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!

Frequently asked questions

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3 of 4 questions
  • Debbie Debbie on Jul 28, 2017
    I keep hearing about wax, in these projects. What kind of paste wax is it, and where do you get it ? The shelf is beautiful

  • Trina Trina on Aug 13, 2017
    I want to know where u got that walpaper cuz I just luv it!

  • Jeri Walker Jeri Walker on Nov 19, 2018

    how did you attach it to the wall?????


Join the conversation

3 of 110 comments
  • Rik Shafer Rik Shafer on Jan 11, 2021

    So many of these hometalk things are too precious and cheesy for our taste. This one is really different, smart, fresh and creative. Someone said steampunk, I agree. Great work! What’s the rest of the house look like? Lol

  • Carolina's Art Carolina's Art on Jan 12, 2021

    Wow, that really looks like rusted metal. Nice job. Love the shelf.