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I ordered a plastic cauldron online, but it just began to occur to me, that the effect won't seem as nice because of the shiny plastic look. Before I do anything else with it, I'm wondering if there is a way to make it look old and creepy first. I have seen the oatmeal posts, and honestly that looks like a waste of effort. Any other ideas or suggestion on how to make shiny plastic look more authentic?
 

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Rusted Cauldrons

A few years ago I made several rusted cauldrons on skull bases. I used the same black plastic cauldrons that you used (various sizes). I never cared for the "oatmeal" version so I took a different approach. My cauldrons actually have a real rust finish which changes with time and exposure to the elements. The only draw-back was that the entire process took a while.
 

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Imitation Imagineer
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As with any prop, there are a number of different ways to attack it, but in this instance I found that oatmeal, grits, and / or cat litter were simple (and inexpensive) materials that added some dimension and depth to the commonly available slick surface plastic cauldrons.

Of course, layers of color are necessary to add to the deception, but for what it's worth, I feel like the method is worth some experimentation.....below are a few images from our cauldron conversions in 2017 using the 'oatmeal' method:


20170925_140830.jpg

Cauldron 3.jpg
 

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Clay cat litter eventually gets soggy and oatmeal eventually molds. Even with layers of latex added over it. I won't be doing that again...
I am looking for better options too.


My cauldrons actually have a real rust finish which changes with time and exposure to the elements.
@The Skeleton Crew can you tell me more about your rust?
 

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A few years ago I made several rusted cauldrons on skull bases. I used the same black plastic cauldrons that you used (various sizes). I never cared for the "oatmeal" version so I took a different approach. My cauldrons actually have a real rust finish which changes with time and exposure to the elements. The only draw-back was that the entire process took a while.
These look really awesome! How did you achieve it?
 

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Clay cat litter eventually gets soggy and oatmeal eventually molds. Even with layers of latex added over it. I won't be doing that again...
I am looking for better options too.




@The Skeleton Crew can you tell me more about your rust?
I live in hot, arid Phoenix Arizona. I suspect it would dry out and just flake off, even after being painted. That is if all the small rodents in the desert around us don't figure out first that it's oats. :D
 

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My suggestion is to first spray it with some of the “stone look” paint, allow to dry and then spray over it with black and bronze “hammered look” paint. This will give a very realistic cast iron look to it. If you want to age it more you can always use a sponge to blot a mixture of brown (rust) and dark green (mold).
 

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cauldron.jpg

There are a number of ways to make a shiny plastic cauldron look less so. It really depends on where you’re going to place it as to which is the better choice. I am in agreement with you that the oatmeal approach is not worth using if you choose to put it outside. While some folks swear by it, in our neck of the woods, it will draw moisture anywhere it isn’t sealed properly, and rodents can smell it as a food source even through a couple of coats of paint.

Most of the approaches to rusting out a cauldron that I have seen used didn't work for us because our cauldron is seen from about fifteen feet away. From that distance most finely nuanced texturing like oatmeal, kitty litter, sawdust, or textured paint virtually disappears. We used Great Stuff, put on latex gloves, sprayed on small amounts at a time and smeared it all over our plastic cauldron. We let it dry and then used various colors of spray paint to rust it up a bit.

The larger bubbly effect of the Great Stuff gives it a much more visual impression from a distance. It’s in its second year and it’s holding up pretty well. If I bump it and knock off a piece, it’s just a bit of touch up paint and back to work. Just remember that it has to be smeared on rather thin for the most part as it will swell up as it cures. DO NOT FORGET TO USE GLOVES… really… this stuff will not come off skin or clothes. But the end result is one we were very happy with.
 

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I've done several, usually starting with a very light scuff sanding, followed by a coat of krylon plastic primer. Add a coat of flat black on top of that. I've used oatmeal, corn meal, and sand to achieve varying types of surface "crud." Several light coats of spray paint on top of of that seals it up tight, and I've never had mold problems. One is nearly a decade old and has no signs of decay. After the initial surface prep (sand and primer), you might try Outdoor Modge Podge, sponged on in random blotches, followed by a handful of coarse sand poured over it. After 24 hours of drying time you could go back and paint it in whatever finish you wanted. 20180923_113608.jpg
 

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Oak Lane Cemetery
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I painted mine flat black, dusted some brown spray paint for a little rust look, then used wood stain, paint and some clear gorilla glue to make it look as though the goo dripping out was leaving an oily residue. My original intent was the crusty, rusty look, but I decided to go a different route after making the glowing goo.

IMG_20180718_150658.jpg
 

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I am going to try the glove-sprayfoam application method for the thick flaky rust layers. I wanna see how that differs once I 'knock down' sand the stuff. See if I can really replicate heavy rusted cast iron. I have plenty of dead car parts to use as reference!

I can also recommend, paint your rusty colors by brush, and add sand to the paint.

And don't forget the value of a black wash. Water down your black paint and put it in a squirt bottle. It really helps make your details pop.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
A few years ago I made several rusted cauldrons on skull bases. I used the same black plastic cauldrons that you used (various sizes). I never cared for the "oatmeal" version so I took a different approach. My cauldrons actually have a real rust finish which changes with time and exposure to the elements. The only draw-back was that the entire process took a while.
Thanks for pointing me in the right direction. I think it came out pretty well for my first time. This paint has really got me thinking about aging other things. :)

IMG_3934-X3.jpg
 

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I am going to try the glove-sprayfoam application method for the thick flaky rust layers. I wanna see how that differs once I 'knock down' sand the stuff.
I used the spray foam to create larger handles on our cauldron. After it had set, I carved it down. Those areas where the foam is carved have a lot of texture to them due to the air bubbles. We didn't do any of the suggested black paint washes yet, but we will this year when we bring the cauldron out of hiding in the summer for touch ups. As you can see, even with only a bit of contrasting spray paint, it looks pretty much like rust.

rustyhandle03.jpg
 
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