Using Rub n Buff to Update Antique Hardware
After seeing it used all over DIY-instagram, I fell in love with Rub n Buff for myself when I used it to transform and update the antique hardware on the china cabinet that I recently refinished. Not only am I now I firm believer in this stuff, I am obsessed! It was so easy to use and is like magic in a tube. While I talked a little bit about it in a previous blog post covering the china cabinet makeover, I wanted to talk a little bit more about it today on the blog!
Rub n Buff DIY Tutorial
I’ve found that antique hardware can look super dull, especially against a newly refinished piece. Rub ‘n Buff is hands down the easiest way to update your antique hardware during your refinishing project. It’s formulated from waxes and metallic powders that give a finish that metallic spray paint can’t duplicate. Its application is unlike anything that I’ve used before – very different than a paint or wax. It takes a certain technique to get the antiqued look natural and just right. It comes in a tiny tube that doesn’t look like it would be a lot to work with, but I promise that a little bit goes a long way!
How to Use Rub n Buff
To use rub n buff, you simply just rub or apply using stiff brush (not fluffy) on the product and gently buff to get a beautiful luster until you get your desired finish. If you’re using a brush, squeeze a tiny bit of product out on a paper plate to work it into your brush. You’ll want to start very lightly, because whatever you are putting it on will grab the pigment very fast — and unlike paint or wax, rub n buff will ‘dry’ pretty much right away. It’s harder to blend it in or spread it around after the fact once it’s applied in an area. Remember, you can always add more pigment, but you can’t easily take it away! Using shorter brush strokes in almost a swirly motion will help eliminate any visible brush strokes when applying.
Tip: If you’re wanting to transform a more modern piece or cover up an existing gold brass to give it more character, you can spray the piece with black spray paint first before applying the rub n buff for an antiqued gold look. You can experiment with your final look and go for more contrast by letting the base coat show through, or a more subtle look by adding more layers of gold or even mixing multiple colors.
Tip: When working on my china cabinet hardware, I found that the rub n buff adhered better to porous surfaces over smooth metal surfaces. If you’re working with a smooth metal surface, you may want to rough it up with a piece of steel wool or a sanding block before you get started for the product to transfer better.
When to Use Rub n Buff
I think you could really use rub n buff to transform anything you set your mind to. I think it’s typically used on smaller projects, but Lacey at Ponderosa and Plaid even used it to transform the black iron railing on her staircase! It’s the perfect thing to use when you’re wanting to go for an aged look instead of a smooth ‘new’ finish. Obviously it’s ideal to use on low traffic pieces for the best durability over time. However, it is definitely permanent, so you shouldn’t have to worry about the finish coming off easily. If you’re looking for extra protection, I’d just spray it with a lacquer/sealer and call it a day.
For my china cabinet, I used the color Antique Gold. Watch the video below to see just how easy it is to apply it!
Here is a look at the china cabinet I refinished before I used rub n buff on the antique hardware. It didn’t look ‘bad’ before by any means, but the hardware definitely looked dull. I wanted to make it pop again while keeping the antique gold look (since this was in fact an antique I acquired from my grandmother!)
Here is a look at the hardware after the rub n buff was applied! How stunning is that! It absolutely took the bold look of this china cabinet makeover to the next level. I love how it made all of the hardware pop against the black paint while keeping true to the antique color and nature of the piece.
Shop Rub n Buff Below!
Well there you have it, friends! I hope this inspires you to try using rub n buff for your next DIY project! Are you a rub n buff fanatic already? Or are you planning to try it out for the first time soon? Leave me a comment with what you think about it below!