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Author Topic: How to make faux bronze?  (Read 1446 times)
cossoft
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« on: January 21, 2016, 05:25:19 am »

I have  a project in which I intend to have  bronze components.  It's meant to look like foundry cast metal.  I've looked through the patina sticky in this forum, and browsed some of the other threads.  My component is made of polystyrene, paper mache and MDF and is unsuitable to heat treatment or significant immersion in stuff.

Does anyone have any recommendations for a paint method.  One of the problems is that there is no such colour as bronze.  It can be brown, green, yellow, gold and perhaps grey Huh  I'm not really sure what colour it should be other than you should look at it and think "that's a big bronze thing there".  As unfinished cast metal, it should be and is fairly rough.  What I've thought of is acrylic painting it burnt umber, and then dry brushing it with metallic copper acrylic.  And perhaps some metallic gold for the edges that would be worn smooth.  Or,  paint the whole thing metallic copper, and then wash it with the burnt umber.

I have no trouble with the "mechanical stuff" to quote Wild Wild West, but really struggle with the aesthetics.  Comes from being an engineer with no art chromosomes I guess.  Any thoughts please?

P.S.  I would go with faux brass, but I think that cast brass has the same "what is cast brass colour" problem they're similar alloys. 
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Hektor Plasm
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« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2016, 06:44:46 pm »

Perhaps a metallic, buffable paint or wax? I've seen these in 'antique bronze'.

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« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2016, 07:15:22 pm »

what shade of bronze we talking? closer to gold or more a darker brown? THere is as spray paint I love called Antique Bronze but its very dark and sort of brown in tint
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cossoft
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« Reply #3 on: January 22, 2016, 03:57:35 am »

Perhaps a metallic, buffable paint or wax? I've seen these in 'antique bronze'.

Ooh, do tell.  Any links, images or examples?  I like the idea of buffing as that seems like the same process that's natural wear.  I've never heard of buffable paint.  Do you mean varnish?
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cossoft
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« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2016, 04:06:34 am »

what shade of bronze we talking? closer to gold or more a darker brown? THere is as spray paint I love called Antique Bronze but its very dark and sort of brown in tint


Yes   Wink

I 'm not being facetious, it's just that I'm not sure.  I found this image...



 and it looked like what  I'd like ideally, but this seems somewhat beyond my lamentably pathetic resources.
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Hektor Plasm
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« Reply #5 on: January 22, 2016, 06:28:08 pm »

Perhaps a metallic, buffable paint or wax? I've seen these in 'antique bronze'.

Ooh, do tell.  Any links, images or examples?  I like the idea of buffing as that seems like the same process that's natural wear.  I've never heard of buffable paint.  Do you mean varnish?

The wax is rub-n-buff or equivalent that most people may be aware of- other brands are available.
By 'buffable paint' I mean the metallic type that has glittery flakes in it. This is often dull when applied, but can be made shiny by burnishing with a metal tool- perhaps the back of a spoon?

HP   
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« Reply #6 on: January 23, 2016, 04:03:53 am »

I once read about ab technique called cold cast metal, which basically is just a high density metal powder in an epoxy matrix. Then you can bring shine to it by buffing.

The thing is,  that  it's more complicated than it sounds.  The light reflectivity and absorptivity of any any metal (according to my radiative heat transfer courses in college, is different depending on whether the surface of the metal is smooth or coarse.  For example, silver is a whitish metal when polished,  but with sand-blasted finely with garnet powder will turn into a light beige surface,  so the apparent colour changes. 

My reasoning was that if I powdered enough brass and mixed it with epoxy,  then I could buff that cured composite back into a golden metal.  When I made it,  the powder changed into a dark greenish gray mix in a shiny plastic looking mass.  But when I tried to sand and polish,  the colour did not change.  Perhaps the brass powder density was too low (my reasoning).  Then again,  at very small scales,  powders will refract light, and generate colours due to electromagnetic wave properties of interference and propagation,  similar to the way insects and birds create bright colours that are not common in the animal kingdom (such a metallic hues and such).
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Herr Halt-von-Sachen
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« Reply #7 on: January 23, 2016, 07:24:17 am »

Perhaps a metallic, buffable paint or wax? I've seen these in 'antique bronze'.


Ooh, do tell.  Any links, images or examples?  I like the idea of buffing as that seems like the same process that's natural wear.  I've never heard of buffable paint.  Do you mean varnish?


Humbrol Metalcote is what you need... it even comes in Bronze... http://www.anticsonline.co.uk/688_1_1749512.html (1st example i tripped over - no affiliation )

And Humbrol kindly have made a video showing the appilcation and buffing process - http://www.humbrol.com/uk-en/27002-polished-aluminium-metalcote-150ml-acrylic-spray-paint.html
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Hektor Plasm
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« Reply #8 on: January 23, 2016, 12:32:00 pm »

Perhaps a metallic, buffable paint or wax? I've seen these in 'antique bronze'.

Ooh, do tell.  Any links, images or examples?  I like the idea of buffing as that seems like the same process that's natural wear.  I've never heard of buffable paint.  Do you mean varnish?

Humbrol Metalcote is what you need... it even comes in Bronze...


That would be the very stuff!

