Introduction: Faux Rust With Recycled Shelf

About: Undoing everything a house flipper did. Visit

This project came about as I designed for a shelf to go in our newly updated and super swanky main floor bathroom. Looking for something with texture, I went with a couple of old weathered porch boards a friend gifted to me. But how to hold them together? Rusty metal straps!

Step 1: Base Coat the Wood

There was uh, no way I was going to find nor manufacture real rusty steel straps in the size I needed with holes in the exact correct place so I figured the easiest way to accomplish this was with a faux paint technique.

I used craft plywood from the hardware store and base coated the pieces in a brown latex paint.

Step 2: Whip Out the Acrylic Paints and What?, Cinnamon

Visit my blog for the exact colors I used but so long as you've got a brown or two, black, deep red, orange, and gray, you're good to go.

What's that cinnamon doing there? I had read a tip online that the spice will spice up your finish so I thought, hey, why not try it.

Step 3: Start Painting

I dribbled on the colors straight out of the little bottles randomly as rust is a pretty forgiving look to faux.

Step 4: Sponge and Stipple

Using a small natural sponge and a chip brush, I dabbed and stippled away at the paint, mushing all the colors together. Again, rust is pretty forgiving to mimic so there was no rhyme nor reason to my mushing.

Step 5: Add Cinnamon

As my wood pieces were turning into big brown messes, I opted to give that cinnamon a whirl. A heavy sprinkle here, a lighter one there, a dab with the sponge, and magically the cinnamon was pulling the look together while also adding a rust-like texture. Who knew?!

Step 6: Spatter Gray

Using an old toothbrush pulling your thumb across it like when you were a kid, I sprayed on some gray paint which adds another layer of interest.

Step 7: Layer Up With Glue

My last step was spreading some plain white glue over each piece. I then used my hair dryer (yes I know, I need a heat gun) in an attempt to get it to bubble up, adding further texture.

Step 8: Shelf Assembly

The last few steps involved me cutting the weathered wood to size, clamping the boards together in a butt joint, clamping my faux rusty pieces on, drilling holes for my bolts, and tightening those on. Be aware that acrylic paint does not stick to metal nuts and bolts. Either be super careful tightening everything together or scuff up the metal in some fashion.

Step 9: Shelf Installed

I used two small strips of scrap plywood for support on either end, giving the shelf a floating effect.

Step 10: Fool Your Friends

"Where did you find the rusty metal straps?" asked my poor husband.

Home Improvement Contest 2017

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Home Improvement Contest 2017