Happy New Year! Welcome back to our Bar Stool Revival. I am so excited to share with you this second bar stool because I can teach you all about one of my favourite faux finishing techniques, creating rust!
Before I get started and teach you all how to create your own Rust and Patina finish let me start by saying this did not turn out at all how I envisioned! This isn’t the first time I tried to skip a step or rush something because I am so impatient and then was “surprised” at the result. I do love how it turned out but it is definitely not what I was envisioning.
Follow along as I go through the steps of exactly what I did (if you wish to recreate it). I will also tell you what I should have done and show you some images of what I planned to achieve just in case you are wondering.
My Materials List, in order of appearance:
- Plain black stool
- Graphite Chalk Paint™ by Annie Sloan
- Annie Sloan Small Oval Brush, #8
- Lye Soap
- Modern Masters, Metal Effects Iron Paint
- Old Pie Plate
- Plastic Spoon
- 2” Chip Brush
- Modern Masters, Metal Effects Oxidizing Bronze Paint
- Reusable Mylar Stencil
- Small Stencil Brush
- Modern Masters, Rust Activator Spray
- Modern Masters, Green Patina Spray
- 2 Empty Spray Bottles
- Modern Masters Exterior Dead Flat Varnish
Let’s get started!
I started with one of The Paint Bar stools with a plain black opaque stain on wood; nothing fancy. Keep in mind, you can do these steps on any furniture or accessory that you like.
Step 1: Base Coat
The Metal Effects line does come with a primer that you can use as a first step. This is a reddish brown colour and is acid blocking for wood and metal surfaces. I decided that I didn’t want that colour as a base coat in case I missed some spots on my piece. Instead, I used Chalk Paint™ by Annie Sloan which comes in 32 different colours. Chalk Paint™ makes a perfect base coat because it sticks to many surfaces and when dry, it is porous so I knew my other layers would soak right into it. For this project I chose Graphite, a deep charcoal grey colour which is nearly black.
Florence would have been another great choice as it reminds me of the greenish colours in oxidized copper. I painted on a layer of Graphite using my Annie Sloan Small Oval Brush covering 100% of the stool. This small oval brush is perfect for stools and chairs as it holds onto a lot of paint but is small enough to get into all those tiny little spaces and bars. I rinsed out my brush in some warm soapy water and left my stool to dry for about an hour. I prefer to use Lye Soap for cleaning my natural bristle brushes as it both cleans and conditions, kind of like a 2-in-1 Shampoo/Conditioner for your hair.
Before going any further, let me explain how these Metal Effects systems work to help you understand the next couple of steps. These paints contain little metal flecks. You spray the paint with an activator which causes a chemical reaction that creates real rust or oxidization in the paint. The Iron Paint creates rust and the Bronze Paint creates a patina effect, like a penny or the roof of the parliament buildings.
The main difference in application between the Iron and Bronze Paint is that you wait for the Iron Paint to dry before you spray it. You spray the Bronze Paint while it is still wet. Each of the paints has its own special spray to complete the chemical reaction. With me so far? Let’s keep going and I’ll lay it out for you…
Step 2: Iron Paint
I always scoop some of the Iron Paint out of the container so that I don’t contaminate the paint with a dirty brush. Also, the jar is kind of small so it can be difficult to dip your brush inside. I used an old metal pie plate and a plastic spoon. To paint on the Iron Paint, I used a 2” chip brush and was going for about 85-90% coverage. My brush strokes were fairly linear but I was ok with creating some texture and didn’t fuss too much. Once I was finished painting on the Iron Paint I needed to let it dry. Always rinse out your brush right away with soap and water.
[At this point I thought I had a brilliant idea on how to save time and decided to try to do multiple steps all in one shot. I thought that since the Iron Paint needed to dry and the Bronze Paint could be wet, that I would let the Iron paint dry, then apply my Bronze paint and quickly while it was still wet spray the dry Iron Paint with the Rust Activator and spray the wet Bronze Paint with Green Patina solution. It seems that the Rust Activator spray canceled out, or covered up, or washed away or did something funky to my Green Patina spray. In the end, I had hardly any of that beautiful oxidized colour I was hoping for. Keep reading for my actual steps and then the proper steps to follow.]
Step 3: Stencil Bronze Paint
After rinsing out my pie plate, spoon and brush I was ready to apply my Bronze Paint. I decided to stencil on the Bronze Paint. The idea I had was that the stencilled pattern was going to turn that beautiful blue-green oxidized colour. I used a good quality mylar stencil so I could reuse it over and over. For this step I chose a Small Stencil Brush which has a flat top perfect for pouncing on bronze paint. I randomly stenciled on my pattern all over my stool, working quickly so that I could spray the bronze paint before it dried.
Step 4: Spray.
You’ll need to pour some of your activator sprays each into their own spray bottle. I used inexpensive plastic bottles from the dollar store. I decided to apply both sprays in one round (which turned out to be my mistake) spraying the Iron Paint since it was now dry and spraying the bronze paint now as it was still wet. In theory this should work but the sprays mixed too much on my stenciled bronze detail and there was little to no reaction of the Bronze Paint and Green Patina Spray. Using your spray bottle, spray on a generous amount of spray so that your paint becomes saturated.
Here’s a quick video clip to show you the steps up to here:
Some photo details as I was waiting for things to happen….
Step 5: Wait
Because this is a reaction there is nothing you can do at this point but watch and wait. Usually this takes place over a few hours to overnight. Come back the next day and you’ll be so surprised to see the results. If you come back and you missed some spots or maybe you are wanting more rust or patina then you can continue to repeat your steps until you get the look you are going for. Although this was not at all what I was picturing in my mind I decided that I liked how it looked and I was ready to protect my finish by applying sealer.
Step 6: Sealer
For this stool I chose Modern Masters Exterior Dead Flat Varnish. I like this particular sealer for rust and patina finishes because it does stay very flat, is durable and water resistant as it is an exterior sealer. There is a sealer that is made for this line of products but I found that it is a little shiny and normally I think that rust is pretty matte or flat looking. Artisan Enhancements Clear Topcoat Sealer would also be a nice flat sealer to use for this. At this point if you touch your piece you will notice that there is real rust on the surface and some of it can rub off onto your hands. I used my 2” chip brush to apply the Dead Flat Varnish. I poured some out onto my pie plate because you will notice that as you are brushing on your sealer some rust does transfer onto your brush and you don’t want to dip that into your can of sealer. Once you’ve coated your entire piece with sealer, allow it to dry for a couple of hours. If your piece is going to be in a high use area you may want to apply a second coat for added durability.
Here’s a detail of the stool after the sealer was applied.
If I actually followed directions, this is what I should have done:
- Paint on Iron Paint, let Iron Paint Dry.
- Spray Rust Activator, allow that to sit for a couple hours or overnight until dry.
- Next day, apply Bronze Paint.
- Spray Green Patina solution onto wet paint, allow it to react and dry.
- Apply sealer next day.
Although it’s not what I had in mind, I really do love how this one turned out, let’s call it a happy accident!
If you are interested in Modern Masters Metal Effect products let me know and I’ll help you make a plan for your project. Lots of info can be found on their website here .
To see this rusty bar stool, just stop by The Paint Bar and take a seat!
Thanks for following along! If you have any questions at all about this tutorial or any of the products and techniques we used, please feel free to leave a comment below! We love to help you with your creative projects.