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Bill Gill

Posted - 03/29/2021 :  08:50:04 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Just a quick Step-By-Step rusting some plastic straws for pipes, inspired by Karl A. (UK Guy)

After seeing how good Karl's pipes looked, thought I'd try some seen here:

I had a mixed collection of platic straws, some black coffee stirrer size (about 9" diameter in HO) and some pale brown ones (12" diam in HO)

On a recent warm day I sprayed some of each type outside with either flat black from Walmart's own brand (Color Choice) or Rustoleum flat brown and let dry overnight.

Next day I applied multiple (20-25) washes of Ceramcoat craft acrylics, some thickish, some extremely thin, all very wet.

Colors used the most: dark burnt umber, burnt umber, terracotta

Other colors: Bambi brown, a couple warm whites that I didn't notice specifically what names, black.

I also tried a little gouache (Indian red) on a couple straws and on one straw some real rust mixed with a matte acrylic varnish.

What I did: I used fat toothpicks wedged into
an end of each straw as a handle. I held a straw horizontally and sloshed on a thickish wash of dark burnt umber then rotated the straw to keep the paint from pooling along the bottom.

As soon as one straw lost its wet look I stuck the toothpick into a piece of blue foam so that it still extended horizontally, then grabbed the next straw and repeated. By the time I'd done the last the first was ready for the next wash.

As expected, the first 2-3 washes of burnt umber almost disappeared when dry.

After that I mixed up what colors I used (mostly the dark burnt umber or burnt umber, some terracotta), and how thin the washes were. Some had colors applied on top of other colors while still wet. Some dried in between layers.

After awhile I applied splotches of color randomly. If a spot looked too distinct, I washed over it with water while still wet.

I then applied more washes overall to blend the colors.

On a few edges of straw ends I applied a thicker layer of terracotta to look like new rust where the pipe had been cut or the joint separated.

Toward the end I applied a few washes or splotches of Bambi brown and/or the warm whites to give the surface a look of residual dirt.

Last, a couple more washes of the umbers to blend.

It took longer to write than do.

This weathering was all paint. I may experiment more, dabbing on some thicker craft acrylics for a heavily encrusted, corroded look on some pipes that were excavated after years in the ground

Country: USA | Posts: 3292

George D

Premium Member

Posted - 03/29/2021 :  08:54:07 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Nice looking pipes, Bill. An interesting use of a variety of colors.


Fly Army

Country: USA | Posts: 16946 Go to Top of Page


Posted - 03/29/2021 :  08:56:26 AM  Show Profile  Visit Bernd's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Hard to tell if those are real (1:1) pipes.

Nice job.


New York, Vermont & Northern Rwy. - Route of the Black Diamonds

Country: USA | Posts: 4004 Go to Top of Page


Premium Member

Posted - 03/29/2021 :  09:03:35 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote

I have seen other people try a similar method, and yours look great. Thanks for sharing.
I will put this on my ever-growing "to do" list.


Country: USA | Posts: 4735 Go to Top of Page


Premium Member

Posted - 03/29/2021 :  09:03:56 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Bill, they look real good to me.
Thanks for the how-to.

Country: USA | Posts: 24522 Go to Top of Page


Premium Member

Posted - 03/29/2021 :  09:16:51 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I'll "pipe" you aboard, they look real good to me.



Country: USA | Posts: 4308 Go to Top of Page


Premium Member

Posted - 03/29/2021 :  09:28:49 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
They look great Bill.


"And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years." A. Lincoln

Country: USA | Posts: 13390 Go to Top of Page


Premium Member

Posted - 03/29/2021 :  09:45:47 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Nice job, Bill.


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Michael Hohn

Posted - 03/29/2021 :  09:48:02 AM  Show Profile  Visit Michael Hohn's Homepage  Reply with Quote

Your latest looks great. Sounds like it was not long in the pipeline.**


**if you thought this project would not elicit puns and wordplay, that would have been just a pipe dream on your part.

Country: USA | Posts: 7486 Go to Top of Page


Posted - 03/29/2021 :  11:34:20 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Bill, I guess I'll pipe in here and say, thanks to you and Karl, for sharing your techniques for making realistic looking rusty pipes.
Warning if your ever at Bill's house, don't ask for a straw with your drink.


Country: Canada | Posts: 9161 Go to Top of Page


Posted - 03/29/2021 :  1:40:42 PM  Show Profile  Visit UKGuy's Homepage  Send UKGuy a Yahoo! Message  Reply with Quote
They look great Bill, nice and aged.
Try a little dry chalk at the end for a dry dusty look, or into the wet paint for a crusty look.

I like them for roof vents too due to the thin wall.

Thanks for the acknowledgement!


Country: USA | Posts: 6454 Go to Top of Page

Bill Gill

Posted - 03/29/2021 :  1:46:32 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks for looking in everyone!
Mike, I plumb figured there'd be some such replies :)
Greg,the straws are nuthin' compared to the forks in the road :)
Karl, Thanks, I'll give that a try.
Also the link above is to page 4 of your thread but it should have been to page 5 where you describe how you rusted your straws and I can't seem to be able to correct that.

Edited by - Bill Gill on 03/29/2021 1:54:40 PM

Country: USA | Posts: 3292 Go to Top of Page

Mark B
Engine Wiper

Posted - 03/29/2021 :  2:09:57 PM  Show Profile  Visit Mark B's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Nice technique-
Mickey D's and other fast food places were great sources for straws when you could still eat inside. Grab a few extra each visit and you had enough for the next project. The drive through gal refused to give out the extra straws I requested until I said it was Covid related.
Mark B.

Country: USA | Posts: 287 Go to Top of Page


Posted - 03/29/2021 :  2:32:49 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Nice pipes, Bill, but....How well do they sing?

Mega Dittos

Karl Scribner
Manistique, Michigan

Country: USA | Posts: 12093 Go to Top of Page

Bill Gill

Posted - 03/29/2021 :  2:46:39 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Karl S. They only hum because they don't know the words.

Country: USA | Posts: 3292 Go to Top of Page


Premium Member

Posted - 03/29/2021 :  6:38:13 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Bill, they look great, An inexpensive detail that'll really set off a model. Thanks to Karl A. for inspiring this neat tip.


Take the red pill

Country: USA | Posts: 6333 Go to Top of Page
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