So, I've thought of using glue to stick pieces of cardboard together into a sword and then putting aluminum foil on it and painting it to look like it has rusted. Turns out, for paint to stick to aluminum you need to make sure there is no aluminum oxide and treat the aluminum. Paint won't stick to bare aluminum but acrylic paint is the best type of paint to use on aluminum. Is there any inexpensive metal foil for which I could just paint it on and not have to worry about treating the metal?

I want to get this type of color on the sword blade:

enter image description here

So you can see, there are some areas where I would be using black paint and others where I would be using orange paint and I think I might want to like do a whole layer of black paint and then after drying, put the orange paint on in another layer. But I don't want to go through the expensive process of getting rid of the aluminum oxide and treating the aluminum so is there an inexpensive metal foil that paint will actually stick to without treating the metal?

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    What role is the aluminum serving if you're planning to paint over it? Couldn't you peal the aluminum off of the portions which you want to be rusty and then paint over the exposed cardboard. Also, there are a lot more than two colors in that image. You are going to want to start with at least three colors: black, white and dark orange, then mix them together in different proportions to create lots of different shades. Then apply the many colors over a solid black coat using pieces of torn sponge to get the mottled effect. – Henry Taylor May 4 at 22:34
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    Will any of the shiny foil be unpainted and visible, or do you plan to fully cover the foil? – Erica May 7 at 1:58
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    Perhaps a different material is in order. You might be able to fight a big enough piece of balsa wood at a hobby store, which can be cut fairly easily, and is a little more durable than cardboard. Then all you need to worry about is priming the wood. – Web Head May 7 at 4:54

Do you mean paint won’t stick to aluminum foil? Because any two-component epoxy based paint will stick to aluminum and aluminum foil. But I think your approach is flawed from the get go. You should look into the way cosplayers build swords. They have a skeleton-like frame (sometimes a solid wood dowel) underneath the sheathing which is very often a type of foam matt like you would find at a camping store for underneath a sleeping bag or a type like that which is used for yoga. They cut shapes and glue them together, perhaps even screwing them to the dowel, paint them, apply decals from model kits etc. The videos can be quite entertaining.

  • Well my approach would give a more metallic sheen if only I could figure out how to make metallic paint out of non-metallic paint(the only paint I have is not metallic so I basically have the color - metallic sheen). And when I looked up painting aluminum foil, nothing came up about using epoxy based paint, they all said that acrylic is the best paint to use and that paint won't stick permanently on bare aluminum foil and that if you want it to stick, you have to treat the metal and make sure there is no oxide on the aluminum. – Caters May 7 at 1:28

You can buy steel foil (US, UK examples) then paint your rust onto that. If you can get one that's not stainless (they exist) you can make it rust. Even stainless can be rust-stained in wet contact with mild steel (food cans, steel wool). Self-adhesive versions (steel foil tapes) exist too.

Otherwise I'd paint the blade using metallic paint, before applying the rust-effect paint job.

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