Rust Effects Basics

Nothing says Mixed Media more than the look of an old, antiqued, rusted project. The color and texture of rust has a unique character of it’s own, and until now it’s almost been impossible to re-create that look. Last year Finnabair introduced the Rust Effects Pastes from Prima Marketing and achieving this brilliant look has never been easier!

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen the short series that I posted a couple of weeks ago showing a condensed version of the tutorial I’m featuring here. Below you will find more in depth instructions on how to work with the Rust Effects Pastes, including a short video tutorial for you to watch that walk you thru the basics of working with this medium.

Watch the Video

This video shows you the basics for working with Rust Effects Pastes on almost any project. 

Step–By–Step Rust Effects Tutorial

For this tutorial I used a pine wood frame as the base for my project. I applied a base coat of Heavy Black Gesso onto the frame, but for most surfaces (including wood) you don’t need to apply a base coat. I only did this so that I could have the back of the frame black.

Working from lighter to darker with the Rust Effects Paste, I began by applying the Brown Rust to the frame. I like to use inexpensive paint brushes and apply the paste by ‘stippling’ it onto the surface but you can also use a regular paint brush or palette knife. When applied in this manner, you’ll build even more texture to the surface.

Heat set the Brown Rust (it dries quickly!).

What’s great about the Rust Effects paste is that you can create custom colors by simply mixing them together. With a palette knife, I mixed together equal amounts of the Brown and Red Rust Pastes to create a warmer, lighter brown color to layer onto the frame.

Add the custom mixed color onto the frame, randomly highlighting areas but leaving some of the Brown Rust color showing through. Don’t think too much about where you’ll putting this color – the random application is what results in the best rust effect!

Heat set when finished

Now it’s time to add some real rusty highlights! Use the Red Rust to highlight areas of the surface. Because the Red Rust is so ‘bright’ compared to the brown colors already applied, a little bit will go a long way. Don’t worry if you apply too much Red, you can always go back and add your custom color or the Brown Rust to ‘dull’ down the color so it doesn’t appear so intense.

Heat set after applying color.

The final color to add is the Yellow Rust. Like the Red, this color appears very intense when applied so be sure to use a light hand when applying. Many times I use just my finger tip to highlight the very top of the texture I’ve created.

Heat set color.

For coloring your embellishments, apply the color in the same manner. As I mentioned earlier, when coloring metal embellishments you can add the Rust Pastes directly to the metal, no priming needed. To make the embellishments stand out a little more against the background, I added more of the Red and Yellow colors, then brushed lightly with Gold Mica Powder to make them jump out just a little more.

To add the embellishments onto the frame, you can use the Rust Effects Paste as an adhesive. Simply apply the paste onto the surface and then add the embellishments onto the frame. While the paste is still wet, sprinkle with Mica Flakes, Micro Beads or other to add texture and color.

I hope this tutorial inspires you to create your own Rusted masterpiece!