DIY Rust Effect Paste

Here is a very simple way to create a rust effect for your art journal pages and embellishments.  The first photo shows my inspiration, an old wheelbarrow.  I flipped it over so you could see the beautiful blue/green verdigris.  Here’s how you make it:

  1.  First, gesso whatever it is you’re using.  My first attempt was on chipboard, the second was on the heavier chipboard from the back of one of the kids doodle pads.
  2. Once the gesso is dry, take a stiff bristle brush and pounce the burnt sienna color all over it, covering the gesso completely.  Dry.
  3. Use yellow ochre and, again, pounce it over the burnt sienna.  You cover 90-95% of the burnt sienna.  Let dry.
  4. Mix a lovely turquoise with your phthalo blue.  I just left the yellow ochre on my plate and added the phthalo on top of it.  Mix well.  It makes a lovely blueish-green, but I wanted it a bit brighter so I added just a touch of med. yellow.  Add white to lighten your turquoise as desired.  Pounce the turquoise over 50% of the chipboard.  Let dry.
  5. Use red ochre, or mix your own reddish brown with whatever colors you have, and add some baking soda to it.  I used about a half teaspoon to a teaspoon for the paint.  Start with a little and add more if needed.  Pounce the color/baking soda mix over your chipboard covering 80 to 90% of the board.  You want a bit of the other colors to show through.  Let dry.

Observations and Tips:

The gesso you use to prime your chipboard has some grit to it already.  This is good because it adds texture.  By pouncing the paint onto the board it also adds some dimension and texture.  Using a stiff bristled brush to pounce the paint on also adds to that.

I used Master’s Touch paints but you can use whatever you have.  Craft paints will work for this.  If you’re using craft paints I’d add a bit of the baking soda to each of the colors just to give it a more gritty texture.

Because Master’s Touch is an inexpensive brand found at Hobby Lobby, most everyone has access to it.  I buy mine when it’s on sale.  The cost of the four tubes of paint; burnt sienna, phthalo blue, yellow ochre and red ochre is around 14 bucks.  Each tube of paint is 4 fl. ounces.  This is a tremendous amount of pretty good quality paint for very little money.  If you really like rusty stuff in your art journals and will be making a lot of it, I recommend you purchase the tubes.  You will be able to make rust for years and years.  (Oh and here’s an opinion…I prefer the Master’s Touch Phthalo Blue to any other in any brand I’ve used so far.  It makes the most beautiful greens and turquoise colors.  This Phthalo blue is neither green based nor red based.  It is a perfectly balanced Phthalo-in my opinion.  Love it!)

Once you have your verdigris rusty chipboard finished you can hit it with a bit of matte varnish spray to get rid of any shine from the paint if it bothers you. The baking soda does cut the shine a lot anyway…

My first attempt failed spectacularly at this point because I painted the entire thing with way to much matte mod podge.   The layers were not completely dry and the mod podge turned cloudy.  It obscured the variations in color.  I should have put a bit on a plate and brushed it on rather than having a huge dollop plop onto the piece from the bottle.  Nevertheless, the chipboard is still perfectly usable as background for a stamped image or a piece of ephemera.  (I toss nothing!)

I cut out letters, flipping the letter backward on the back side of the rusty chipboard.  I used red ochre to cover the edges.  Any color that got on the rusty part I wiped off immediately because there was no baking soda in the paint I used for the edges.


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