Painting a Grail Shield (Salt Painting) PIC INTENSIVE

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Gordon Gekko

Sr Member
A tutorial on how I paint Grail Shields. The thing to remember is the shield has been hiding down in the dark, dank, wet catacombs for centuries and it's condition should reflect this.

When starting this project, I was trying to determine the best way to achieve a painted surface with age old rust coming through. The technique that intrigued me the most was something called "salt painting". While I found several write ups on the technique, none were what I would call complete, and I had to figure out several things for myself.

This technique can give very good results and should have many applications for other items, hence the tutorial.

Start by priming the shield:


Next, the area with the text looked pretty much like a light rust. To simulate this I started by spraying those areas with Rust-Oleum Metallic Oil Rubbed Bronze:


Next, I dry-brushed over the Bronze with Apple Barrel, Nutmeg Brown:


There are several good dry-brushing tuts to be found on the web, but the gist is: you load a small amount of paint on your brush, brush back and forth on a piece of cardboard, until the paint in your brush is almost dry - then begin brushing the color onto your work piece. All the while moving the brush back and forth in cross strokes to apply a small amount of color, building up over time without leaving brush strokes.

IMPORTANT: apply a clear matte finish to the dry-brushed areas and allow to dry.

Next up: Mask the dry-brushed areas.


Once masked, I lay down a good glop of Apple Barrel Pumpkin Orange:


I then start using a brush and water to dilute the Orange and completely coat the area:


By now, looking at the pics, you're probably wondering "What the Heck is he doing?? NO WAY is this going to turn out good!!"


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Gordon Gekko

Sr Member
This is magic time.

While the orange is completely wet, take out that crappy can of black spray paint that you have hidden. You know the one, it just spits and sputters and is of no use to anyone. Use it to spit and sputter all over the wet orange and voila:


It's starting to look like industrial grunge. I also use a bit of silver sputtered all over as well.

The allow this to dry completely and you should have something like this:


IMPORTANT: Again, use matte clear coat over the "rust". If you don't it will come off later!!!

Next is the salt portion of "Salt Painting". I use a 50/50 mix of table salt and coarse sea salt.

Begin sprinkling the salt in random "rust" patterns over the orange. Dont worry about being even or geometric. After all we are trying to replicate rust.


Next, take a spray bottle with water, and lightly spray all the salt until it is wet. No need to soak it, just get it wet:


Let the Salt dry completely:


And then....

Gordon Gekko

Sr Member
I apply a bit of grey primer over the rust. I do this, because the orange of the rust tends to "punch" through the red. I just want to knock it down a bit. You will still see some of the rust pattern coming through the red, but this is a good thing. Layering is what it's all about:


Next up is the Red. I use Krylon Burgundy as it has a nice rich red to it. Again, not trying to paint a car here, so a bit of uneveness in the burgundy is quite acceptable:


I also speckle a bit more black over the burgundy and then mist the speckle with burgundy to achieve more layering:


To arrive at an overall finish:


Please ignore the orange paint that bled through the tape.:facepalm Since the bleed is not clear coated, it will actually come off in the next step.

Next up - Give your shield a bath. That's right, throw it in the tub and begin to loosen up the salt crust. I use a gentle brush to remove all the salt from the surface.

This should leave you with an interesting surface that looks like rust has eaten through the paint:

IMPORTANT: Again, apply a clear matte finish.

Last, but not least, I use Rub 'n Buff Spanish Copper on all the rivets to provide a nice contrast with the two different surfaces:


Hope someone finds this useful.


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New Member
Wow this will really come in handy when I am making armor or anything really that needs to look weathered and/or rusted out.
Looks excellent - I love the technique with the black spray paint.

I have found that Kosher salt works really well for salt weathering - it has large, flat crystals in varying sizes, so gives an excellent 'random' effect - especially compared to the fairly uniform-sized crystals of regular table salt


Sr Member
VERY cool. Thanks for the detailed write-up!

The orange paint you used, is that acrylic?

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Well-Known Member
Salt is often used to create interesting texture in watercolor painting, and I've often used it with acrylic airbrush illustration, again for texture (makes a wonderful alien planet surface!) But I've never considered using it for prop making!

Really interesting and impressive technique, Gordon! Love it!


Master Member
Yep! Just the standard bottle of Plaid paint found at Wal-Mart in the craft section.
Hey GG, I'm sorry to bother you this way, but I'm trying to contact you by PM / mail since a few months, but didn't got a reaction. As you might remember I have one of your great Arc Reactors, but due to some water damage, the wooden base got ruined. So I was wondering if I could order a replacement for this. Please let me know something? You can reach me by mail or PM. I really hope to get a reaction. The Arc Reactor is now laying on my desk, and I want to see it again in all it's glory.

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