Stenciled Rust & Patina Finish

Stenciled Rust & Patina Finish


Don’t you just love the look of this dresser? Whether you want to create this finish for yourself or just want to know how we did it keep on reading!

To get started, these are the tools and supplies you’ll need.

  1. Dresser (or any kind of flat surface)
  2. Stencil (sticker or plastic reusable kind)
  3. Wood Filler
  4. 220 Grit Sandpaper
  5. Graphite Chalk Paint™ Quart
  6. Primer Red Chalk Paint™ 4oz pot
  7. 4″ Velour Roller
  8. Roller Handle
  9. 4″ Paint Tray
  10. Small Annie Sloan Oval Paint Brush
  11. Gloves
  12. 2″ Chip Brush
  13. Metal Effects Iron Reactive Paint
  14. Metal Effects Rust Activator
  15. Metal Effects Copper Reactive Paint
  16. 3 Spray Bottles (one for each Rust Activator, Blue Patina and Green Patina sprays)
  17. Metal Effects Blue Patina Spray
  18. Metal Effects Green Patina Spray
  19. High Performance Top Coat, Flat
  20. Top Coat Brush, Artisan Enhancements
  21. Metal Effects Permacoat Xtreme Sealer

Let’s get started!

Here’s a before photo, I actually forgot to take a before so I found this image of a dresser that looks just like the one I painted. My drawers are flat and the ones in this photo have a raised centre but I’m sure you get the idea. It was bright white to start with a slightly shiny finish. I removed all of the knobs and handles and filled the holes where the hardware was. Use some wood filler and a putty knife to spread the filler over the holes. Let dry about an hour, you may have to reapply another layer of filler if you missed a spot or the filler shrunk. Allow to dry again and then using a 220 grit sand paper, sand smooth.

For this project I wanted the drawers to stand as the focal point with a simple black frame. First I’ll go over the steps for painting the dresser frame and then I’ll go over the steps for painting the drawers.

Dresser Frame: To create a solid, smoother finish, I decided to roll on my Graphite, Chalk Paint™ by Annie Sloan. With Chalk Paint™ I like to use a Velour roller which is a soft, short nap roller sleeve that doesn’t leave a lot of texture or bubbles. Pour some paint into your 4″ tray and roll on a coat of Graphite to cover the entire surface using a 4″ velour roller and roller handle. Using gentle pressure and rolling all in one direction will help to create a smooth finish. I used my Annie Sloan Small Oval Paint Brush to cut in the areas where my roller couldn’t quite reach, the oval end is useful when getting into corners and tight spaces. When rolling a smooth finish you are applying thinner coats of paint than when brushing so expect to do 2 or even 3 coats in some areas. I left my paint to dry (about an hour) between coats and ended up doing two full coats and a third in some areas that were quite solid.


Typically I would use Soft Wax by Annie Sloan to seal my Chalk Paint™ projects, but because we love to experiment and test all kinds of products I decided to try out one of General Finishes High Performance Topcoats. This polyurethane topcoat is water based so easy to work with and clean up is a breeze. Cool fact: it contains UV Stabilizer to protect it from breaking down in sunlight which protects the underlying stains or paints from fading. And with its pure polyurethane durability, it can even be used on floors which means it is very durable. I applied this top coat with an Artisan Enhancements Top Coat Brush which is a very high quality lightweight brush. This tool is mostly made with natural bristles but has some silky synthetic bristles mixed in. The combination of bristles holds onto just the right amount of product and helps to minimize brushstrokes as it lays down product smoothly. Here’s an example of what this topcoat looks like when you are brushing it onto a stained/painted surface.

Stir the topcoat to mix thoroughly, dip your brush into the topcoat and paint on a thin layer with long linear brush strokes in the same direction the paint was applied. Because Chalk Paint™ is very absorbent your first layer may appear to soak right up or not be perfectly even. Just allow layer one to completely dry, I left mine for a day, and then apply a second coat in the same way. I chose the Flat sheen but noticed that it still has a bit of a shimmer to it, if you’d like to check it out we have this dresser in our studio.

That’s it for the outside frame! Now let’s talk about the fun part, the drawers….

