How to build up texture (Chipped paint on Rusted Metal)

Hi all,

For a SciFi project we are trying to approach a distressed metal look. It has to be applied on a Mobile Vending Machine, exterior build from MDF wood. Goal is to achieve a chipped paint structure on a rusted metal. Reference is the texture done on the X Wing for upcoming Star Wars 7 movie.

How should we build up the texture? How to create flakes of paint?

in the link how I thought of the process:

Hope to hear from you,
any help would be appreciated! :)

Imagineer @ ImagicalWorks (a USCN LLC)


  • Hi Teun,

    There are a lot of different ways to get that chipped painted metal look.  Here is a process that has worked well for me in the past.

    • Paint the surface with your base color and weathering treatments.  This will be the surface that is revealed where the paint is chipped off.
    • In areas where you want to see through to the base material, paint in the desired patterns/shapes with something thick like liquid latex that can easily be peeled off later.  You want this nice and thick with well defined edges.  I've even heard of people using condiments like mustard for this step, but have just stuck to latex myself.
    • You can also sprinkle coarse rock salt or cat litter on the surface for finer chips and nicks.  Usually this is done along the boarder of larger chipped areas to help blend/fade the damage.
    • Spray on your top coat paint color.  The thicker you go, the thicker the edges on your chipped edges will be.
    • When done, peel/wash off the rock salt and latex, revealing the base layer.  Some scraping may be needed.
    • A final dark wash will settle inside the inner edges of chips and help add some depth if needed.
    As with any weathering technique, having reference material handy while working is always a great idea.

    I would try this process a few times on some test material and see how it works for you and your desired effect.

    Best of luck!


  • Hi Chris,

    Thanks a lot for your input! We tried it out and we are very happy with the results so far. 

    Again, thanks.

  • Awesome, hope you can share your work here when it's ready!

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