Introduction: Sandblast Rust to Make a Sign - Gift Idea

About: Average Can Be Extraordinary

I was recently asked to make a Christmas gift that included my logo. I thought I would try something new. I've seen old saw signs with graphics and text painted on them so that got me thinking, what if I removed the rust to make the design instead. Hence this Instructable.

I have a video showing the process here:

Tools Used:

Materials Used:

Step 1: Prep the Saw

I managed to find an old saw that had a lot of rust build up on it. This was perfect for what I wanted to try. I cleaned up the handle a little with sandpaper and then stained it with some teak stain. I prefer the handle looking darker. Should add to the old look of the blade itself.

I wanted to protect the rust so I gave the saw 1 coat of spray lacquer all over. This should lock in the rust and protect it when applying the vinyl later.

Step 2: Cut & Apply the Vinyl Stencil

I used a Vinyl Cutter to cut out the logo designs. This could be any design being cut though. It takes less than a minute to cut out but it does take ages to the 'weed out' the stencil. Removing the areas I want to see and leaving the rest.

When I had the stencil done I used some transfer tape to help transfer it to the saw. It gets pressed over the top on the vinyl so the vinyl sticks to it. It can then be peeled of its backing and transferred to the saw. It did stick with some persuasion but not as well as I had hoped. I think the uneven surface of the rust didn't help. Sealing it with lacquer definitely helped though.

To protect the rest of the saw I covered it with transfer tape. This will protect it from the sand blaster in the next step.

Step 3: Sand Blast Away the Rust

Up until now I've been using a small Air Eraser to etch glass. It did work at removing rust but it was very slow going. I broke down and bought a large 50L compressor and a sand blasting cabinet. It works so much better as you can imagine. Really enjoyable to work with too because there is no cleanup.

I just needed to fill the bottom with grit for the blaster, close the lid and I was ready to start sand blasting. The gloves on the side are kind of awkward to use but it wasn't too bad. The sand blaster made quick work of removing the rust.

I did have some areas of the vinyl lift up but luckily the grit only seems to remove the rust on its first impact so any particles going underneath the vinyl didn't ruin it.

Removing the stencils and transfer paper reveals the designs. I was worried by the 'bleeding' under the vinyl but it just brushed off thankfully. You can really feel a thickness to the rust which I was surprised by.

Step 4: Finishing Touches

In my design I added 'To' & 'From'. I thought they needed to be more subtle than the logos so I coloured them in with black permanent marker. The rust gives an edge to follow which made it easy to stay in the lines.

Most saws have a hole in the end but this one didn't. I drilled the hole to make it easy to hang.

To finish it off I gave it 2 more coats of lacquer.

I hope you found this technique interesting. It can be applied in lots of different ways. It gives a great effect.

Homemade Gifts Contest 2017

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Homemade Gifts Contest 2017

Metal Contest 2017

Participated in the
Metal Contest 2017