Paper Mache Letters – Cool faux rust letters!

Before we continue on the fabulous tutorial on faux rust paper mache letters, I have to introduce you to the creator of this unique idea, Leanne Lee from

Leanne Lee believes that we only have to look as far as our own spaces and belongings to discover ways to unlock the potential in our homes and make them extraordinary. She’s been helping her clients create beautiful living spaces that reflect their own unique styles for over 14 years, and her expertise has been recognized nationwide.

A professionally-certified decorative painting artist, Leanne has been commissioned to complete projects for residential and commercial clients. She had numerous certifications from the leading faux finishing schools in the country, including Surfaces, School of Decorative Arts, Patina Studios, The Faux Finish School, a Martin Alan Hirsch Studio, and Kelly S. King Academy of Faux Painting and Decorative Finishing.

She has also established herself as an instructor to aspiring artists through her in-person seminars and class series, as well as through her instructional DVD, “The Art of Faux Finishing.”

Leanne lives in Kansas City, but her ideas can be used by people in all areas of the U.S. She’s been educating audiences across the country at home shows and industry events for several years and just agreed to a weekly segment on Kansas City LIVE, the local morning TV program. Every Wednesday, Leanne becomes the “Diva of DIY” in residence, sharing creative home projects, from holiday décor to personalized gifts to decorative painting techniques.

Leanne was also featured on an episode of Restaurant Impossible that aired in December 2013, where she got to participate in the rebuilding of a firehouse in Ship Bottom, NJ that had been destroyed in a hurricane. Leanne refinished the cabinetry in the station, as well as breathing new life into old furniture.

Leanne was recently voted in the top 10 for Startup Nation’s fifth annual Leading Moms in Business contest. It was a rare opportunity
to be recognized among other awesome moms who are doing what she is: running a profitable, self-owned business while balancing the demands and joys of being a mother–something so many women can relate to.

She graduated from the University of Kansas with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Marketing. She’s a proud wife and mom of three busy boys.

Today, Leanne is going to show us how to make the faux metal letters that were featured on her recent episode of Restaurant: Impossible.

Paper Mache Letters

Today, I am going to show you how to make these amazing “faux metal” letters that were featured on the hit show Restaurant: Impossible.

For this project, you will need:

  • Paper Mache letters (I get mine when they are on sale at Hobby Lobby)
  • Flat Black Spray Paint
  • Modern Masters Iron Paint (
  • Modern Masters Rust Activator(
  • Modern Masters Permacoat sealer in satin (
  • Upholstery Tacks (I picked these up at Hobby Lobby)
  • Assorted cheap paint brushes
  • Spray bottle (you will want a chemical strength spray bottle because the nozzle will rust)

I started by laying my paper mache letters out on a canvas drop cloth.

Spray paint all of the letters in matte black.  This will seal the paper letters.  Let the letters dry completely.

The next step is to apply two coats of Modern Masters Iron Paint.  Let the letters dry between coats.

Once the iron paint is fully dry, spray the rust activator generously.  Wait five minutes, then spray again. I usually take a cheap brush and pounce over the letters to get the activator to penetrate. I did these letters in the sun so it started activating immediately. If you do it inside or in a colder environment, it will take longer.

Here is what they will look like with two coats of perma-coat satin sealer and the upholstery tacks. The upholstery tacks are super easy to add; literally push them in at the corners.

And here is a picture from the set of Restaurant: Impossible.

I promise you these letters look like they weigh 50 pounds a piece, but are light enough to hang on the wall with a photo hanger.

These paper mache letters were such an easy project that created an impressive statement!

Thank you for sharing Leanne!

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