Making mini rust art with Powertex and Rusty Powder
The Powertex mixed media minis were a brilliant way to get back into creating after a break and after the tiny metallic art I wanted to try some mini rust art. Rusty Powder is one of my favourite supplies and while it requires a bit of patience the organic results are always worth it for me.
There are lots of benefits to making mini art like these. Whether you are playing with new supplies, trying a new technique or just making something with low time or energy this is a great way to keep creating. This was a great project I could do a few minutes each day for a few days.
Create a series of mini rust art with Powertex
The basic steps I followed are below but if you haven’t used Powertex or Rusty Powder before, check the links at the end for more!
Supplies I used:
- Small pieces of watercolour paper/stiff card 2-3″ wide
- Ivory Powertex Universal Medium, (Use Transparent Powertex for the rust if you have it)
- Fabric scraps, small pieces with different textures
- Rusty Powder
- White vinegar and a spray bottle with a water and vinegar mix
- Bister granules (I used blue)
- Plastic palette knife and container for mixing the Rusty Powder
- Optional Paperdecoration and 3D Sand
I started out with some small pieces of watercolour paper, coated with Ivory Powertex. Looking back 2 coats would have been better or a heavier card, as the paper curled a lot when the fabric dried.
Layer up some tiny fabric textures, coating each piece completely with Ivory Powertex. Press each piece into place or sculpt into shape. I also used tiny pieces of Paperdecoration. It’s a stiff, textured material that becomes very easy to sculpt when wet with Powertex. It was perfect for adding little loops and curls.
Use different textures next to each other to make it interesting but stick to natural materials for best results.
Mix up a rusty paint with Powertex, Rusty Powder and a splash of vinegar and apply this to the pieces with a plastic palette knife. Using more Rusty Powder makes quite a dark rust and I wanted high contrast with the Ivory. It’s possible to mix different shades by using smaller amounts of Rusty Powder.
I wasn’t really thinking too hard about where I put the rust but I made sure to keep some areas Ivory. A sprinkle of Blue Bister granules onto the wet surface added some colour before I sprayed everything with a water and vinegar mix. This was an impulsive decision because I wanted to know what it would look like! The rust takes a few hours to develop fully so it can be left overnight.
When the rust has developed I like to add another layer but this is optional. This time I made a thicker paste with some 3D sand in the mix and layered this on top of the rust. This is great if you want to layer different colours of rust too.
Create highlights on your mini art with Ivory Powertex on a flat brush over the textures. This brings out the textures but can also add contrast to the finished piece. I added a few more drops of Bister and water on some of the pieces but this was more out of curiosity than design!
Making tiny art is a great way to experiment with supplies, try a technique and just have a play without too much pressure to create something perfect. There are three or four of these tiny pieces of rust art that I quite like that could be displayed somehow. A series of these would look fantastic grouped together and mounted into a box frame.
Not all of the pieces dried very flat so I would use a thicker card next time and coat more thoroughly with Powertex and dry before adding textures. It’s worth knowing the the fabric textures shrink when the Powertex dries and this will pull the base into a curl if it’s not sturdy enough.
What is Powertex? – a short guide to Powertex Universal Medium
Powertex for beginners – Get Crafting with Powertex
What is Bister? and other free guides for Powertex beginners
I’m a certified Powertex tutor and get my supplies from Powertex UK