The Detroit Post
Saturday, 16 October, 2021

How To Paint Rust Effect Acrylic

Ava Flores
• Monday, 28 December, 2020
• 8 min read

Drying times vary for different brands of primer, which is why you should always follow the manufacturer's instructions. Sprinkle clean sand over the random areas on the object while the paint is still wet, and allow it to dry for a minimum of 12 hours.

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Applying sand will give the object the look of oxidation or rough areas where rust forms. Pick the object up and turn it over to allow excess sand to fall off of it before applying the next coat of paint.

Apply dark brown paint to the object by stippling it on the surface. You want to be able to see the base coat of paint and sand through the brown in random areas on the object.

Use the stipple technique to apply gray paint over the entire surface of the object, and allow it to dry. Natural rust formation usually occurs along the edges, and on ridges that might collect water.

Allow the newly faux finished object to completely dry before placing it outside. Practicing will give you an opportunity to see apply more or less of one color until you achieve the desired effect.

There are different methods available to create a rusted effect, but the least expensive one is to simply use multiple colors of paint and ordinary sand. With these materials you can achieve a rusted effect on many items inside and outside your home.

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Dark brown acrylic paint (Marie’s “Vandyke Brown” is used in this video) rust /orange acrylic paint (Marie’s “Burnt Sienna” is used in this video) glue that dries clear (matte multi-medium would be great for this) cinnamon powder (the secret ingredient) a beat up paint brush a glass with water for your brush Work in small areas, and ensure that the entire surface is covered.

Proceed to dab glue onto the surface of your piece using an old paint brush. Alternate between and glue and cinnamon until you are happy with the look It is important to work in small areas during this step.

Step #4 Allow the glue to completely dry, and brush any excess cinnamon off of your piece…and voilà…a perfectly “rusty” piece of metal!!! For example, on the urn in the photo above, Annie painted the surface black and went straight to Step #3 and added the glue and cinnamon.

Just take a look at some of the most popular (and most sold) artworks on sites such as Fine Art America and Society6. There is something about a vintage styled painting that brings us back to a time past.

I’ve been wondering how some artists achieve the appearance of crackling and rust in their paintings so easily. These are some tutorials I’ve found on achieving a vintage and grungy effect with acrylic paint.


There are many ways of making an appearance of real rust with acrylic paint. Sushi Platypus gives a demonstration concerning creating rust with acrylic paint.

Dab this with a paper towel or cloth to remove excess paint. Some artists have become real pros at achieving a rustic effect very easily, simply by using watercolor or acrylic.

He paints watercolor images of antique and weathered cars, trucks, motorcycles and more. His paintings are incredibly realistic and lifelike, and the rust on the vehicles is very prominent.

Artistically, the colors and textures created when metal ages are amazing and unlike anything else. Dear in the Headlight by Randy Van Deck I use different techniques for each situation, but I’ve found that some really great rust is created by simply watering the acrylic down when applying it and letting the paint pool or drip in the desired areas.

Then, I put rubber cement over all the areas where I wanted the rust to be, stumbling the edges slightly to get the random, rough quality. I easily removed the rubber cement to reveal the orange underneath that forms the base pattern of the rust.

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With additional characteristics of pitting, holes and raised oxidized surfaces, these variations of interest allow us to paint something out of the ordinary. Mark-Making Items : Color Shapers or palette knives are great for adding an element of roughness to the canvas that a brush doesn’t provide.

Wilda goes on to explain, “I worked in graphite for years and it was always most pleasurable to draw something of mass, such as an abandoned and rusted train car or vehicle, without the use of color. With pencil, it’s important to observe basic values, and how light and shadow are affected on the object’s surface.

Layering in pencil or with paint adds density and represents more clearly that the subject has bulk, that it’s 3D.” Here’s a quick tip from artist Maureen Hillary on how to draw fur texture with depth and dimension using carbon, graphite and a cut eraser.

If you want your train layout or diorama to look realistic, you have to find a way to represent the wear and tear of the real world, showing what depredations the elements can wreak on unprotected surfaces. There are a few ready-mixed multi-step products that can do the trick, like Ru stall, but it is really not hard to create the effect of rust using a few simple techniques and paint colors.

We will use the techniques of “the wash” and “the dry-brush” as discussed in earlier articles to achieve the desired rust effect. Paint and supplies: Burnt Sienna and Burnt Umber(we use water based Limited in the bottle) Silver acrylic paint (we use Apple Barrel or similar) Testers’ Dull cote spray in the 3 oz.

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A flat sheen base coat will cover the surface with a more even layer of rust. We'll start our example piece with a simple, clean, HO scale (1:87) truck body.

Objects with steep sides may require you to do one section of a time and let it dry before moving on to the next area. Burnt Sienna wash is the first layer of weathering, applied liberally over the whole surface.

In the photo, we've dulled down the shiny chrome with a black wash to get into the crevices and generally mute the shine. Subtle streaks are added on the door handle and a few places along the top edge of the bed using black or one of our rust colors.

If you want the object to have a slight suggestion of metal to its nature, dry-brush a thin layer of the silver acrylic across the surface. In the photo, we've made a light dry-brush of acrylic silver giving a subtle hint of the metallic nature of the truck body.

Perhaps you want to age a painted metal object with hard edges, like a 55 gallon drum. Dry-brush the hard edges with the rust colors and leave the rest alone except for a few vertical streaks as discussed above.

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You could also do this with the Brandon powder of your choice, or even by getting some gray or brown chalk pastels from the art store and crushing them against sandpaper to produce custom weathering dust. Real dirt is probably too thick and granular to look good as a scale weathering product unless it is repeatedly sifted through progressively finer strainers.

As with the other powders, sealing lightly with Dull cote makes the effect more resistant to damage. No additional parts have been added; it's a single piece with elaborate but simple paint work.

You can rust out rolling stock, or abandoned metal structures like signal bridges or water tanks. You can even bring life to a rusty fire escape on the side of a dilapidated tenement.

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