Rusty Pumpkin Tutorial

Mixed Media Pumpkins by Artistic Artifacts using Rusty Paper and Rusty Patina

What’s that old saying? When the cat’s away, the mice will play? When lead “cat” Judy left to drive her trailer full of goodies to Texas for both Quilt Market and International Quilt Festival, “mice” Julie Middleton and Sharon McDonagh took some time to play!

A previously posted tutorial on this blog introduced Rusty Paper by Viva Decor. We were asked by readers whether Rusty Paper could be used on fabric, so during our October session of How Do I Use This (which focused on Rusty Paper), we tried it out. We created mixed media tags that used both paper and fiber, including altering our Web Weave Ribbon with the product (see below).

Rusty Paper and Rusty Patina with mixed media tags

To further explore the question of fabric, Julie and Sharon created this fun Halloween project.

Rusty Mixed Media Pumpkins Tutorial

Rusty Paper, available in original (dark rust) or Rust Orange, is a paint product that gives a realistic rust appearance and texture to paper, cardboard, wood, metal, plastic and more. Adding the Rusty Patina (available in Copper and Oxyd) makes the effect even more varied and realistic.

Julie Middleton drafting her pumpkin pattern

We used a black batik fabric as our base (doubling it up although we only painted one side), both deciding to cut out our pumpkins after we had painted the fabric. Julie chose to sketch out a pattern first (above). Sharon freehand cut her pumpkin’s facial features out of label stock and stuck them in place (below).

Sharon McDonagh used label stock to create a mask for her pumpkin's features

Rusty Orange by Viva DecorWe used the Rust Orange color of the Rusty Paper…an obvious choice since we were making Jack o’ Lanterns! It’s important to stir thoroughly the jar of Rusty Paper, which has a thick consistency (right), before you apply it to your chosen surface. Julie used a sponge to apply the product to her fabric; Sharon brushed it on over the label masks. Use either, or use a dauber, palette knife…whatever tool you like to apply the product to your surface.

Applying Rusty Paper with a sponge onto fabric

Below, Sharon brushed too vigorously over the label paper mask masking the triangle nose and dislodged it, causing her to improvise a smaller, off center shape. Oh well…it was always meant to be a wonky pumpkin! Wash your brushes and tools as soon as you complete a step; once dried, this product is permanent.

Applying Rusty Paper with a brush

Our pumpkin fabric dried after one coat:

One coat of Rusty Paper

Above, Julie intentionally left the black fabric to show through to give the impression of the ridges of the pumpkin. Below, Sharon peeled off the label masks after the first coat had dried.

One coat of Rusty Paper, label paper masks peeled off

We both added a second coat of Rusty Paper and introduced the Rusty Patina. The Patina adds a difference of both color texture, including some sparkle: so pretty! The technique is to work wet on wet, so we sponged and brushed on additional Rusty Paper and picked up differing amounts of Rusty Patina, wiping it into the Rusty Paper and swirling and mottling (see below). We used the Oxid color of the Patina so it would blend into the Rust Orange tones.

Second coat of Rusty Paper, mixed with Rusty Patina

Once the second coat was dry, we cut, sewed and embellished our pumpkins.

Creating a pumpkin face with vintage buttons

Julie raided Judy’s button stash (above) for eyes and nose, and cut the mouth out of Osnaburg 100% cotton. This has a loose weave and is wonderful for stitching; because Julie sewed closed to the edge, it caused some fraying, which further added to the vintage feel she was going for!

Sewing on the pumpkin's facial features

We cut out our pumpkin shapes, leaving a raw-edged border of the black fabric. We then machine stitched with contrasting thread around the shape twice, leaving an opening at the top for stuffing and the stem. Although Julie didn’t have any trouble hand-sewing through the Rusty Paper, we didn’t want to run a sewing machine needle through it because of the gritty texture. (It may be possible to do so with no problem; experiment yourself if you wish).

Below, our finished pumpkins:

Mixed Media pumpkin created by Julie Middleton

Julie used a length of tree branch for her stem, and accented it with orange skeleton leaves.

Mixed Media pumpkin created by Sharon McDonagh

Sharon added book text (treated with a light coat of Rusty Paper and Rusty Patina) for cheeks and used peeled corrugated cardboard for her stem. She texturized green velvet with a rubber stamp, cut it into leaf shapes and glued them on, using a ribbon scrap for a tendril.

Lessons Learned

So, what did we learn about Rusty Paper on fabric? Sharon applied both coats rather thickly, wanting an opaque look. Peeling away the label masks she used, a small chip flaked off the edge of one of the pumpkin teeth, but the product otherwise adhered very well. Stuffing both of the sewn pumpkins with the fiberfill meant a lot of handling, yet there was no rub-off or cracking.

