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How to Give Metal A Faux Rusty Coating

Get a well-used look with all the metal damage

rusty watering can
Photo by ©Arco Images GmbH/Alamy

This handsome look comes at no risk since the rust won't damage the metal; it appears only where you lay an iron-laced primer. Once the top coat is applied, the primer corrodes to look like metal left out in the elements.


Steps // How to Give Metal A Faux Rusty Coating
1 ×

Stir The Iron Paint

 
Step One // How to Give Metal A Faux Rusty Coating

Stir The Iron Paint

give a watering can a faux rust coating mixing up the iron paint
Photo by Lisa Shin

Mix the iron paint well by shaking or stirring to ensure that the iron particles are evenly distributed.

 
2 ×

Dab The Paint

 
Step Two // How to Give Metal A Faux Rusty Coating

Dab The Paint

give a watering can a faux rust coating dab on iron paint
Photo by Lisa Shin

Wearing protective gloves, use a sponge to dab on thin coats of paint where rust would naturally occur, such as on the top and bottom rims, on drip lines, or on the spout. Once dry, dab on a second coat of paint. Use thicker coats to vary the texture.

 
3 ×

Apply The Rust Solution

 
Step Three // How to Give Metal A Faux Rusty Coating

Apply The Rust Solution

give a watering can a faux rust coating apply rust solution over tacky paint
Photo by Lisa Shin

While the paint is still somewhat tacky (after about an hour), use a sponge to liberally apply the rust solution to the paint. You'll see the paint turn rusty, but the rest of the can will be unharmed. For an authentic look, we deliberately didn't clean up the rust drips on the can. Watch for the rust to start to form in about an hour; leave overnight for a full transformation.

 
4 ×

Seal The Surfaces

 
Step Four // How to Give Metal A Faux Rusty Coating

Seal The Surfaces

give a watering can a faux rust coating seal rusted surfaces with sealant
Photo by Lisa Shin

For outside use, seal the rusted surfaces with a top coat of clear sealer.

 
 
 

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