Faux Rust Paper Technique
Hello dear Graphics Fairy friends! I’m Diana from Dreams Factory and I will show you how to make some beautiful French Labels with a Faux Rust Paper Technique. This technique uses 3 key ingredients that you already have in your kitchen -to add some patina and ‘rust’ to our regular paper labels and turn them into perfectly imperfect aged beauties. I can’t wait to share the “Secret” ingredient that I discovered for creating this effect!
Of course, it all starts with the French labels that I designed especially for this project. I just love coming up with new ways of using the beautiful graphics from The Graphics Fairy and sort of reinventing them over and over again for specific projects. The labels have a beautiful rounded border and some ‘nail’ marks on the sides, that will help enhance the rusted vintage feel I was envisioning.
You will also see that the labels pictured in the post are a little bit different than the ones from this printable. That’s because I made a few changes on the road, when I realized I would have loved some smaller sized DIY Faux Rusted French Labels to decorate a particular smaller items. (You’ll see in a while what I’m talking about.
Free Printable Faux Rust Paper Technique
Click HERE to Download the Full Size Printable PDF of the French Labels
Let’s talk about the 3 key ingredients for a second.
Coffee will act as our ageing agent -> will naturally add patina, some beautiful brown hues and wrinkles to the paper, making it look vintage and worn.
Cinnamon will become our ‘rust’ -> will create some amazing textures and will add dimension.
The stickiness of the sugar -> will help us ‘arrange’ and control the rust as we want.
Chances are you might be using all these 3 ingredients on a regular basis, but who knew they have such hidden properties when it comes to crafting, right?
Are you ready to unleash their hidden supper powers?
Let’s get started!
Supplies for Faux Rust Paper Technique:
- cardstock or regular printing paper
- home printer
- magic elixir: coffee (about 1/2 measuring cup) + sugar (2 teaspoons) + cinnamon (1/2 teaspoon)
- cinnamon (about 2-3 teaspoons) for sprinkling
- a teaspoon
- paper towels
- a brush
- Mod Podge
- jars, bottles, containers, cups, pots or other decorative pieces to beautify with the labels
Print the labels using a laserjet printer or, if you don’t own a laser printer, copy them on a memory stick, take them to a copy center and print them there. The laser printer part is really important for this project because we will be soaking the paper next and ink printers simply won’t work!
As for the paper, you can use regular paper or cardstock, with a few minor differences (when it comes to texture and color). Depending on where and how you are planning to use the labels afterwards, you can use either one of the two.
Cut the labels as close as you can to their beautiful borders, leaving some small white space around the black borders. Try to make smooth cuts following the exterior rounded shape of the borders.
I initially tried adding the cinnamon ‘rust’ to the labels using only coffee, while the labels were wet, but after the labels have dried, most of the cinnamon just came off.
So I experimented a little bit and created the magic elixir mentioned above by adding some sugar and cinnamon to the coffee and trying to naturally ‘glue’ the cinnamon to the paper. It worked great, the stickiness of the sugar helped me achieve great results!
When I was finishing cutting the labels, I added them, one by one, into the cup that was holding the magic elixir, stacking them on top of each others.
I used a small spoon to press them into the coffee, I let them soak for about 10-15 minutes and then removed them from the cup. Be carefully not to tear them, the paper will be quite fragile at this point.
I arranged them on plates making sure they are not overlapping (at first).
Then I sprinkled some cinnamon and added a few more tablespoons of coffee.
You will have to work on layers for this project and just add coffee and cinnamon until fully satisfied. Just keep in mind that the color of coffee will fade after drying and it will be more subtle.
Then things got a little bit messy. I added a few labels on top of each other, on the plate, after sprinkling lots of cinnamon and adding a little bit more of that magic elixir between each ‘layer’.
I let them sit like that for about 10 minutes more.
Then I added paper towel to a few clean plates and moved the labels there – this time not overlapping them. I used a brush to ‘guide’ some of the cinnamon rust to the edges of the labels (where you would normally find more rust), but I also loved all those organic shapes cinnamon and coffee created on their own.
You can remove (with your brush or with a paper towel) some of the cinnamon rust – if you feel like maybe you went overboard and added too much earlier.
But if you are a vintage lover at heart, you can always … add some more rust!
And by the way, your house will smell amazing by now, from all that coffee and cinnamon!
Leave the labels to dry on their own or use your hairdryer (like I did) if you want to hurry up the process….or you are just feeling anxious to see how they look afterwards.
Dry the labels on the plates a little bit at first (go with your hairdryer gently over their surface so they are not soaking wet) and then toss them all in a bucket (or other recipient that can handle some heat) and dry them all together. They will be moving and flying everywhere, so try constraining them into your bucket…
TAA -DAAAA! All done!
Some pretty amazing results when you’re thinking we only used coffee, sugar and cinnamon, wouldn’t you agree?
Do you guys remember that I mentioned earlier when talking about regular paper and cardstock paper that there are a few minor differences when it comes to the final results?
In the picture below you can see them if you look real close …
The label from the top is made from regular paper and it has a more wrinkled texture. After drying, the coffee gave it a more brownish color hue.
