DIY - Corroded Metal Look -Tutorial

by Victoria
3 Hours
Corroded metal look made using only aluminium foil paper and paint?? Check it out!
This weathered metal letter isn't really rusted, its not even metal for that matter... it's just a plastic letter I bought at Michaels for $3 bucks but you couldn't tell until you pick it up and realize how light in weight it is.

This is how my plastic letter looked like before I started... its just a foam letter covered with a shiny layer of plastic. I bought it on clearance and I couldn't find anymore but I'm sure this technique will work on most craft surfaces like wood or cardboard.
I started by gathering my project materials:

* My letter, plastic, foam, wood or cardboard... It doesn't matter!... This technique will work on most surfaces, trust me!

* Foil paper... Your regular, everyday, kitchen aluminium foil paper will do.

* Spray glue (dries faster) but you can use whatever works for you according to the material of your letter.

* Black Shoe polish... The sponge tip type. Great for foil projects!!

* Craft paint in beige or tan, blue and green.

I cut two pieces of foil paper big enough to cover the letter, one piece for the front and the other for the back.
I scrunched the paper to create wrinkles that will latter become the realistic texture of corroded metal that I'm after.

Be careful not to rip the paper at this point, ok?
then straightened it smooth again to its original size.

Ok, my sheets are now ready to be glued on to the letter.
I used spray adhesive because it's easy to work with and very fast drying, so I sprayed the front side and...
I placed one of my wrinkled foil sheets on top, pressing hard enough to create contact between the foil and the plastic avoiding air bubbles by smoothing it with the palm of my hands.
I then made an incision on the foil paper allowing the inside of the letter to receive the paper making sure I covered as much as possible.

At this point you'll have some uncovered areas but don't worry, that will easily be patched up latter on.
I turned my letter over and repeated the process the exact same way as with the front.
I needed up with a "tab" of extra foil paper so I cut the excess leaving enough tonglue it neatly to the edges of the letter.

For this I also used spray glue but you can use hot glue, elders glue... It's up to you as long as it glues it firmly!
This is where I took the extra time to patch up those gaps... I cut small pieces of foil and glue them inconspicuously... very easy!
And now, the fun part!!

I painted the entire letter, back and front, with cheap craft paint. I used the first beige I found, not picky its just a base colour.

I painted front and back .

And I let it dry for about 2 hours.

It took long because the foil is not a Porous surface so the paint had no way to be absorbed just air dry.
My next step is actually the best par of this entire project...

This is when the metal look happens!!
Paint your beige letter with dark shoe polish and be generous on the ink... Don't smudge it or rub it or you'll be removing your beige paint off the foil, simply brush it on smoothly over the surface and watch the magic happen.
Dry any excess shoe polish ink with a paper towel but do this sporadically not uniformly.

You want to create patches of dark and light areas.

Some of the paint will come off and you'll end up with small patches of foil showing through, that's perfect!
See the complete project in my BLOG:
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
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2 of 30 comments
  • Linda Schmolinski Linda Schmolinski on Oct 28, 2016
    I know it's been a year since ur last post my question is . what colors did u use next & how please? u showed how 2 start,but not how 2 finish this beauty.
  • Krc32053264 Krc32053264 on Dec 30, 2017

    I'm going to make this my next project. Love it!'