Friday, November 3, 2017

Faux Vintage Metal Magnets Using Spray Paint Marbling


Spray paint water dip marbling (marbelizing) is a super easy way to create pretty paint effects. Careful! It's addictive! You'll be looking for things to dip! The downside is that it can be tricky to create an even finish. Boo.  For smooth glossy items that can be a serious pitfall, while for textured items or other forgiving surfaces it may not matter at all to the look of the finished project.  For my mini letters, I didn't want to avoid the uneven finish, I wanted to actively use it. In this easy DIY, the little air bubbles, water droplets, ripples, and other idiosyncrasies of the spray paint dipping process combined with the metallic colour scheme create the appearance of aged metal. 

To make your own, you will need:
  • Plastic alphabet magnets or similar
  • Suitable spray paints
  • Room temperature water in an expendable container (this will get messy...)
  • Optional but helpful: masking tape, a skewer or toothpick, paper towels, gloves, cling film, and painting protection/cleaning supplies if/as needed. 

*If you are using a self-priming plastic paint, you can skip the primer else prime before painting your base colour to ensure a good adhesion of paint to your plastic letters. I used a self-priming gloss pewter as the base for my letters, and a combination of metallic gold and silver for the dipping.  Ensure your paints are compatible to avoid any issues with layering together.


I bought my plastic alphabet magnets ages ago at a local bargain/dollar shop, with ever intention of painting them plain metallic for use as a photo prop for the crafty little vignette pictures I like to create for the blog, like the ones you'll often see on our Instagram and other media. Rainbow plastic has it's fun uses, but they're kind of limited and not really "me".  When I happened across the letters in the store, they made me think of posts I had seen from time to time on Pinterest where they'd been painted different pretty metallics (like gold, silver, and copper). But I didn't fancy plain props either. Then, when I was doing my recent marbling method experiments, inspiration struck.  Why not use the "pitfalls" of spray paint dipping to purposefully create a faux vintage metal effect? Yes!  Here goes!


To create your own:

  • Optional: Keep things tidy and protect the often weak little magnets on these by popping a little piece of masking take over the magnet on the back before you begin. We aren't painting the backs, but paint can get messy!
  • Starting with clean and dry magnets, lay them out on a suitable work surface and spray prime if required for your chosen paint. Using the coat/re-coat times and directions for your chosen paint, spray paint the letters in your base colour using very thin layers, changing angles between coats to try and get coverage in the tops, sides, edges, nooks, and crannies.
  • Allow to fully dry. Individual paint times vary. Instructions will specify when it will be safe to recoat again. 
  • Prepare a dipping station in your painting area: 
    • Have a drying surface to place your dipped letters. Covering my cardboard scrap with a piece of taped-on clingfilm ensures that I get a clean removal if there is any dipped paint on the bottom lips of the letters for this last coat.
    • Fill a container with room temperature water for the dipping vessel. It should be expendable (this will be messy) and needs to be large enough that you can easily dip a letter face down with room for your fingers.
    • Have your supplies prepped and at the ready, including a toothpick or skewer (expendable) for swirling and a paper towel in case you need to drag the top of your dipping vessel to remove hardening paint from the container. If the spray paint starts to set, you will need to clear and recharge the surface.
    • Shake baby shake. Have your chosen dipping sprays all pre-shaken and at the ready.
    • Disposable gloves are recommended as you are going to be finger dipping.
  • Lightly spray the top of your water with your marbling paint(s). Swirl lightly to vary the colour distribution.
  • Working quickly but carefully, individually dip the top/sides of the letters through the floating paint into the water, so that your dip covers the sides to the bottom edge. Place on your pre-prepared drying surface. 
  • Continue this process to coat all letters, adding spray paint to the surface if/as needed (or clearing and refreshing the surface completely if paint starts to harden).  Tip: Don't work through the alphabet in order so that you create added natural variation in the finished set.
  • Allow to dry and harden thoroughly before use.

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