My Mantle and How to Paint Faux Rusted Metal Letters

Beyond the Screen Door Mantle (2)

Once upon a time I decorated my house for the seasons. Easter, Spring, July 4th, etc…I still have some of the cutest seasonal decor stashed away in the attic. I vaguely remember what it looks like.

These days I’m doing good to switch the wreath out on my front door. Needless to say, except for Christmas, (and the occasional wild hair) my mantle pretty much stays the same the rest of the year.  It’s kind of sad but true.   

Not long ago my son decided to make a contribution to the family room mantle. A $5 thrift store find. It didn’t stay long.

My Son's Contribution to the Mantle

Along about March of last year I bought this cardboard “H”. I had high expectations of painting it right away for the mantle.

Ready to Paint Cardboard H

Along about March of this year I got around to it.

I toyed around with several different paint treatment ideas and decided I wanted to try my hand at a faux metal look. I looked up several techniques but since I was ready to paint it NOW I had to wing it with what I had on hand.

Cardboard H (2)

I started the process by painting a base coat of dark brown. I then dry brushed black over the brown making sure all my strokes were vertical. I think I mixed the black and brown together for a few strokes as well.

painting cardboard H (2)

Next, I used a can of Krylon gray primer and lightly dusted the H.

Painting Cardboard H I wasn’t really happy with the way it was turning out.

It didn’t look at all like the “H” I had in my head.

Cardboard H

At this point I must have forgot I was a blogger because I have no more how-to pics. After the primer had dried, I lightly sanded it, brought the brown back out and started experimenting over the gray. I heavily painted the brown along the edges and then dry brushed it over the gray.

Beyond the Screen Door Mantle

I thought I had achieved a pretty good “faux rusted metal” until my daughter asked me if I was trying to make it look like wood. Oh, well.

(Notice the outlet on the mantle? So handy when I do decorate at Christmas!)

Beyond the Screen Door Mantle (2)I like it. And until I have time in 2014 to paint it again…it’s staying.

If you like the look of the vintage inspired mantle clock there is one left SOLD (and on sale too!) in The Shop. You can purchase a kit to make your own Shaggy Fabric Wreath as well.


Do you decorate for all the seasons? Do you ever find yourself slapping a red, white and blue bow on your Easter bunnies because they’re still hopping around in July? Me neither.


SHARING WITH: Beyond the Picket Fence Until $100 Party, Cedar Hill Ranch The Scoop, A Stroll Thru Life Inspire Me Tuesday, Coastal Charm Nifty Thrifty Tuesday, The Dedicated House Make It Pretty Monday, Stone Gable Tutorials, Tips and Tidbits

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11 Responses to My Mantle and How to Paint Faux Rusted Metal Letters

  1. Stacey says:

    Whatever look you were shooting for, it looks neat! What is the artwork behind it? It kind of looks like beadboard. I’ve always liked how you layer your mantel. And that chair to the left just stops me in my tracks! I love the mixed fabrics.

  2. I think it turned out pretty good, Sonya! I even liked it in the beginning before the grey. You sound like me about generally leaving your decor as it is, except for maybe Christmas. I sometimes wish I would just change it out more often, but I think if it works and you like it the way you’ve got it it’s best to leave well enough alone. : )

  3. Vanessa says:

    I love it Sonya! I only minimally decorate my mantel for the seasons too so this makes me feel better knowing I’m not alone. LOL!

  4. Traci says:

    I love how it turned out! I have some painting projects that I’m going to have to make myself do soon.

  5. Michelle says:

    I am a lot like you, I only really decorate my mantle for Christmas, I am known to do throw some Halloween up there from time to time. I would love to have the time to change it for each season. For now only my front hall gets seasonal decorations. I love what you did with the H


  6. Judy Clark says:

    Your H turned out really great. You did an awesome job and your mantel looks wonderful.


  7. Cynthia says:

    Sonya, I love it and think it turned out great!! Love the clock too and would buy one but I am on a spending hold since we are packing to move. To bring something new in right now makes no sense.


  8. Out of the mouth of babes!…I love the letter and the entire mantel vignette…..turned out terrific!..
    Great job Sonya!

  9. Laura Turner says:

    This post brought a smile to my face, Sonya! Like you, I used to decorate for all the seasons, and now after going back to work, I just don’t get into it in the same way. I just hate all the cleaning up and packing away afterward! I would be one to put a 4th of July ribbon on an Easter bunny! My Christmas tree is still up, I have Easter bunnies out, and I’m working on Halloween submissions for a magazine–kinda looks like a giftor Hallmark shop around here! lol! Thanks for visiting my blog.

  10. Suzi says:

    I just had a conversation with myself telling me not to compare myself unfavorably with the old me who did so much. Realistically, that other woman never actually existed but is manufactured in my mind. Back then I was busy day dreaming about becoming the me I am today! ;-) In fact, I remember the tall ceramic rabbits that greeted us in the foyer wearing Halloween masks more than just one year when I was raising a family!! I do like to swap things out for the four seasons (& I consider Christmas a season:) adding small touches of holiday decor now and then but my mantle, not so much. Mantles are challenging for me so once I am happy with it I like to enjoy it. Your metal H could have fooled me. I think I must do one too!

  11. Love your mantel vignette. Great tutorial on the letter too. Thanks tons for joining Inspire Me. Hugs, Marty