The label from the bottom is made from cardstock paper and it has a more curved than wrinkled texture. The coffee gave it a more of a brown-yellowish color hue.
If you feel like your labels are a little bit too wrinkled, you can arrange them between the pages of a book and put something heavy on top.
Each of your new (but old) DIY Faux Rusted French Labels will be truly unique, I just love how realistic all that rust looks!
The cinnamon should stick to the paper, but if you really want to further seal it in, you could brush a thin layer of Mod Podge on top of the labels.
Let them dry completely before using – the Mod Podge will form a thin and (completely clear) protective layer after drying. You won’t even know it’s there, but your labels will feel more … protected.
I usually love the idea of creating a project that you can find multiple uses for, I’m sure you already know that by now. There are so many ways you can get creative when using these beauties! For example, I thought the DIY Faux Rusted French Labels would look good with these old zinc pots I found online.
But I was wrong… they didn’t looked good.
The looked simply AMAZING!
The old zinc somehow enhanced the colors and texture of the labels, making them pop!
I loved how beautiful they looked when paired with these naturally dried roses that I had around, creating a quick and perfectly vintage scenery for fall. I was ecstatic!
But I was amazed how lovely they looked with a little bit of color too!
You can use the DIY Faux Rusted French Labels to beautifully decorate apothecary jars (or bottles), but you can also use regular jars (or bottles) in different sizes and shapes. Just look around your home or in thrift stores or antique markets, I’m sure you’ll find plenty other interesting recipients or containers that would be perfect for these labels. If you are planning on using the labels on gifts (you can glue them to wrapping paper or punch them and use as tags) I would suggest keeping them in closed paper bags until ready to use, so you would preserve some of that amazing cinnamon fragrance…that will eventually fade over time.
NOTE: And just to give you an idea .. you can use the same process, following all the steps to create a faux rusted effect on any other type of paper, not just on these labels. You can also integrate the labels into vignettes using ceramic plates, dried leaves, small branches or other neutral items. Style a chic decor, perfect for fall … or for any other season!
And, la piece de resistance that sort of inspired me to create a few smaller labels for smaller decorative pieces.
I hope you like my project and decide to give the Faux Rust Paper Technique a try! Would love to know where you are planning on using these beauties … you are already contemplating all the amazing possibilities, right? You might also like this Rust Pastes Recipe HERE.
Have fun creating!
Diana / Dreams Factory
I thought I liked making my grunge packaging tags! THIS is going to be amazing! Look how clever you are Ü Can’t wait to get started. Thank you so very much for sharing this awesome technique ♥
Have fun Tracy, so glad you like it!!
Gina Falcone says
These are great!! How is you get them to stick the bottle?
Thanks Gina, Mod Podge, it is awesome!
I apologize, Diana!! I called you Rose by mistake!! Enjoy a wonderful Labor Day!!
No worries 🙂 Have a wonderful Labor Day!
So beautiful!! Thanks so much, Rose!!
Thanks so much Carole 🙂
Thanks looks real good love it
Thank you Rose 🙂
Linda Johnson says
Love it!! But then, I LOVE EVERYTHING you and Graphics Fairy offer!!! I’m already making the labels….too anxious to try it to wait til I went to a laser printer…..FYI: I got lucky, maybe, I only have an ink jet printer…but I used an Ivory cardstock (already looks vintage) and so far so good….my ink isn’t disappearing…..can’t promise this for any one else….but…..I’m planning to take a copy to the FedExKinko and get it copied on laser too…..it’s going to look sooooo classic!! Very excited!! Thank you!!!
Wow, love your enthusiasm Linda!! Thanks so much and good luck!
Oh my gosh!!! I
Luv It !!! what a great idea. I would never have thought to do that. Thank you for sharing. Yay
You made my day ☺
We are so glad to have made your day Sharon, have fun!
What did you use to attach label to coffee cup and still be useable
and washable? Must do this for Thanksgiving settings.
You can use Mod Podge to attach it but you need to be careful washing, don’t put it in the dishwasher, wash them by hand to be on the safe side 🙂 Good luck!
Ms Joey says
Thank you Diana, I can’t wait to try this tutorial. I love the faux rust and on the white rocks..have a great day and thanks Karen for having Diana on here..love it.
Thank you Ms Joey, we are so lucky to have her and her amazing projects that she shares with us!
Gloria Fisher says
They look wonderful cant wait to try Thanks
Thank you Gloria, have fun creating!
Teresa Rasbury says
I love this, I’ve been using black tea. I will defiantly use the cinnamon with sugar. It’s good on toast too! Love everything you gal’s do!
Ha ha, thanks Teresa, please let us know how you like it 🙂
I loved your article! I am hoping in the later cold months of Michigan I make time to do a few of the projects from your sight. Thank you and keep up the good work.
Thanks so much Shirley 🙂
This is terrific. Will try it soon with some fall arrangements. Thanks
Thanks Maureen, I’m sure they will be lovely!
Sherlene Mats says
This is certainly easier and smells much better than the real rusting that I do! It’s just lovely!
Thanks so much Sherlene 🙂
Just gorgeous! I do a lot of coffee staining but this takes it to another level, I can’t wait to try this out thanks for sharing x
Thanks so much Debs, have fun!!