Tuesday, 13 September 2011


Those of you who regularly keep an eye on what Shoshi is up to will know she has a thing for rust…

On our recent trip to the eastern side of Plymouth sound, the family thought I had gone completely mad, drooling over the rusty armoured gun ports at Bovisand Fort, and taking endless photographs!

25 Rusty Texture at Bovisand Fort

I love the texture and the amazing range of colours you get from all forms of decay and corrosion. Entropy is the artist’s best friend!!!

Recently I have been thinking about decorating some more Ikea mirrors – you may remember this one I did for Wonderwoman’s 50th birthday in April (This was my first effort at flower painting with this particular technique, and now that I’ve had some more practice, I’m not that happy with that mirror!!)

05 Completed Mirror

I am certainly going to do some more flower paintings, but I was thinking also of doing some textured gesso art, and that got me thinking about other textures, and something much more grungey which might be of more interest to the menfolk, and I thought I’d try my hand at some steampunk. I’ve been exploring various Youtube tutorials on getting a realistic rust effect, and as I was unwilling to invest in yet more materials to create just one effect, I wondered if I could create some rust with materials I’ve already got, so on went Shoshi’s thinking cap…

These are the materials I came up with that I thought would work well for this project.

Black Gesso

Daler Rowney Liquid Pearlescent Acrylic in Galactic Blue

Golden Coarse Pumice Gel Medium

Golden Regular Semi-Gloss Acrylic Gel Medium

Pebeo Deco Matt Acrylic Paint in Dark Brown

Pebeo Deco Matt Acrylic Paint in Orange

Treasure Copper

Winsor & Newton Galeria Copper Metallic Acrylic 1

Winsor & Newton Galeria Copper Metallic Acrylic

This is what I’ve come up with.

11 Rust ATC Sample with Embellishments

As usual, the photograph hasn’t done it justice because anything metallic or iridescent is always hard to capture accurately.

The steps I took to achieve this effect were as follows.

I took one of my ATC-sized pieces of mounting board which had already been prepped with white gesso, and I added two coats of black gesso, drying in between. The white gesso isn’t necessary, but it was already done, so I just painted over it.

01 Painting with Black Gesso

On top of this I painted a layer of Daler Rowney Pearlescent Liquid Acrylic in Galactic Blue.

02 Painting with Liquid Acrylic

Actually this was bluer than I wanted but it was all I had – when I repeat this effect I’m going to make up an acrylic glaze which is much more greeny-turquoise in colour, mixed with iridescent gel medium, to give a verdigris effect. Before it was dry, I spritzed it with a little water to make it a bit patchy, and dried it with my heat gun, which moved the liquid around on the surface a bit.

03 Painted with Liquid Acrylic

When it was dry, I applied some coarse pumice acrylic gel medium with a palette knife, not covering the whole ATC but deliberately making it patchy and uneven, and avoiding the very edges of the card. I scraped at it quite hard too, which made some nice striations in the surface of the card in places. I dried this with my heat gun.

04 Applying the Pumice Gel Medium

I then applied a mixture of dark brown and orange fluid acrylics with a brush, mixing the colour until I was satisfied that it was good and rusty, and working it well into the texture of the pumice medium, but not covering the whole card; some of the blue was still visible around the edges. Again, I dried this with my heat gun.

06 Painting with Mix of Brown and Orange Acrylic

Next I painted on a very small quantity of copper metallic acrylic paint – that is gorgeous stuff!! – not overdoing this, but catching the texture of the pumice medium.

05 Painted with Copper Metallic Acrylic

After drying this with my heat gun, I applied a thin layer of semi-gloss soft acrylic gel medium with a brush, to seal the surface, and again dried it with my heat gun.

07 Sealing with Semi-Gloss Acrylic Gel Medium

08 Sealed with Semi-Gloss Acrylic Gel Medium

I found that this had dulled the surface a little too much, so the final touch was to rub a small quantity of Treasure Copper (like Rub ‘n Buff but in a pot rather than in a tube) over the textured surface which brought back a dull lustre.

09 Rubbing with Treasure Copper

I am extremely pleased with the result!

10 The Finished Piece

Here is the video of the tutorial on how to create this faux rust effect.

I am delighted that I did not have to buy a specific rust-effect product, and I now know that I can replicate this effect on a larger scale, and decorate some mirrors, and possibly alter some boxes too. I shall add some castings of gear wheels and other steampunk junk to embellish the surface, and maybe dangle some charms from chains etc.

I’ve recently started making silicone rubber moulds in order to make charms and embellishments (I shall be posting about that soon) and I’m hoping to be able to produce many different ones in different media such as polymer clay, UTEE and Friendly Plastic.

The other day I saw an awesome video tutorial on Youtube, on how to make embellishments out of shrink plastic onto which you have first applied embossing powder. You heat the shrink plastic shape with a heat gun and as it shrinks, it also melts the embossing powder and you end up with amazing thick embossing! Can’t wait to try that.

I am thinking of delving into my tool box and finding some nuts and bolts and screw heads, and making castings of those, to add to these projects. Once I’ve got a mould, I can make as many as I want, and they will be lighter and easier to deal with than real metal. I want to be able to create this sort of effect – another of my juicy rusty Bovisand Fort photos:

30 Rusty Texture at Bovisand Fort

When my hubby saw the sample I’d made, he tried out his metal detector on it, and nothing happened!! Very surprising…! Obviously the metallic particles in the materials I used were not metal at all, but most likely mica powders or something like that.

I have had Such Fun with this!!! Is there anything more fun than developing new techniques and creating new things, and Simply Messing About with Paints?


  1. Wow, that is a great effect and I love the final photo from the fort as well.

  2. Excellent results from your experiments and thanks so much for sharing.
    JoZarty x

  3. Wow you have been busy, You just love getting messing in your ARTroom don't you.
    I know what you mean about photos, I take pictures of Boats and nets, stonewalls, driftwood
    Streams, Family think im a nutter.
    They are most probably right


Thank you for your comments! They are much appreciated. Spammers, please be aware that I read and moderate ALL comments, and yours will be deleted before publication, so please don't bother!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...