpots, and begin with the darkest, Resene Rebel. Remember that rust happens naturally from the base of where an object is attached, flowing down with gravity, so apply a little paint to the underside of lettering, or any protruding part. Use the mahlstick, for steadying.

Step 3Step 3

Step 4Step 4

Step 5Step 5

Step 4: Give your paintwork a good spritz with water to encourage lots of little runs to occur. Have the paint-stripping gun or hair-dryer ready to use before the dribbles have gone too far. Repeat the process with the second darkest colour, Resene Fire. If the board is still wet, use less paint on your brush. Spritz and dry once again.

Step 5: Repeat with Resene Mai Tai. The effect should be slightly muddied. Finish work when you think it looks right.

Words: Liesl Johnstone
Pictures: Juliet Nicholas


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