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1 Apr 2009

How To Get That Rust Effect!

Author: Rat-Look.com Editorial Team | Filed under: Rat Look Guides

Rusting is not like painting so no real preperation is needed but
for best results make sure you rust vehicle in the dry (even when
using ‘wet and dry’) make sure that any areas that you don’t want
sanding or scuffing are masked off with a few good layers of Duct
tape (not masking tape as this may not protect the area adequately)
I masked off door and wndow rubbers. wiper jets, side repeaters etc.

Also check the rubber/plastic protection strips running down the length of your car….do you want them?
Find out wether they are glued/bolted or panel pinned on. You can do this be removing the door card on the inside, if there are no holes on the inside of the door usually these can be simply but carefully peeled off ( Heating with an air gun or hair dryer may help) If there are holes on the inside, the strips may be bolted or pinned on if removed these holes will require body filler so you may wish to leave the strips on.

mine were just glued on so later on off they came.

Most of my sanding was done with P40 grade sandpaper which needed replacing often but was very course, you can use any grade of sandpaper which ever suits you best, I sanded mine mostly by hand but for larger flatter panels employed the use of an orbital sander. If I’d had a belt sander at my disposal at this point it would of come very useful.
Sanding blocks would also be very useful and I used a hand held wire brush and drill bit wire brush for the narrow gaps where sand paper was difficult to use.

Its not easy to sand a whole car so maybe stick to just a panel a day because if you want rust you must make sure all the galvanization has come off. On some vehicles the galv appears lighter and then on others darker so you will have to trial and error with this. Which ever lighter or darker starts rusting first then the other is still galvanized and must be sanded through as these parts will take MUCH MUCH longer to rust unless you wish to leave it that way giving this effect:

Once sanded and all galvanization is off finish will look simular to this:

Now the sanding has been completed the rusting will begin.

It all depends how fast rusting will take place on the vehicle and environment, some cars rust faster than others and if you live near the salty aired sea side I’m pretty sure your ride will oxidise much faster than a car further inland.

There is a useful way of speeding up this process. when ever the vehicle is wet throw table salt over it….(or soak it in salt water and then add more salt over the body work) If that dries out add more water…..if the salt gets washed away add more salt. It really wont take long before the car is on its way to a satisfying rusty finish.

PLEASE NOTE: No car will last forever but rusting anypart or especially the whole car will significantly reduce its life span so is not recomended on newer vehicles. My Astra I do not expect will pass too many more MOT’s in financial reason this is why this vehicle was chosen for a rusty makeover.

However If you are a little worried about the cars overall condition after rusting only rust removable and more importantly replaceable, bolt-on panels. E.g. Bonnets, doors, wings etc…

If you are gonna rust some panels on your pride and joy why not try ordering a spare set off ebay or a scrap yard and rusting them instead. For example If i bought a 56 plate blue Golf and thought it would look sweet with a rusted bonnet… why not scowl Ebay for a matching bonnet (to be rusted any colour would do) Rust that…fit it and save the standard bonnet in the garage so that when I sell it 3 years down the line I could bolt on the origional bonnet to (ex-rat) and retain the value of the car. (the suceeding owner need never know) :gheyer

A way I have tried with a successful outcome is to massage WD-40 into the rust with a cloth. (Takes less time than to wash a car and only needs to be done every month or so). This protects the rust but does give the rust a constant dark brown shade and constant wet look which is not to everybody’s taste.

The last way of protecting your rust is the lacquer in the rust, thus protecting it from oxidisation.
this will give the rust a gloss effect unless you specifically use ‘matt lacquer’

IMPORTANT: for this to protect your rust the rusty body work must be 100% solid, oil and moisture free when lacquer is applied!!!!
If the slightest bit of moisture is on the panel it can get sealed in and when the lacquer is dried it will work constantly under the lacquer eating through the bodywork doing more harm than good.

The dis-ASTRA has been rusty for nearly 6 months now and as the rust
is begining to get thin in places that carry more water than others
(under the door handles) I will be trying to seal in the rust with matt
lacquer. See my thread for progress.

(A little tip for MOT’s…this is not official but if you’ve rusted your vehicle and it fails for excessive body rust, paint it in anything cheap, get it re-tested and after its passed sand it off again for another year. It may not work for you but has done for me.

Good luck

5 Responses to “How To Get That Rust Effect!”

  1. Heya, i have a rat look bonnet on my vw beetle, however the rust is almost a orange colour. How can i darken the rust to almost make it brown?

  2. rub used engine oil in it mate.

  3. you mix lanolin grease and petroleum jelly half half, make a pot of boiling water and mix the 2 fluid then mix it.
    after pour it over the car or use a sponge 2 apply it gives a great darker colour used it on my own bug 59er

  4. uninvited says:
  5. i used unicorn pee. stripped it to bare metal. then get a spray bottle. one part vinegar one part hydrogen peroxide and a snif of salt. spray it on, best on a hot sunny day and let it dry. rust wil appear in minutes. unicorn pee its magical!!! lol

  6. Christopher Malone says:
  7. Someone has kept it clean and didn’t get that far.

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