HP
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walking stick
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« Reply #9 on: January 23, 2016, 02:14:16 pm »

do some test patches on scrap polystyrene. Some paints disintegrate it.  I would do a base coat in something that is safe on polystyrene before trying for your metallic effect.
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Steam Titan
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« Reply #10 on: January 24, 2016, 11:34:33 pm »

This is the best picture I could find online of the paint I was talking about. I like it a great deal.



for a brighter more gold bronze you could try using a gold and giving it a wash in brown ink/watered down paint perhaps
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cossoft
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« Reply #11 on: January 24, 2016, 11:35:02 pm »


Humbrol Metalcote is what you need... it even comes in Bronze... 

You tease   Wink

Humbol have stopped doing bronze...  And Plastikote don't make that type of paint.  It sounded perfect.
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Cmdr. Storm
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« Reply #12 on: January 25, 2016, 06:33:47 am »

Have You Considered using Testors Paints? They Make Bronze in Enamel & in Spray Can too. it might be an Option and Hopefully Not "The Final Option" Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy
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Herr Halt-von-Sachen
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« Reply #13 on: January 25, 2016, 12:30:10 pm »


Humbrol Metalcote is what you need... it even comes in Bronze... 

You tease   Wink

Humbol have stopped doing bronze...  And Plastikote don't make that type of paint.  It sounded perfect.

I should've checked first - sorry 'bout that.

There's also Revell Aqua Colour Bronze Metallic Acrylic, but i don't know about the finish.

It might be worth experimenting with the Humbrol steel (which is still available) mixed with other colours to see if a buffed up finish is achievable.
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cossoft
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« Reply #14 on: January 26, 2016, 06:36:14 am »

I have it!  Well at least what I'd like to have.  I found this image and it looks really bronzy, rather than the grey (ironish) elephant earlier:




Sorry to have messed you all about, but I didn't know what I wanted till this image.  It looks really good to me.  Have you ever seen a better bit of bronze?   It's from a specialist company that I think does it by hand.  It's not a paint  Embarrassed  I've been looking at dry brushing and perhaps this is the way to proceed, over a browny full coat.  At least if I know what effect I'm truly after, I have a starting point and direction of travel (paint)...

P.S. An alternative technique I thought of was to paint the whole thing brass.  Then paint over with brownish colour and try to abrade it off, especially the edges.  That feels like what happens when something gets worn and polished along the edges.  I'm just worried that I'll go through the base coat down to the MDF /polystyrene.  Experiments are in order.

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Steam Titan
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« Reply #15 on: January 26, 2016, 07:15:57 pm »

the raised shiny areas seem similar to that one I mentioned. Something you can do is to spray it the bronze. clear coat it. Than go over it with a watered down brown. than go over it with rubbing alcohol to rub the high points to pull the brown off.
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Steam Titan
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« Reply #16 on: January 26, 2016, 07:16:29 pm »

Working some black or really really dark nearly black brown into the deep crevices would help too
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cossoft
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« Reply #17 on: January 27, 2016, 12:16:33 am »

This is the best picture I could find online of the paint I was talking about. I like it a great deal.


Arrr!  Rust-Oleum UK don't do a metallic bronze.  Why is life so much easier for Americans than for Brits?  We're nice people too.  I guess there must be other brands out there.  Your technique sounds appealing.
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Maets
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« Reply #18 on: January 27, 2016, 12:22:01 am »

What is the actual material you are working in?
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Prof. Cecily
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« Reply #19 on: January 27, 2016, 09:46:22 am »

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen.

the raised shiny areas seem similar to that one I mentioned. Something you can do is to spray it the bronze. clear coat it. Than go over it with a watered down brown. than go over it with rubbing alcohol to rub the high points to pull the brown off.

Ah, now that IS clever!

Working some black or really really dark nearly black brown into the deep crevices would help too

I favour a mix of black with orange and a bit of green, myself.

I remain yours,
Prof. Cecily
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cossoft
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« Reply #20 on: January 31, 2016, 03:48:38 am »

What is the actual material you are working in?


One bit is expanded polystyrene with a PVA paper mache outer layer, and a varnish sealing coat.



The pedestal is carved MDF with a varnish sealing coat.
 


Both components are approximately 350mm in principal dimension.  The pedestal does not look like a penis.
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Maets
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« Reply #21 on: January 31, 2016, 03:57:51 am »

Interesting looking piece. 
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SeVeNeVeS
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« Reply #22 on: January 31, 2016, 05:10:08 am »

Interesting. Looking forward to updates and progress shots.
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RJBowman
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« Reply #23 on: January 31, 2016, 07:32:44 am »

what shade of bronze we talking? closer to gold or more a darker brown? THere is as spray paint I love called Antique Bronze but its very dark and sort of brown in tint


Yes   Wink

I 'm not being facetious, it's just that I'm not sure.  I found this image...



 and it looked like what  I'd like ideally, but this seems somewhat beyond my lamentably pathetic resources.



I've seen a vase sculpted in a similar style to your elephant. Slab construction ceramic; flat cut out pieces applied to the main structure with slip. Very intricate, but the style can be replicated with planning and time and patience. You could do it with polymer clay, which is a little easier to work with and doesn't require a ceramic kiln.
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Steam Titan
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« Reply #24 on: January 31, 2016, 08:32:49 pm »

spray or acrylic paint should have no problem with those materials.
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