Please help me give my metal ob­jects a con­vinc­ing old and rusty look

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Jimmy McGoldrick, Ire­land

An­swer John replies

When paint­ing rust on to bare metal, I find that it’s of­ten eas­ier to paint the smooth metal sur­face first and then add the rust on a new layer af­ter­wards. This will en­able you to add and erase rusty ar­eas as you see fit, with­out destroying the orig­i­nal ma­te­rial you cre­ated.

Rust usu­ally tends to have a dull, rough ap­pear­ance, al­ter­nat­ing be­tween brightly sat­u­rated reds and dark browns. To paint con­vinc­ing rust, it helps to un­der­stand that rust grows in patches, and on bare metal it will come in as a raised tex­ture. On painted metal it grows in be­tween the layer of paint and the base metal, and over time pieces of the paint will flake off, leav­ing a scaly tex­ture un­der­neath. As you work on it, be sure to in­tro­duce plenty of grain and grungi­ness to the metal. For re­al­ism, where you add rust is also im­por­tant. Rust has a habit of con­cen­trat­ing in ar­eas where two sep­a­rate pieces of metal touch each other, like riv­ets and seams. It also tends to form ver­ti­cal streak­ing pat­terns from th­ese sur­faces, due to wa­ter flow­ing down­ward.

There’s re­ally no mys­te­ri­ous trick to paint­ing rust. Just add it on in rough patches and con­cen­trate it in ar­eas

that might col­lect mois­ture. Iron ox­ide is a red, flaky pow­der that grows as a raised sur­face on bare metal. Just paint it on a sep­a­rate layer and erase as needed.

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