Drawers: First step is to apply a base coat to the drawers. You can see in the photo below I started with red. Modern Masters has a primer for their rust system which is a red colour. But this time I didn’t use their primer, again because we love to experiment and test the limits I started with a layer of Primer Red Chalk Paint™ by Annie Sloan. Red is a good base for a rust finish because it’s similar in colour so if you miss a spot the red will work well with the orange, red, brown tones that are found in rust rather than having a white base that might look a less natural. With my Annie Sloan Small Oval Paint brush I applied a solid coat of the Primer Red Chalk Paint™ keeping my brush strokes all in one direction.


After the red paint was dry, I brushed on a solid layer of Iron Paint using a 2″ chip brush. Iron Paint by Modern Masters is part of the Metal Effects product line which is designed to create rust on your surface.  The 2″ chip brush is a great choice for applying this product because it has just the right amount of bristles and not my best quality brush in case the iron paint doesn’t fully wash out. I was wearing gloves for this step just because I find the iron paint really dries my hands as there are actual metal particles in the paint. It is however water based so does clean up with warm water and soap. Allow to completely dry (an hour or so) and then apply a second coat in the same way.


Now that the Iron paint was dry it was time to turn it into rust. Rust Activator spray is what I used. Pour some Rust Activator into a spray bottle and then spray to saturate the Iron Paint, you want to get it pretty wet. Now is the hard part, waiting! Since this is a chemical reaction you can’t do anything but wait for it to happen on it’s own, you will see some rust starting to form within the hour. You are creating real rust on the surface!! Leave to sit until the surface is completely dry, I left this to sit overnight. When I came back the next morning the rust had formed. If you were creating a rust finish only, this is where you would apply a sealer to keep your rust from rubbing off and then your project would be done. Of course I wanted to add more layers!



The next steps will explain how I achieved that gorgeous blue & green patina effect in a pattern over top of the rust.

I began by taping a border around the edge of the drawers to help me line up my stencil. We had some large sticker stencils that were left over from a custom finish, they were perfect for this next step. You could use a Mylar/plastic reusable stencil too. Jen helped me measure and cut the stencils to the size of the drawer and then together we stuck it on top of the dry rust layer. If you were using a plastic reusable stencil you could use some painters tape along the edges to hold it in place. Once the stencils were in place I applied a  coat of Copper Paint with my 2″ Chip Brush. The copper paint is a reactive paint just like the iron. With Copper Paint you need to spray with the Blue or Green Patina activators. The Copper Paint gets sprayed while the paint is wet so you have to work fairly quickly. Scroll down a bit to check out a video of the reaction, the time lapse shows the reaction occurring after I have saturated the Copper Paint with Green Patina Spray.


During the second half of the video you might see there were a couple spots that I missed so after the Green Patina layer was dry I added a bit more Copper Paint and then this time sprayed with the Blue Patina Spray to get some variation in colour. Look how vivid those blues and greens are. It reminds me of a copper roof that has oxidized over time or a copper penny.



I left this to sit about a day to fully dry before removing my stencil. If you were using a plastic reusable stencil you would apply your copper paint through the stencil and then remove the stencil before spraying your patina sprays. The pattern might run a bit but this would also have a really awesome effect. It’s a good idea to apply a sealer to your rust and patina surfaces to protect the layers. Modern Masters has a sealer that goes along with this line of products, so I used the recommended Metal Effects Permacoat Xtreme Sealer and brushed on one layer of this with my Artisan Enhancements top coat brush. Once the sealer has dried you can add an optional second coat if it looks patchy or uneven, you might have missed a spot! And there you have it, all done!


What do you think? I absolutely love how it turned out! Come on by our studio to check it out and see other examples of how you can use these rust and patina systems! We now carry these products in our store for sale, or if you’d like to test them out check out our Rusted Monogram workshop or even drop in at The Paint Bar and play around.

Thanks for following along, I had a lot of fun working on this project and can’t wait for you to share your Rust and Patina projects with us next time you’re in.


