Rusted Mirror

Rusted Mirror

Posted by DecoArt on Mar 30th 2016

I am a huge fan of Andy Skinner’s work and the way he can manipulate acrylic paint to look like weathered wood, chipped metal, bone and especially rusted metal.

I have taken a plain white 10x10 mirror from IKEA and transformed it into a steampunkish rusted metal home décor piece. This was all done through the magic of a few easy techniques and the wonderful DecoArt Media line of products.

For me, the whole key to this rust technique is the texture and details you add to your piece long before you ever start the rust process. The more texture and detail you create, the more the rust technique will bring those things out and make your piece even more interesting and full of depth. From the crumpled tissue paper on the base to the little nuts and bolts you may add on, it’s all amazing in the end!

Are you ready to learn how to create a rusted piece of your own? Let’s get started …

Items Needed:


Before I began, I used painters’ tape to tape off the mirror in the center of the frame. Tear white tissue paper into random pieces; probably no larger than about 6” x 6”. Working in sections on the mirror, glue the tissue paper onto the surface of the mirror (including the sides). To do this, brush DecoArt Media Matte Medium over a section of the mirror, lay the tissue paper on top, crumpling it up as you lay it onto the Matte Medium so as to create texture. Continue this until the entire front and sides of the mirror are covered. Brush more Matte Medium over the top of the tissue to seal it in place. Let air dry. Repeat this for the back of the frame.

Instruction Image #1

While the tissue paper is drying, die cut one each of the Bingo cards and Admit One tickets from heavy weight white card stock. Cut them down to where the embossed image begins.

Instruction Image #2

Layout your design on the IKEA mirror frame that has dried, crumpled tissue paper glued on. Piece by piece and working in small sections, brush DecoArt Media Matte Medium onto the frame then onto the underside of each piece. Press the pieces in place and gently brush Matte Medium over them to seal them. Do this until all pieces are in place. Let completely air dry. 

Instruction Image #3

For a more gritty and weathered feeling, brush DecoArt Media Texture Sand Paste randomly over the areas of the mirror that you want to have that more weathered appearance and feeling. Let air dry. 

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Here is what the frame will look like at this point.

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Completely cover the frame with DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics Carbon Black. I also left a few of the metal pieces unpainted just to experiment with how different the metal would look with and without the paint during the rust technique. Let the black paint dry thoroughly. Inevitably, there will be spots that were missed and need to be touched up after the black paint dries.

Instruction Image #6

Using a fairly stiff brush, use DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics Burnt Sienna to DRY BRUSH (emphasis on DRY brush) over all over the black surface of the mirror. This is a bit of a tedious process but so worth it in the end. Work in small sections. It usually takes two or three times of dry brushing over the area before all of the texture really starts to come forward.

Instruction Image #7

I like to add a variance of rust colors. Next I mix a bit of DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics Titan Buff to DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics Burnt Sienna. Dry brush over random areas of the mirror again, particularly on details that you want to highlight. This combination of paint is lighter than the original rust color and will further bring out those fabulous details. 

Instruction Image #8

I also love to add a bit of a weathered patina look to my rusted “metal” pieces. To create that patina look, combine DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics Cobalt Teal Hue and Titan Buff. Dry brush over random areas of the “rusted metal” where patina would normally form. Then add the DecoArt Media Acrylics Blue Green Light to the mix so that you get a varying green patina color. The Titan Buff also creates a great “calcified” look.

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Use a small detail brush and add DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics Cobalt Teal Hue to the deep “ADMIT ONE” letters on the die cut ticket.

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For even a bit more of a metal look, lightly dry brush a little bit of DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics Metallic Gold randomly over some of the fine details on the raised pieces and the folds of the tissue. It’s amazing how just little hints of gold really pull everything together.

Instruction Image #11

Alter your embellishments using the same patina colors listed above. This time, instead of applying the paint with dry brush, I just applied it with my finger. Particularly on the faucet, I added DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics Titan Buff first to build up a weathered look. Then I mixed the greens and applied them to both the bird cage and the faucet.

Finally, I added a tiny bit more Titan Buff on top of the faucet. I purposely did not alter the Philosophy Tag on this photograph so you can see the different that the DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics paints make.

Instruction Image #12

In this photograph, I applied the same techniques as I did above on the faucet. The weathered patina look of the Philosophy Tag is amazing simply by applying the DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics paints with your fingers. Once those pieces are completely dry, assemble them together to be glued onto the frame.

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Adding a piece of chain around the mirror is easy with DecoArt Media Matte Medium. It dries clear and holds really well. I simply worked in small sections at a time, brushed Matte Medium onto the frame, carefully laid the chain in place and continued until I was completely around the opening. Let that completely dry. Then brush over the chain to secure it in place and seal it to the frame. Afterward, add some patina effect randomly to the chain in the same manner as you did on the faucet, birdcage and philosophy tag. 

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Here is how the frame looks at this point with the faucet, dangling bird cage and clock key assemblage glued in place.

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To me, the mirror seemed a bit stark with all of the rusty, patina look around it. So I decided to add a metal wire grid over the mirror. To do this, I cut pieces of heavy wire in 5 ½” pieces. I measured in 1 ½” from the outside edges of each side and secured the wire in place using a smaller wire wrapped around the intersections of wire. The spaces in between the wires measure 1”. Once they were all in place, I secured them in place using glue at the intersections. Let that completely dry.

Instruction Image #16

Once the glue was completely dry, I altered the look of the wire with DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics Titan Buff and Burnt Umber. I did this by randomly adding some paint with my finger to the wire sections. 

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I added the patina look to the wire by adding the green tones of DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics Cobalt Teal Hue and Blue Green Light. Again, I used my finger to randomly wipe on the color. Let dry completely. 

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Finally I added glue to each of the ends of the wire so that they would lay on top of the chain around the mirror opening and glue the wires to the chain. Once I laid the grid in place, I held it firmly in place for several minutes so that the Glossy Accents would definitely connect. Then I place something heavy on the grid to further hold it in place for an hour or so.

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I hope that you can see how easy this rusting technique is to do. It’s all about the DRY brushing and not getting into a hurry. You can turn something from bland to amazing simply by bringing out all of the details that dry brushing will do.

Have fun with this technique and start looking around now for lots of things that have texture and detail to use on your piece! I cannot tell you how fun it is to see your project literally “rust” before your eyes!