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DecoArt Mixed Media Blog

Faux Rusty Metallic Wooden Train Frame

by: Candy Colwell
March 26, 2015

Faux Rusty Metallic Wooden Train Frame

A pictorial tutorial transforming an inexpensive wooden frame into a dimensional faux metallic finish using DecoArt’s Mediums and Fluid Acrylics.

Items needed :

  • Americana Decou-Page (Glue-Sealer-Finish) 2oz - Americana Decou-Page Matte
  • DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics - Carbon Black
  • DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics - Quinacridone Gold
  • DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics - Titanium White
  • DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics - Cobalt Teal Hue
  • DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics - Blue Green Light
  • DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics - Metallic Gold
  • Americana Decor Varnishes 4oz - Ultra Matte
  • Inexpensive wooden frame
  • 1" brush for decoupage
  • Stiff bristle brush for dry brushing
  • White tissue paper
  • Heavy cardstock
  • CropADile or hole punch
  • "N" scale sized train tracks
  • Various chipboard cogs and gears
  • Tim Holtz hitch fastener
  • Metal lantern (optional)

Instructions :

Layout a design on the bare wooden frame using the tracks, cog and gears, nuts and bolts. Be sure that you lay out your pieces so that the frame could be used vertically or horizontally.

I took a picture of the layout so I could remember it before removing the pieces. Working in sections, apply Matte Decoupage to the wooden frame and then begin adding pieces of slightly wrinkled white tissue paper. Brush over the tissue paper as well to seal it well. Continue doing this until the entire frame is covered. You may gently heat set the tissue as you are working or allow it to air dry.

Cut ½” and/or ¼” strips of heavy cardstock. Punch holes down the length of the strip using a CropAdile or a paper punch to create a “metal strapping” look. 

Randomly place the “metal strapping” onto the wooden frame by brushing Matte Decoupage where you want to add the strip. Lay the strip in place burnish over it with your finger then brush more Matte Decoupage over the strip to seal it. Also place some strips going around the edges of the frame for more depth and interest. Gently heat set or air dry. 

Brush Matte Decoupage onto the bottom of the long piece of train track to go on the left side of the frame. Then brush Matte Decoupage onto the left side of the frame. Lay the train track in place on the frame and press it into place, allowing the Decoupage on both pieces to bond. Repeat this step until all train track pieces are in place. I recommend placing a heavy book over the frame at this time to allow the train tracks to really adhere to the wooden frame surface. Let the Decoupage dry thoroughly.(It is important to brush Matte Decoupage onto the bottom of one piece and the top of the other piece to be joined to create a more secure bond.)

As done in the previous step with the train track pieces, brush Matte Decoupage onto the bottom of a chipboard cog/gear. Brush Matte Decoupage onto the surface of the frame where the gear is to be placed. Press the gear into place and hold for a few seconds, allowing the Decoupage on both pieces to join. Repeat this process for all of the chipboard cogs and gears.

Following the same technique as in the previous three steps, brush Matte Decoupage onto the bottom of a metal bolt or ring. Brush Decoupage onto the surface of the frame where the metal piece is to be placed. Press the metal piece in place and hold for a few seconds, allowing the Decoupage on both pieces to join. Let dry either through gently heat setting or air drying.

Brush over the entire frame with Matte Decoupage to seal it and allow the surface to accept the paints that are to follow in a uniform manner. 

Brush Carbon Black Fluid Acrylic over the entire frame, making sure to get into all of the little nooks and crannies. Gently heat set or let air dry. There will probably be areas that need to be touched up after the frame dries. 

Mix Titanium White and Carbon Black Fluid Acrylics to create a light grey. DRY BRUSH over the entire frame using a fairly stiff short brush and small strokes.

Using small, short strokes, DRY BRUSH over the metal strapping, gears and train track rails using Quinacridone Gold to create a rusted effect.

Add a patina look to the rusted “metal” areas of the frame by mixing a small amount of Cobalt Teal Hue, Blue Green Light and Titanium White Fluid Acrylics and DRY BRUSHING randomly over the “metal” areas of the frame, particularly the “metal strapping”.

Add some subtle highlights to the “metal” areas of the frame by lightly DRY BRUSHING Metallic Gold Fluid Acrylic randomly over the track rails, the gears and the edges of the frame. This creates a nice contrast of the subtle metallic gold to the matte finish of the frame.

Finally, brush a coat of Ultra Matte Varnish to protect the frame.

Be sure to visit Candy Creates for more projects and to learn more about Candy Colwell.


This is amazing Candy! I just put a half dozen more paint colours on my wish list!! Fabulous frame and the antiquing effect is so realistic! :)


March 26, 2015

what a wonderful tutorial x

trace metcalfe

March 26, 2015

Amazing piece of art and a great step by step tutorial .


March 26, 2015

Wow, this is awesome Candy! What a wonderful tutorial!

Lori H.

March 26, 2015

wonderful stuff Candy.

Louise Zuzu

March 26, 2015

Candy, this creation is just fabulous! I love the layout you created and the layered colours look amazing. Your Grandson will adore this I am sure.

Anne R

March 26, 2015

Wow Candy this is a fab make. I love how you punched out the holes it is so effective. The rusting looks amazing too. X

March 26, 2015

What a fabulous piece of art, and the tutorial is so easy to understand and follow, I have four grandsons, so will enjoy making something like this for them. Thanks for sharing this fabulous ART!!

Jasmine Patrick

March 27, 2015

This really looks like rust how the paints works together!!! tfs

gloria westerman

March 27, 2015

Absolutely brilliant!! Wonderful tutorial, very helpful, definitely going to try it. Love the end result. Thank you.


March 27, 2015

My grandfather in-law would have loved this very much! He was such a train guy. Your tutorial was simply fabulous!! Thanks so much :)


March 27, 2015

So clever Candy!! What a fun piece for a train frame. What male or female wouldn't love this frame for to remember a trip on the train.

Judy Biggerstaff

March 27, 2015

I can't express how happy this piece makes me!! Absolutely brilliant! I am working on an altered book box but with similar theme. If it turns out half as fab as yours, I will be chuffed!! Tfs & inspiration!


March 27, 2015

AMAZING, Candy! I can see your grandson having this Awesome frame with him for the rest of his life! It's beautiful and your tutorial wonderful! I just received my first order of DecoArt goodies and can't wait to start playing :) Thank you for your inspiration!! You know I luv ya'!! :) XOXO-Shari

Shari T

March 28, 2015

This is amazing thank you for sharing your frame and how you created it. Dee x

Dee A

April 15, 2015

Really amazing Candy! Love it! Thanks so much for the step by step! ~kim


June 23, 2015



December 17, 2015

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