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Bar Stool Revival: SALTWASH™

Bar Stool Revival: SALTWASH™

Bar Stool Revival: SALTWASH™

It’s time for another Bar Stool Revival (12 Stools, 12 Unique Finishes and 12 Step by Step Tutorials for you to follow along with). So far you many have seen Vintage Rose Garden and Rust & Stenciled Patina on our blog or at The PAINT BAR. Today I’m going to walk you through the steps I took to create this weathered SALTWASH™ bar stool so you too can create your own layered sun and salt air soaked look! Let’s get started…

Here’s what I used….

  1. Black Bar Stool
  2. SALTWASH™ 10oz Tin
  3. Aubusson Blue Chalk Paint™ 4oz
  4. Antionette Chalk Paint™ 4oz
  5. Duck Egg Chalk Paint™ 4oz
  6. 2″ Chip Brush
  7. Round Annie Sloan Paint Brush, Small
  8. Sanding Block, Medium to Coarse Grit
  9. Palm Sander (optional)
  10. Gloss Topcoat, General Finishes
  11. Topcoat Brush
  12. 2 Mixing Containers
  13. Plastic Spoons or Stir Sticks

Step 1: Mixing SALTWASH™ into Paint

I started by pouring my 4oz pot of Aubusson Blue Chalk Paint™ into a mixing container. Then gradually added some SALTWASH™ powder into my paint and stirred with a plastic spoon until it got to the consistency of thick cake icing. I also mixed up some Antoinette (a pale pink colour)  the same way because I wanted two colours in my basecoat. SALTWASH™ is a really unique product that is fun to work with. There are lots of plasters or products you can add to your paint to thicken it but I like SALTWASH™  because it has no colour which means your paint colour will remain the same! How cool is that? A lot of plasters are white which means when you add them to your paint the colour  lightens as it mixes with white. Also, SALTWASH™ be added to any kind of paint so the possibilities are endless! I picked Chalk Paint™ by Annie Sloan because it’s the best for furniture, no sanding, no priming required even on the stained and sealed surface of my stool!


Step 2: Apply SALTWASH™ Paint Mixture

With my 2″ chip brush I applied the Aubusson Blue mix to the entire stool. When I applied the mix I used a pouncing motion to glob the paint on creating tall peaks and ridges. The chip brush is good for this technique because it has uneven bristle ends so helps to add to the texture. I love this process because you can be a little messy and carefree, there’s no pressure to get a perfect smooth coat of paint! Once the stool was completely painted I left it to sit until it was halfway dry, about 20 minutes. At this point you take the chip brush and gently smooth out some of the high peaks you’ve created with a gentle back and forth or side to side motion. I had to be careful not to completely smooth them out but just to soften some of the tall ridges. Then I let this sit until it was completely dry. Because I wanted two colours in my base layer I added a little of my Antionette here and there using the same “goblike” technique as before.  When the pink was halfway dry and once again gently brushed it to soften some of the texture. You can see in the photos below both my blue and pink colours applied. Let sit for an hour or more to dry before moving to the next step.


After my base layer was dry I noticed a few high peaks that were left behind, I just gently sanded them before moving to my top coat of paint. You could choose to leave as much texture as you like.


Step 3: Top Coat of Paint

Now it was time to paint my top colour, for this I picked Duck Egg Chalk Paint™ and used my small round Annie Sloan paint brush. I liked the beachy look of Duck Egg with my other colours. I absolutely love using my Annie Sloan Round brush because it holds onto a lot of paint and the round end helps when you need to scrub paint into texture just like this project. I applied one coat of the Duck Egg paint to the entire stool. If you’ve painted something before you know how hard it is to get a “perfect” finish, this project was the exact opposite of perfect smooth finish and so much fun. I love this relaxed, carefree painting style.

After the stool was completely coated in Duck Egg I had to let it dry. Because the weekend was coming up this stool actually sat for a few days before I got to the next step of distressing.

Step 4: Distress

To reveal some of the awesome texture that I created with my SALTWASH™ mixes I needed to distress my piece. To distress means to sand away the paint in some areas to give a worn and weathered look. Without the SALTWASH™ layer beneath the paint would be smooth and you wouldn’t see a lot of texture, mostly the edges and detailed areas would sand. Here’s an example of a light green distressed paint finish, no SALTWASH™. It’s a fantastic effect on it’s own but a completely different style than SALTWASH™. With the added texture that SALTWASH™ gives you can really create a beachy, weathered, old chippy looking finish! And here’s a close up of a SALTWASH™ finish for comparison. See the difference?


