DIY Faux Rust + Old Wood Shelf

11 Materials
1 Hour

An easy how to for painting faux rust on wood -- combine it with some craggily old wood and make a cool shelf!
Coming down on the last few items to make for our first floor bathroom remodel and I wanted a shelf. A friend gave me some old, weatherworn wood planks so the quest began on a shelf design.
On a walk through the park one day with our behemoth Finn, I came across some rusted steel and thought hey, what a great way to assemble this shelf! I'll do some fake steel straps all rusty!
I started out with four 1/4" pieces of craft plywood and sealed them up with a brown latex paint. I also dabbled the paint on the hardware but do note you should etch/scratch/sand/something the metal first as acrylic paint does not stick to it. I didn't and the paint rubbed off the nuts, so, fyi.
Next I dribbled various colors of acrylic paint on there. Come by my blog Flipping the Flip and find out what colors I used!
Using a small natural sponge and a chip brush, I smushed the paint all around. Although sadly, it was starting to turn into a big brown mess.
I had read a tip online about using cinnamon. Cinnamon? Yes, cinnamon. Weird but guess what? It worked. It worked for the color, for adding texture, and tying the whole paint job together. Yeah, weird.
A few more dabbles, more cinnamon, dabbles, and then I spattered some gray paint over the top using an old toothbrush.
Once everything was dry, I spurted on some white glue and unevenly spread it around. Using my hairdryer (yes, I need to buy a heat gun, I know), I got the glue to bubble up a bit thereby creating more texture.
Next was assembling my shelf. After sealing the plank wood with some paste wax, I clamped two pieces together and sandwiched them with the faux rusted straps. Drilled two holes, pushed through the bolts, and threaded on the nuts.
I made makeshift floating shelf brackets with little strips of scrap plywood.
And voila! Super cool recycled old wood shelf with faux rusted steel straps! Wow, right?!
There it is with the cabinets. It looks great with everything in the bathroom!
You could do this in the kitchen too, or a bedroom, or anywhere really -- what a great showpiece and something fun to brag about to all your fooled guests, how you hand painted that fake rust!

Be sure to come on by my blog for more on this and all sorts of other great projects by clicking the link below!
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Becky at Flipping the Flip

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


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4 of 101 comments
  • Robby Vandermark
    on Dec 31, 2018

    I painted sets for movies and TV for 11 years and we were called on to to do fake rust a lot I did most of a submarine one time anyway your rust looks pretty good. You could make it better by putting more dark around the bolts and edges it is a little bit subtle also for a extra great look you can take some gloss varnish and with your tooth brush spatter a little and it will look wet in those spots. It's a very nice job though

  • Divababiexoxo
    on Aug 9, 2019

    wow that shelf looks really good! Very creative on how you did faux rust. You must have a large bathroom to have a brick wall in there. I love the whole wall with the tin looking shelves also! Great job.

    • Thanks so much! The bathroom isn't terribly large actually, just long and narrow, next to the outside wall which is brick. Thanks!

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