Monday, July 18, 2011

Mixed Media Manic Monday "Rusty Things"

"Rusty Doors" Idaho City, Idaho 2009 
Morning Everyone!
Would have had this up sooner....
but Blogger was giving us all kinds a trouble this morning...
Rust: iron oxide..that reddish brittle coating that can be
found on something with age.. 
Caused by years of exposure to moist air and perhaps hardships.
How we love this reddish brittle coating. 
It can really add to the right piece...
For me a coating of rust somehow validates a mixed media piece.
Makes it more believable.. 
Or it builds credibility for the piece..
It makes me think vintage...
The thought that passes in my head is
this piece has put in some time in the world... 
It deserves our attention...

When I first started creating pieces
I had a fascination with rust... still do.
 I hunted and gathered
as many rusty things as I could find. 

Then I ran around creating faux rust with
acrylic paint and a bag of Golden paints. 
"Pumpkin Orange" is a good bet for most things...
 However that wasn't enough for me...
So then I began looking for home mixtures...

These next methods are what I found.
But be warned these are nasty.
You need to be careful and cautious with these next few
recipes for rust. You will be creating a chemical reaction.
For these two recipes...
-Wear gloves... 
-Work in a well ventilated are
-Be careful of fumes
-Keep children away.
-Please be safe.
These first two recipes are for working with real tin.
Your metal should not have a sealer or finish.
If it does sand it or rough it up.

Peroxide and Salt
-Tin or Iron Pieces
-Spray Bottle or Mister
-Table Salt
-Hydrogen Peroxide

Directions: I suggest you do this outside....Pour peroxide into the spray bottle. Generously mist the pieces you want rusted with your Peroxide. While still wet add a layer of salt. The reaction should start rather soon...Let the pieces dry on their own. Then  rub away the salt. Instant rust....This was the first method I really played with.... some things work ..some do not... it needs practice. You can achieve some cool effects. I know a guy that uses a bag of potato chips for this effect...( No.. he does not eat the chips afterwards) but he does use the salt in the bag to get the desired effect.

Vinegar and Bleach
This method works damn well. 
Just be sure to do it outside. 
Be very careful the fumes are nasty.

-Tin or Iron Pieces
-A container ( this container will be thrown away once done)

Directions: Mix two parts bleach to 1 part vinegar in your container.Whatever you are trying to rust needs to be submerged fully into the solution. To help with the process if you have something with lots of rust already on it.. like a nail ... add it to the mixture. This will help start things....How long you leave your items in the solution depends on the desired amount of rust that you want. I usually let my items sit over night. When you remove your items from the container be sure to wear something unwanted and wear gloves.  You also might want to lay out several sheets of newspaper for your items to be laid out on as they dry. I love the result of this technique. The negative to this technique.... the fumes are nasty... your neighbors may complain...LOL... you need to also discard your container of rust sludge when done... not so easy for some of us.... I had a friend do this in an art loft... needless to say she had problems..
 After the last two methods I wanted more....
I wanted to do non metal things... non tin... I wanted to rust doll heads, 
gears and cogs, wings , keyholes, etc...
So I expanded the search....Because I wanted to rust anything.

Modern Options Sophisticated Finishes
Usually can you find this at Michael's.
-Sophisticated Finishes Iron Metal Surfacer 
-Sophisticated Finishes Rust
-Paint brush
-Heat gun

Directions: Paint your desired item with a fine cot of Iron Metal Surfacer. Let it dry. Then paint on your Rust Solution. In about 3-12 hours you should start to see some rust. You can add more Rust solution for more desired rust. Benefits: this works on just about anything...
Negative: Wait time... I find that I wait forever... and usually need to repeat the process once or twice... 

After playing with Modern Options I  moved 
away from playing with rust for a bit... 
I found myself waiting for rust reactions... 
I'm an impatient fellow...  so I moved on. 
Until a friend turned me onto this.....

Modern Masters Metal Effects
For the local folk you can find it at
Or at
It is also a two part paint process.
This seems to work on just about anything and everything. 
Things begin to rust within about ten minutes... 
I also find that you can increase the dry rust time by using a heat gun...
Obviously be careful because it depends on what you have attempted to rust. 
But I have used it to rust game pieces, army figures, chipboard albums, and  more..
This is the most studio friendly process I have ever found for rust.
-Desired items to be rusted
-Modern Masters Metal Effects Iron Paint 
-Modern Masters Rust Activator
-Paint brush
-Spray Bottle

Directions: Paint your desired item with a fine coat of Metal Effects Iron Paint. Let it dry. Once dry you can apply rust activator either with a  brush or a spray bottle. In about ten minutes you should start to see rust. The warmer the environment the better..... If needed add a little heat with a  heat gun to help the process... if more rust is desired add more Activator.

 A few samples of Modern Masters on plastsic....

We love this stuff!
There are several sealers made to work with these products.
Or you can spray most of your rust items with a matte sealer to complete things.
We hope that it inspires some creative projects.
Remember to be safe and have fun....
If you have any questions you can always reach us at
Or if you would like to share any of your rusted pics and goods.
We would love to see them.
Happy Monday everyone!


suburbNgypsy said...

these look awesome, although i have to confess i'm glad YOU did all the stinky research!

can't wait to try out the modern method, since most of what i want to "rust" is not metal. but thanks for all the great chemistry experiments!

ps - i emailed you last week for my swag - thank you both so much for picking me!

In the Light of the Moon said...

excellent tips..thank you so much!!Warmest Regards,Cat

Robin said...

Thanks so much for all the rust info! I didn't realize you could rust anything other than metal. Have a great day.


Nelbel said...

Thank you soooo much for sharing these techniques. Who would have thought that art required scientific exploration? LOL!! Still loving your work!!

Gybogi said...

thanks for the tipps! have a great day, gybogi

Ginger said...

What a wonderful tip on how to rust! Outstanding! Can,t wait to rust something soon.


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