Now because this had been sitting for a few days my layers had become pretty hard. I started sanding by hand but realized this was a project for my palm sander. So outside I went, here’s me in action… (because the sander was noisy I didn’t even realize that I was being filmed, notice my startled look and the laughter that follows!)


Check out the colours and texture! I love it, what do you think?

Step 5: Seal

Because this stool gets a lot of use at The PAINT BAR it needed a durable top coat. For this stool I chose General Finishes High Performance top coat in Gloss for a couple of reasons… The gloss finish reminds me of oil based or lead paints that would have been used years ago so that’s why I went with the gloss. Did you know that these High Performance top coats are floor rated? That means they are durable enough to be used on a stained or painted floor. If people can walk on it,  the it’s definitely tough enough for the use it’ll get at The PAINT BAR. I brushed on a couple of coats covering the entire surface of the stool.

Step 6: Admire

And that’s it, all done! What do you think? Have you tried SALTWASH™ yet on your own project? If you have any questions about this blog or SALTWASH™ please comment below. Check out our YouTube video where Deanna demonstrates the steps as she finishes a frame with SALTWASH™ & Chalk Paint™ by Annie Sloan!


Thanks for visiting our blog! Hope you’ll come by our studio and check out my bar stool soon!


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Keep reading to find out how we created The PAINT BAR sign!

By now you might have heard about The PAINT BAR, but just in case you haven’t let me tell you a bit about it. We have set up our studio for you to work on your projects, play with paint, sip coffee and be with friends. Bring your own small project and use all of our paint, products and tools to work your own personal projects for just $15/hour! Open: Monday – Friday, 10AM – 6PM and some Saturdays. Just call us 403-243-7433 to reserve your spot.

So you can easily find The PAINT BAR we have just completed an awesome sign so you’ll know where to go. Keep reading to see our process and the end result.


We started by tracking down a local company, HKLUXCo. ,that could make the letters PAINT BAR for us out of metal. At that time, we weren’t sure what the letters would be mounted on or the final look but needed to start somewhere. While the letters were being made we came across a giant old wooden chest that was about to fall apart, we thought the boards would be perfect to use as a background for our PAINT BAR letters. We dismantled the box and cut a couple strips of the wood to size. And from there a plan started to form. Excited about the arrival of Saltwash™ we decided this was a great way to showcase our newest product and we just love the look of it.

Inspired by these ocean, beachy themed images our colour pallet was selected: Old White, Louis Blue, Provence, Greek Blue,Florence, and Napoleonic Blue Chalk Paint™ by Annie Sloan.



o keep track of our steps and colour mixes we used a page in our new Annie Sloan Chalk Paint™ Workbook, this new workbook is a fantastic way to keep track of your projects but also to find inspiration as Annie has left lots of notes and ideas inside! We mixed our Chalk Paint™ colours with our new Saltwash™ until it had a thick consistency, similar to cake icing. In our workbook we put a dab of each of our paint mixes and notes to help us remember what we did. We also pasted some inspiration photos to remind us where the inspiration was drawn from.


With the boards all fastened together we were ready to start painting. We continued to add colours and layers drawing inspiration again from our photos, mimicking the colours of the ocean as it’s waves crash along the beach. There are no rules when creating a look like this, just keep playing with colours and layering and allowing the colours to mix and overlap until you get a look you love. Did we mention how excited we are about this product?



After our paint layers had completely dried it was time to bond our letters to the background. HKLUX Co. provided us with a strong industrial glue that bonds to metal and wood; we squeezed it onto the backs of each of our letters. Then, with a little force, and a lot of love, we pressed the letters onto the wood surface.


Time for install! We attached some hardware and chain to our sign, and then with a group effort we hung The PAINT BAR sign above our studio door. Check out the video clip below to see us in action!


How cool is that? Look for our new sign next time you come visit our studio, it’s hard to miss! We look forward to seeing you at The PAINT BAR soon! Happy Painting from all the artists at Interiors To Inspire!


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