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HARD EARNED RUSTED METAL PATINA
A couple of months ago I refinished a thrifted vintage ironing board to use as a folding table in my laundry room. I love how it turned out so much and it remains one of my favorite refinishing projects. While refinishing it, I stumbled upon these 3 steps for a faux rusted metal.
The ironing board I found has metal bolts on top that had earned a natural rusted patina through the years that was beautiful. In the process of sanding the wood down though, the hard earned patina takes a hit. Now I have the original silver metal. The silver finish is definitely not the look I have in mind and I want to get that rusted look back.
USING WHAT IS ON HAND
There are a lot of different ways to rust metal or to get a faux rusty metal look. We live out in the middle of the country so a trip to the store for the ride and true materials is a couple hour endeavor. I didn’t want to stop everything to make a store run so I had to get creative.
After raiding the workshop shelves for things I had on hand, I came up with an idea that seemed like it could work. It only required three products and 3 steps for a faux rusted metal look. I started with a black matte spray paint. In order to achieve a rusted look I knew I wanted a matte finish and I wanted a spray paint. The only paint I had on hand was a chalkboard paint.
RUSTED METAL LOOK IN THREE EASY STEPS
The first step was to spray the black paint directly onto a lint free cloth. Then I used the cloth to apply the paint to the metal. Instead of wiping the paint on, I used the cloth to dab it all over the metal parts of the ironing board. By dabbing it, I felt like it better achieved a more natural, random look that worked well. I didn’t worry too much about covering every inch of the metal since I wanted it to look like a more natural rusted patina.
Side note: I naturally struggle with perfectionism so refinishing vintage furniture has been very therapeutic learning tool for me. Perfection will certainly work against you when trying to achieve an aged look on furniture pieces.
Once the black paint dried, the second of these three easy steps for a faux rusted metal was a copper metallic spray paint. I applied the metallic paint the same way, spraying it on a lint free cloth and then dabbing it over the black paint. Applying the metallic paint much more sporadically than the black paint, I made sure not to completely cover over the black.
I love the look I got with the black and metallic paint, but it felt like I was missing the texture that comes with a natural rusted patina. Antiquing wax is one of my go to products. I reach for it on most of my vintage furniture projects because it adds such great texture.
Once again, using a lint free cloth, I dabbed the furniture wax over the painted metal pieces. I jumped out of the box with this one. Normally when using antiquing wax, a little goes a long way. For this project, however, I used a pretty heavy hand with the application. My main goal with this step was to add texture, so I made sure to add enough to create a rusted texture, which meant globbing it on a bit.
I also didn’t rub it into the piece as I normally would do when using antiquing wax, nor did I wipe it off. This was definitely not according to the directions on the can, but it ended up working out so perfectly! The heavy application takes much longer to cure, but once it did I does, the added texture is perfect.
*It is a good idea to finish this off with a Polyurethane spray to seal the finish and keep it from rubbing off. This ironing board has been in my laundry room for a few weeks now, getting lots of use. So far it is holding up perfectly after a quick coat of polyurethane!
THE PERFECT RUSTED METAL LOOK
For an experiment, this could not have turned out more perfect! Trying new techniques and experimenting is one of my favorite things to try when refinishing furniture. Some of the coolest pieces I have done have been born from experimentation and thinking outside of the box. This project was no exception. I’m actually really excited to use this new technique again soon.
I used this same technique to get the bolts on top back to their rusty goodness too. Overall, the darker metal finish seems to suit the ironing board much better than the silver metal finish. I would love to hear what you think about these 3 steps for a faux rusted metal the comments below!
If you missed it, be sure to check out the full Refinished Vintage Ironing Board project!
3 STEPS FOR A FAUX RUSTED METAL PRODUCTS LIST
Here is everything I used along with a few affiliate links. <3
- Rust-oleum chalkboard spray paint (any matte black paint will work)
- Rust-oleum metallic copper spray paint
- Antiquing wax (I used Behr brand, but Valspar works really well too).
- Minwax polyurethane
- Lint free cloths