How to Create A Silvery, Rustic Aged Effect On A Metal Planter

Debbie Hayes of My Patch of Blue Sky shares a wonderful tutorial on transforming a boring planter into a silvery, rustic piece perfect for bringing character to any garden. She used our Texture Effects, Metal Effects, Metallic Paint, and a large stencil for this look. Let's see how she did it!
Water Base Primer for your Surface (i.e., metal, plastic)
One Metal Effects Rust Kit
One Quart of Silver Metallic Paint
One Quart of Texture Effects
One 16 oz. Natural Brown Glazing Cream Color
One Large Stencil like the Royal Design Studio Indian Floral Wall Stencil that Debbie used
Drop cloth, sea sponge, wet rag, painters tape, color shaper tool, paint brushes, scissors
HERE’S WHAT’S INCLUDED IN THE RUST PATINA KIT, to cover about 18 square feet:
8 ounces of Metal Effects Primer, 8 ounces of Iron Reactive Paint, 10 ounces of Rust Activator, 2 brushes, 2 stir sticks and complete instructions. The kit also includes the recommended Permacoat Xtreme Sealer.
Before you get started, prep the area with a drop cloth as needed. It’s a good idea not to invite kids and pets since you will be spraying. Make sure your area is well ventilated, too, or work outside in the shade like she did.
First, clean and prep your surface with a good primer for your surface. Debbie used a metal primer tinted gray and let dry. Using one of the brushes in the Metal Effects Kit, brush on a coat of Metal Effects Primer. Once dry, you can add the second coat. Let dry at least 12 hours or overnight.
Just in case her planter gets bumped or scratched while outside, she tinted the Texture Effects with Natural Brown Glazing Cream, so that the pure white color would not show if chipped off. She used 1 pint of Texture Effects and 4 ounces of Natural Brown so that she could have enough to use on all four sides of the planter and not need to mix more. You can tint to taste on this step. It does turn out she could have made less, about half as much, so she can seal the leftovers up for another time.
Debbie is an enthusiastic painter and project-doer, but is also frugal with her time. She selected this very large wall stencil that covered her planter entirely. That way, she did not have to wait for the pattern to dry, then move the stencil to fill in missing design areas. She cut the top of the stencil material off so that she could easily start the design right at the top. After taping, she applied the mixture using a color shaper tool. A small hand trowel can also be used. Hold the stencil tight to the surface with one hand so the mix won’t bleed, but no worries if happens a bit. Perfection is not required.
Next, Debbie applied a coat of Silver Metallic Paint. She was planning to do 2 or even 3 coats of the Silver Metallic Paint, but, magically, one coat was perfect. Let dry.
Use the sea sponge, tapping it into the iron paint on a palette of tin foil, then onto the surface.
You can use the chip brush in the kit to add iron paint in recessed areas. You need two coats, so after the first one dries, add some more in approximately the same areas. Let dry well.
Spray one coat, beginning at the top. Wait five minutes, then spray again. About 20 minutes into the drying process, as the rust begins to form, she used the barely dampened clean sponge to pull off some areas until she liked the look. Then she let the rust process finish.
By now we're sure you know that Debbie is a rust, crust, and patina lover.
Sometimes, she sleeps on a project after it is completed, and decides to do just “one more thing.” So we're guessing you have done it before too, right? So Debbie got out the Silver Metallic Paint, and a small, stiff artist brush and very quickly dry-brushed some paint on all of the raised leaves, flowers and stems. This took about 15 minutes.
Now this oversized, boring planter literally glows, even as the sun sets over her front courtyard. No matter which of the two looks you adore, you can achieve them with the same materials. After your piece dries, you can apply the Permacoat Xtreme sealer for additional weather resistance.
Are you ready to do this? Debbie has discovered that she could have done two of these planters with the materials on the supply list, and more! Have a fun painting!
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Have a question about this project?

3 of 18 questions
  • Robyn Garner
    on Feb 21, 2018

    Since the materials required you to paint over the entire planter as a first step, can this technique be used on a plastic planter or must it be metal?

  • Jill Krol
    on Apr 1, 2019

    I really, really, really, really, really like the finished planter! Fabulous! I also want to know if this could be done on a plastic container? For anyone asking, you can get large stencils at craft stores such as JoAnn's or Hobby Lobby.

    • Rhonda Pruett
      on Nov 9, 2019

      I have made many plastic planters look like they are old iron planters. Super easy. Same process.

  • Betty Ann
    on Nov 9, 2019

    Are there any materials I could substitute that don't require spraying? I live in an apartment and would have to do this inside (patio door & windows open!).

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