Rusty Things – Monday Made


“Holey rusted metal, Batman!”~Robin (Batman Forever)

I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but I love the way rusted metal looks. If you ever come to my house, you will see loads of rusty metal around. Some of it is real and some of it is not.

The not real rust part is quite interesting, actually.

A couple of years ago I saw this segment on Better Homes and Gardens about special paint you could get that would look like metal and even reacts like metal (rusting, oxidizing, etc). It actually has metal in it!! I filed that little tid-bit away in my brain-vault for later use.

Fast forward to January this year, we had to fence our new country property because we have small children. I have never been a fan of gates. They are usually uninspiring and let down the whole house. There have been a couple that were great, but usually they were 10 ft high privacy gates. Not appropriate for a country town. My first choice was to get a couple of Sunshine Replica gates made ……until I got a quote. Eeeek.

Back to the drawing board. I wanted rusted metal gates with awesome cut-outs that didn’t weigh too much and weren’t too expensive. Quite the list of wants, eh? Then I remembered the metal effects paint and from there it was relatively easy sailing.

We got basic farm gate frames made. The wood we attached to the frame to make it look pretty is called “Weathertex”. It is some kind of particle board that is used to make outdoor signage. Unlike MDF, it will not swell up and go crazy when you add water. It isn’t as cheap as MDF, but at $50 for a 120cm x 120cm sheet (for the little gate) I thought it was pretty good. I bought a whole heap of saddle brackets to attach it to the metal gate frame without having to actually drill into metal. They worked a treat.

Dulux Design Rust base paint is not cheap. About $90 for a litre. You then have to use Dulux Design rust solution to get the rust happening. That one is $30 for 500ml. It is expensive, but you have to keep in mind how much using actual metal costs. But not only that, metal isn’t easy to work with and isn’t always practical (it’s heavy!!). The one that did annoy me a bit and I’m not entirely sure if there were other options that were cheaper, was the sealant I needed to put on after the rust effect was to my liking. The sealing process is important- it stops the paint from rusting more and rust run-off getting onto surrounding items (like a deck or paving) and it also stops the paint chipping off (I latched my gate before sealing it and the chain chipped off some paint!!). The one suggested on the back of the paint tin was Intergrain UltraClear. It is water based which means great cleaning up, but it only comes in 4 litre tins which cost about $140!! The guy in the shop assured me I would use it all over the years as it won’t go bad and you do need to reseal outdoor items every couple of years.


1. You need to do a primer/sealer before using the Rust Base Paint. I suggest using a dark colour like brown or black. I used white and you can see little spots I missed with the Rust paint. It does not cover that well (you can see what I mean in Dulux’s vid) and you end up doing a few coats. That’s ok, but I think you would feel less stressed if you base coat was more of a rusty colour to begin with.

2. The Rust Solution says to use a brush. I Googled the matter and came up with a YouTube vid giving tips about applying this stuff using a sprayer and then doing light brush strokes after to add a bit of texture. This worked well and I felt like I wasn’t wasting the solution.

3. Do a few coats of rust solution over a few days. Every couple of hours, go out and do a bit of spraying with regular water. It helps the rusting along and adds texture. I sprayed more water on the areas that I wanted to stand out (like the house number etc). Be careful of drip marks. I like a bit of drippy stuff, but some people don’t.

4. Remember that when you put the sealant on the colours will darken a bit, look a bit more like they do when it is wet. Keep that in mind when you think your rust has reached the perfect rusty colour you were hoping for.



R E A L  &  F A K E




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