I developed this paint technique to create a cast iron finish on a HID-E-OUS brass lamp we had in our living room. My husband and I have a lovely cast iron legged side table and a shared like of Restoration Hardware. Also a shared like of not spending that type of money. I tried to find a good tutorial to fake a cast iron finish but gave up and started playing with paint. After multiple attempts, hauling the side table around to compare, and scraping off bad finishes I found a way to paint a faux cast iron finish.
It looks great on furniture but also works to make an ‘urn’ like finish for Halloween.
For the basic finish you need:
Rustoleum American Accents Stone Finish in Mineral Brown* (long enough title?)
Sand Paper (higher grit is better for smoother finish)
If you want to paint glass:
Add a glass primer or frosting spray*
Step 1 We All Hate It: Priming
Depending on the piece you are covering you’ll need to prime it. Glass required a coat of frosting spray. My horrible brass lamp needed a clear coat sanded off. Google directions for the piece you want to cover.
Step 2 Using the Rustoleum American… Ah to hell with it: The Stone Paint
I’m just going to call it stone spray paint from here on out. The title in supplies should let you know what I mean. By the way, I am only suggesting that particular brand for the stone paint because it is the only one I have used. I tried a variety of bronze paints and they worked fine, but I haven’t had a chance to try a different texture brand. If you do please leave a note in the comments.
Lightly cover the whole piece with a splattering of the texture. I moved waaaay back than my usual spray painting technique. You can see if just splattered a coating.
Step 3: Bronzer instead of Blush
You can go ahead and spray a covering coat of bronze spray paint before the stone paint is dry. Save some time and it doesn’t hurt anything. However, let the bronze mostly dry. I say mostly because I am impatient and if it is a bit tacky and peels up you’ll be fine. If you are doing it right it will look shiny and warty and you’ll be thinking “what the hell is this?”
Step 4: More OMG This Looks Awful
After the bronze ‘mostly’ dries take the sand paper and give it a buff. It will knock off a lot of the texture leaving pits, holes, and scuffs. Then cover in bronze paint again. Repeat step 3 & 4 if you don’t feel like it had a lot of varied texture, or you were impatient (like me) and gummed up the paint into a wad.
Step 5: Now It Will Come Together
Let everything dry and then cover the whole item with a thick coat of matte spray. By thick, I mean disregard the manufacturers guidelines and get that puppy about 3-6 inches from the surface. You want the matte paint to pool in the pits and any decorative carvings.
That is pretty much that! There aren’t really notes with this process other than more layers of paint give a richer finish. You can see how I styled these cast iron ‘urn’ vases for a Halloween Vignette.
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39 thoughts on “Faux Cast Iron Finish”
I’m preparing to paint various picture frames cast iron that are currently painted gold wood and cheap metal. They are very ornate with a Victorian look. I want to make them look old and heavy. Do you think this process will work? My concern is all the levels to be sanded? Do you have to do a lot of sanding?
You really don’t have to do a lot of sanding. Some of the flexible sandpaper sheets could probably knock off any place it gets too thick.
Nice post! This post share lots of information about Faux cast iron finish. Glass you painted is really looking amazing, great work!
Globe yes. Auto correct. I just did the stone paint. I’m scared lol. I dont know how to include a pic when its complete. I will def share.
I have a armillary glove that I just had sand blasted. I’m thinking of doing this to it.
Like a armillary globe? If so that would be hella cool. I’d love to see!
What would you do to old school lockers? I saw a picture of a set with iron painted finish and then brown shoe polish was wiped over that. Looked great, but not sure how to do it.
I would follow these instructions! I have used this same faux finish to change up brass lamps and other objects. I think it would be fine for lockers. Maybe just spray a metal primer first.
I did your technigue on an aluminum headboard. To match my bedroom furnace which is black with antique gold smudges on it. I used the textured stone paint black Matallic paint, then sanded and brushed some gold metallic on a dry sponge and wiped it on. Matched my furnace perfectly!!!! Ty ty ty. Now I am doing some candle sticks and a wooden box.
