Mouse Flute by Stephie McCarthy

Rust Effect with Ash Paint —
an Easy Faux Patina

© Stephie McCarthy


We painted this metal table with a mixture of paint
and wood ashes to create a beautiful faux-rust finish.

How to paint rust effects using homemade ash paint

We didn't find much online about ash paint. This
is truly an original seat-of-our pants concept we
think you will love.

Faux rust before and after

Scroll down for video link —

Stephie McCarthy Ash Paint tutorial

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Make ash paint

Here are closeups. Amazing … and it was easy!
For years we experimented with brown paint to get a rust-like patina.
Adding wood ash was the key.
If you'd like to try this, get a cup of ashes from a fire pit,
a wood stove, a campfire … any wood and paper ash will do.

Easy Rust effect

The results are beautiful and soft,
not rough and sharp like real rust.
You can make patina sharper with more additives, but a
soft and smooth rust effect is great for everyday furnishings.

Metal effects rust

Shown above is the beginning of our test run on
a heart-muffin baking pan made of iron.
We gathered ashes, brown primer spray,
acrylic craft paints, disposable brushes,
and it's a good idea to have some real rust for reference.

Paint additive ashe paint

We sprayed 4 of the iron hearts with primer, then
dusted with ashes, rubbing them with a soft brush.
Repeat the spraying and dusting at least twice
to build up the effect.

How to make rust on metal

We dabbed highlight colors mixed with ashes into crevices
and on edges. We also spattered paint using a toothbrush.

How to make rust effects with ash paint

We removed some of the highlight paint at times by
dabbing and blending with a baby wipe.

Rust Patina DIY

Wow! This works!
We're going to keep ashes on hand from now on.
Mix and sprinkle ashes into the paint as you go
… no need to blend in advance. We tossed the ashes onto
our palette and mixed on-the-fly.

Scroll down for link to video.

Adding wood ash to paint

Here are some of the colors we used:
• black • rust red • bright yellow • pumpkin
Don't be afraid to use hot, bright, even neon colors
along with earthy browns and black. Rust is colorful!

How to faux rust

Here's the metal table before, on a tarp for easy cleanup.

We were so happy with the results of our impromptu ash paint
for creating rust effects, we got started on this thrifted metal table.
We sanded the table lightly to help the ash paint adhere.

Spray paint for rusty faux finish

Next, we sprayed a section with the flat brown primer.
If your nozzle clogs, clean it with alcohol and a baby wipe.

Mixing ashes with paint for faux finish

While paint was still wet, we dipped a brush into dry ashes
and polished the surface. The paint and ash
mixture will set quickly. Do this spray and dusting
technique at least twice to build up the textures.

Even when spray paint is partly dry,
you can add more ashes before the paint completely cures.

HomeTalk video link below

Rust patina easy DIY

We used disposable paint brushes to add highlight color and
ashes to the surface. Vary your highlight color for
realism, adding ashes as you go, scrubbing them in
until they melt into the paint.
The subtle texture and matte effect will remain.

Brush on DIY rust effect

Beautiful hot colors work well.

Step by Step rust patina

Ashes desaturate the colors and make an amazing matte
finish that sets up quickly.


Watch us create this rust effect!

Finished! Now it just needs some spray sealer. We let
the paint cure overnight and used
ModPodge Matte, Clear Acrylic Sealer

A few coats of sealer made the finish a bit darker
and adds the durability needed for everyday use.

Using ashes to create faux rust

Amazingly, we were able to clean the brushes. Maybe the
ashes helped there too.

Afterwards, we swept fallen ashes into the garden.

Organic Gardening by Stephie McCarthy

Ashes will not harm your garden, in fact, they can help
plants grow. Make sure you sweep them into
plants that like alkaline, not acid, soil. Tomatoes and
garden vegetables love ashes, while blueberries and
pine trees really don't!

Where to find supplies online:

Buy ModPodge Matte Sealer

Buy Rustoleum Primer

See How we Use Ashes and Caulk to Make Realistic Bark

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