When most people ask about using a product on fabric, they usually mean they are wondering about permanence and washability. Rusty Paper and Rusty Patina are permanent products, and are even advertised to be used on decorative items that will be outdoors, so they have been formulated to stand up to the elements.

Below is a photo of textiles (Roc-lon Multi-Purpose Cloth and 100% cotton) that were stenciled with Rusty Paper during the How Do I Use This? session on October 8th.

Fabrics stenciled with Rusty Paper

We took the cotton swatch (far right in the above photo) and hand-washed it in a white plastic basin (so we could monitor the water for color loss). We used warm water and hand soap, agitating it with medium pressure and lightly scrubbing. We rinsed the swatch, and poured the wash water through layers of white paper towels, again so we could see if the color ran.

Rusty Paper fabric swatch after hand washing

We did not see much loss of color (if any). But one of the hallmarks of this product is that it gives you a rust-like appearance, not just in color but in texture. Our pumpkins are rough and gritty feeling, much like a rusty piece of metal would feel. The left side of the above photo shows the residue left on the paper towel after draining: these are tiny, gritty flecks of color and product that gave the fabric its rusty texture.

Our recommendation? Feel free to use this product on any fabric, canvas or fiber product used to create a decorative object that won’t need regular laundering. That’s in addition to the surfaces recommended by the product manufacturers: paper, wood, metal, plastic, and more. This is a versatile product that gives you great effects!

Precious Metal Effects Paint by Viva

Precious Metal Effects Paint by Viva

Precious Metal Effects Paint by Viva is a nontoxic, water-based paint that reproduces the color and shine of metallic surfaces. This high opacity paint can be applied with a brush or sponge on most surfaces. Precious Metal is long lasting, tarnish-free, and is available in 28 colors.

During our most recent “How Do I Use This?” product demonstration we focused on ways to color metal. We used this opportunity to further sample the product, and loved the enamel-type finish it created on a variety of surfaces.

This product is very easy to paint on and cleans up with water. I painted on my favorite work surface, a teflon/fiberglass non-stick ironing and craft sheet for easy clean up. Depending on the material to be painted, I’ve found that a very light sandpaper will help rough up the surface to give it some “tooth,” allowing the paint to grip.

Metal filigree buttons painted with Precious Metal Effects paint

When the paint first arrived at Artistic Artifacts I immediately thought buttons… metal buttons. The ones pictured here specifically! The button with the white wire attached is the original finish; the others are painted various Precious Metal Effects shades. While for many applications one coat is enough, I found I did like two coats of paint better for this purpose.

left, plastic buttons, right, charms and metal stampings, both painted with Precious Metal Effects paint

Pictured on the right, the Octopus was a raw brass piece. I brushed the paint on, waited a bit and then brushed off some of the color so that the brass could be seen underneath. The PEACE Artgirlz charm was originally a pewter finish, and the Believe tag from Tim Holtz had a vintage distressed finish on it.

Wooden bowl painted with Precious Metal Effects paint

The wooden bowl pictured above was a thrift store find; the back view on the right shows you the dark wood finish that was on the bowl before painting. I sanded the inside of the bowl lightly and have applied one coat of paint so far.

Precious Metal Effects paint on reclaimed metal embellishments

The two pieces pictured here [right] were from a metal belt that I took apart. The smaller piece has had two coats of Precious Metal Effects paint applied, so you see the opaque coverage. The larger one had a finish on it, and in hindsight it probably could have used a little sanding with a very fine grit sandpaper, but even without I think another two coats on it will give me the same good results as the smaller piece.

Vintage spoon, painted and then pounded flat

I painted this vintage spoon (pictured right) with the Precious Metal Effects paint. After it was dry, I decided I wanted it flat, so I pounded it with a huge hammer. I have to admit I was pretty amazed that the paint did not chip off in big flakes! You can see some wear but it is minor considering the amount and force of the pounding I subjected it to. I was expecting I would need to recoat the spoon with paint, but this experiment goes to show you that the finish you achieve with Precious Metal Effects paint is very durable.

While in this posting I’ve focused just on this wonderful paint, that night we also worked with Sophisticated Finishes Metal Surfacers, Tim Holtz® Adirondack® Alcohol Inks, and Gilder’s Paste, and ended up with some beautiful experiments. Next month, April 10, we’ll be playing with Angelina. Join us in our Alexandria shop then, or on the second Thursday of any month, 6:30 – 8:30 pm, for these monthly How Do I Use This demos. Each month is a different product, and every session is great fun!

Participants in March's How Do I Use This? monthly product demonstration