I really wish I could take credit for coming up with this but I didn't. I was poking around on Etsy a couple weeks ago when I found this gorgeous handmade halloween sign and LOVED how the green paint had been rubbed away to reveal the black underneath. The seller didn't answer my convo when I asked her how it was done (no surprise) so I googled it myself. After a lot of digging, I found VERY vague directions about how to do the technique and I had to figure out a lot as I went. Since then I've completed 5 projects using the trick and had lots of questions about it so I'm posting instructions here!
First, some example pictures to illustrate what I'm talking about:
My shelf sitters were painted green first, then black and then rubbed to reveal the green.
LOVE the irregular, chippy look!
A close-up shot so you can see what gorgeously grungy results you get!
BTW, the shelf sitters are halloween decor and read "Spells & Potions (Hexes Cost Extra)" LOL!
I also used this trick on my witch letters.
(The star has a purple undercoat & orange top coat rubbed away at the edges with opalescent glitter spray from Wal-Mart over the entire piece.)
Tay's Method For Eerie Hand-Rubbed Paint Finishes:
1. Paint your wood with one or two coats of the base color. This is the color that will show through. Let the wood dry completely. (30 minutes if using craft paints on unfinished wood.)
2. Take a candle or votive with white or clearish white colored wax and, using firm pressure, rub it heavily and repeatedly along the edge of your painted wood and in towards the center by at least 1/2 inch. You should have small flakes of wax crumbling off the edges and visible smears all over the wood. Do this over your kitchen sink - the wax shavings will ruin your project if left to sit.
Note: To get the effect pictured on Etsy, select a rough cut piece of wood and do not sand it. Paint and wax the entire surface, applying an extra-heavy coat of wax to bumps and raised surfaces.
3. Using your hand, gently brush and smooth away extra wax flakes. (Again, do this over the sink. It's kind of messy.)
4. Paint your wood in the overcoat color, using 2-3 or more thin-to-normal coats. Most projects will require 3-5 coats. Let dry in between coats.
5. Once your project is completely dry (2 hours), use an old cotton wash cloth and gently begin rubbing along the edges and areas where you applied candle wax. The wax will not allow paint to adhere to it and both the wax and top coats of paint will rub away, leaving a grungy edge that has the appearance of old, chipping paint.
6. Apply vinyl lettering or surface decoration.
7. Use a clear coat spray sealer on the wood when you have the desired effect and after applying vinyl lettering. I use a Clear Satin spray urethane that I bought at Lowe's. This protects the project from having any more paint rubbed away.
That's it! Enjoy your cool new painting trick!