DIY Rusted Metal Effect On Wood

Love the look of rust? With the DIY Paint System, creating rust effects is simple. Lori Craig shows you how she transformed a balsawood sign into a rusted piece of decor. 

Love you more sign.jpeg

I have a few blank walls in a small travel trailer that I purchased this summer, and I’ve been on the hunt for a few personal and lightweight decor items. I found this balsawood LOVE YOU MORE sign at a local craft store, and thought it would be perfect. It’s kind of the family mantra around here. 

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I knew a rusted metal sign would look great but the walls inside travel trailers are not made for nails or heavy decor, so the lightweight balsawood with a faux finish technique was perfect!  A few quality products from Tommy Art and three disposable paint brushes made quick work of this project - start to finish I have about an hour into this piece - including dry time. 

For this project, I used a combination of Bright Orange Paste, Brick Red Paste, and Antiquing Coating from Tommy ART to create the look of oxidized, rusted metal.



  • Balsawood sign

  • Bright orange paste - by Tommy Art

  • Brick red pastes

  • Stencil/stipple brush

  • Paintbrush

  • Antiquing coating


  • Damp cloth or sponge

  • Water

  • Neutral wax (or transparent varnish) - by Tommy Art

  • String - for hanger on back

  • Better Ultimate Adhesive


Step 1

Using a stipple brush or chip brush , apply bright orange paste onto most of the surface. Scrub the brush in various directions to create slight texture.  

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You’ll find these rich pastes so easy to use, with just enough grit to lend an authentic oxidized look to your finished piece.

Step 2

Using a stipple brush or chip brush , immediately dab brick red paste randomly onto the surface.

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Leave some areas dark, some areas blended with the bright orange paste, and some areas light.  

Step 3 

You can see my application of the pastes was really random and haphazard. This was very easy step and fun to work through. Let dry completely.

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Step 4

Using a brush, apply antiquing coating. On larger pieces you may choose to work in small sections as coatings will dry quickly. 

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Step 5

Use a damp cloth or sponge to immediately remove some of the antiquing coating. Remove unevenly for a more realistic rusted appearance.

Step 6

Let dry completely. After drying, I repeated steps 5 & 6 for a darker finish.

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Step 7 

Protect with neutral wax (transparent varnish is also a great option). 

I love the look and feel of this faux finish - so much more than paint. 

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Step 8 

I wanted a lightweight hidden way to hang this in my travel trailer without nails or screws in the wall. A thin piece of twine and Better Ultimate Adhesive provided a quick “hanger” that easily rests on a 3M Command Hook.  

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Step 9

Hang your rusted sign in the perfect spot. Here's mine hanging in our travel trailer. 


This faux-rust technique is so fast and fun to execute. The quality material and finish achieved with Tommy Art products makes it a perfect choice for lamps, vases, wall-decor and more - even a faux-finish wall!