Not bad, just rusty

Peeling Paint

There are many techniques to achieve a peeling paint effect and I’m still learning. Let that be known now!

My most recent efforts, however, yielded my best results to date, so I thought I’d share to save some of your sweat and tears by sharing them.

First things first, I used a few techniques in this above image so let’s first look at the one I used for —


  1. Add grain, texture and nail rows to your wood. Unlike what you may already know, don’t use a razor saw for wood grain. The teeth on a saw are too uniform and, remember, you’re modeling something organic! Instead, use a “plumbers pipe brush” or a “file card brush” (for cleaning the grooves in a metal file). The bristles on either of these brushes are much more random — perfect for wood grain.
  2. Stain your wood. Be random. Lighter and darker shades. Avoid full coverage, the wood should look fairly patchy.
  3. While the wood is drying, go and buy some Elmer’s Rubber Cement:

4. Apply it in globs using the applicator brush. It’s better if it goes on too thick than too thin. You should have patches of the stuff here and there:

This was too thin of an application. Next time I’ll be twice as liberal.

5. After the cement has dried, paint your wood/walls.

6. After everything is dry, simply roll your thumb over the areas you covered with the rubber cement. You’ll see the rubber cement comes away super easily, leaving you a wonderful peeling paint effect. You can also use a toothpick (lightly) to pick at specific areas.

The peeling paint on this garage door was created using a different technique. It’s actually the same technique I used for the plastic doors and windows. So, I guess we should now talk about —


Unlike wood, you obviously don’t stain plastic. You paint it. So where do we start? It’s actually very simple.

  1. Using the same brushes I mentioned above, add grain to your plastic. We’re wanting this plastic to look like wood, right? Adding grain (carefully and mindfully) ERASES the perfect plastic finish and CREATES a wood-like texture.
  2. Instead of staining, paint your plastic using natural wood colors. Use more than one. Again, be random. Patchy. I use a very light beige/brown and then use a thin wash of similar colors to make the details go *POP*.
  3. Important: seal your paintwork with a flat finish (Dullcote).
  4. Now, if coloring other than white, follow the same steps using the Rubber Cement and painting as described above.

If you are painting a white finish… there’s something else…

5. Buy one of these:

Bic WOTAPP11 Wite-Out EZ Correct Blue 1/6" x 472" Correction Tape

6. Instead of both the rubber cement and painting, simply use the Wite-Out tape (Tipp-Ex Mouse, for those in the UK) to “paint” your windows and doors. It goes on easier than you think and sticks more than you expect! I accidentally discovered this stuff peels when I was trying to use it for it’s proper purpose — and failed! Go figure!

7. The vinyl-like finish of the tape makes it a perfect candidate to peel and pick at, create a easy-to-achieve peeling effect (how I achieved the above windows and doors)

8. You don’t need to seal afterwards, but feel free to!

And that’s it, folks. Don’t forget to weather with chalks and other things like oils and enamels for that extra worn look.

As always, Keep it Rusty!

by Craig on October 14, 2021