That is so awesome! I would love to see some pictures!
Your article is fantastic. Thank you. YOU ARE FUNNY! I am going to try this finish for an art project I’m doing with kids. African Osanyin Staffs. Thank you!
Thanks so much! Let me know how it goes!
Looks great Brianna! I like the fact that you have experimented with the paints and come up with something much better.
I love trying out new things too and normally my projects that look the best are the “Happy Accidents” :)
In the last photo you say put a heavy coat of matte paint on and ignore manufacturers instructions, OK, what matte paint? Did I miss something? Another color coat? Matte Clear?
Matte Clear! Sorry that wasn’t apparent.
I have a cast aluminum patio set which I have just spray-painted Matte Black. I was trying for the cast iron finish, but obviously missed it. Would I have to re-prime this furniture before applying your process?
I personally wouldn’t. The matte black would just serve as a nice undercoat. Matte finishes tend to be pretty ‘grippy’ for other paint products.
I have a 3D printer and I am going to print a plaque for my friend and want it to have an iron effect. I will print it with a magnetic material to add to the effect and then do this process and hope it looks as awesome as yours!
Well mine turned out to look exactly like cast iron. It is easier to achieve if you have a small piece to compare too. I’d love to see the finished project!
This looks fantastic! I’m just flirting with the idea of building some super simple French industrial-style furniture. You make it look easy, but do you have any advice for a rank novice?
Also, it would be great to see the finished product next to some real cast iron, and better yet in a video.
My best advice is to have some cast iron or google some photos of it while you are working on it. Also do not panic if one of your steps goes awry, you can always paint or sand it and start over. SOme of the best finishes come from ‘Mistakes’. I will definitely look into making a video of the finish at some point when it is warmer and I can spray paint outside.
Brianna, So happy to have found your cast iron tutorial! I too have a thing for cast iron. I’m in the middle of redecorating my living room and rescued a long wooden console table that I’d like to give cast iron legs. Would your technique work on wood as long as it too is primed?
Absolutely! I have used it on metal, glass, and wood. Works just fine as long as you have a good primed surface to work with.
Sarah B. – Just wondering if you did this technique on your furniture and if so, how did it turn out? Looking to do something similar!
I would love to know too!
Well you could have fooled me, I never would have believed that there was glass underneath! It looks fantastic!
Splendid job Brianna! Can’t wait to try you method. Thank you so much for tutorial!
What a fantastic tutorial! I am making a fireback out of epoxy and wanted to make it look cast iron, not wanting to master the lost wax technique. This is super helpful, thanks!
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Brianna thank you SO much for sharing this last week last week on the Making Monday link party. I wanted to let you know that I was going to feature this for this weeks link party and would really love it if you would come grab a button and link any other projects you have! Hope to see you soon :) and thanks again http://gracelangdon.blogspot.com/
I am absolutely amazed at how much these really look like cast iron! How smart are you, Brianna! And thanks for linking up again this week :)
Thanks! It took quite a bit of trial and error. Any time I work on a faux finish recipe it helps to have a real example to mimic.
I am in LOVE with cast iron!! I actually have a cast iron display cabinet from a hardware store that I use as our TV stand :) This is such a cool tutorial and I would greatly appreciate it if you could come share it at my weekly link party!! I love linking up new ideas like this to our link party pin board so if you could hop on over that would be great!! http://gracelangdon.blogspot.com/2013/09/making-monday-7.html
Thanks for the invitation!
Love this idea-just hope no one thinks the glass vases ARE bronze,
and breaks them. I need to re-do some brass knobs and love this color-will
let you know how this works-will need to ..ugh…prime first.
I can’t wait to hear how it turns out. Priming is the devil.
I loved this! I pinned it because I WILL be trying this later!
Awesome! Tell me how it goes or feel free to ask any questions.