This is about rust and my semi-failed attempt at making a rusty surface for texture.
I wanted to display my abstract images of old autos in our local Art Walk. My idea was to keep the spirit of the work by having my images printed on large, 24x30, sheet metal (22 ga. cold rolled steel). I wanted to treat the metal and make it rusty so the texture of the rust would be felt on the piece. I found a neat instructable on instructables.com (http://www.instructables.com/id/Produce-a-Rich-Rust-Patina-on-Iron-and-Steel-Safe/) on how to rust metal and found it worked really well to make rust! I did a few tests on smaller pieces. Those came out nice but the rust was flaky.
It wasn't a complete failure, but not a complete success. The rust you can make is artful just by itself in my opinion.
The goal: create a textured metal sheet to print on.
The result/problem: no matter the amount of "pickling" or etching of the metal I couldn't get the 'rust' to stick. The only difference between the test piece and the larger sheets was I sanded the large sheets with 60 grit paper and I didn't "pickle" the test sheets because I missed that step. I went ahead and clear coated the test pieces knowing they didn't have a good adhesion. However, the printing turned out marvelous so I forged on with trying to get the large pieces to have the same effect.
The image below is what the creating of rust on the metal looked like during the process. After many hours and failed attempts, I ended up cleaning off the metal back to it's original state and then used a spray on texture. I then had my images printed on this textured surface.
This project was very challenging. The fun was in watching the rust develop on the metal. It created some awesome images. The pieces still turned out nice but I didn't feel they had the 'spirit' of the aging metal I had hoped to achieve. The final outcome with the hanging mechanism I made is shown above. The steel photographs are now for sale.