Friday Quick Tip: Salt & Hairspray Weathering

Back to weathering we go with today's tip! And this one is probably one of my new favorites. It just involves a little bit of planning and the right project.

The method I've used is a VERY simplified version of the technique. With my lack of an airbrush, and using only what I had on hand, this is merely an introduction. I hope to get a much more elaborate tutorial up in the future, but for now, revel in the simplicity of this amazing technique and I hope to see you apply it on your future projects!

What You Will Need:
Salt, Undercoat Color, Basecoat Color, Hairspray, Toothbrush

For the purposes of this tutorial I've used spraypaints that I had on hand around the house. You'll want an undercoat color that will be able to easily represent rust. I've used a dark brown I've had for about 6 years and somehow it hasn't dried up on me! For my basecoat color I've used a Dark Grey, again something I've had for many years. You'll want your basecoat color to be the base color of your army/tanks. I have also commendered my wifes Hairspray! The salt is just normal table salt from the pantry. Snag an old gnarly toothbrush as well, you know you have one hidden away somewhere!

To get you started, spray the entirety of the model in your Rust Brown. Let it dry thoroughly before moving on. I harp on this a lot because people tend to get impatient with sprays before they are ready for handling. I even had trouble keeping to my own rules during this process! The paint should not be tacky to the touch, if it is, leave it be a little longer and consult your spray can for drying times. As usual, all spray painting should be done in a well ventilated area!

Once your undercoat has dried, it's time to use your hairspray. Coat the model in a layer of hairspray and have your salt on hand to move quickly to the next step.

Scatter your salt by hand over the model, paying closer attention to getting the salt over the areas that would normally catch more wear and tear (corners, hatches, etc.). You want to do this quickly so that the hairspray catches hold of the salt and dries it in place. Once again, let this dry before moving on.

Spray the model in your basecoat color and let it dry. Once it's dry, it's time to break out the toothbrush and start brushing off the salt. Start off lightly and gradually work up the amount of pressure. Once all off the salt has been brushed away, you can pay a little more attention to rubbing away some of the basecoat color along the edges or particular damage spots you want more wear on than others.

In the end you should have results similar to the above in no time flat! A little bit of detail work from here (highlights and such) and you're finished! While this tutorial uses spray paints, with use of an airbrush the results look even more fantastic. The thinner layer of base color will look far better in the end. But a little nozzle control can go a long way with spray paints, so give it a go and really expand your bag of weathering tricks!

So, does anyone have a current project in need of some good weathering? We would love to see them! Post your latest weathering attempts and let us all in on your latest tip!


  1. Great tutorial. I'll have to file this away so I can use it later. Thanks.

  2. Very easy to follow, and something I've been meaning to do for a while. Thanks for posting!

  3. This is excellent.
    Loos and sounds easy and the result is very convincing - if not to say stunning.

  4. Yeah, good tip and tutorial is well done as well. But maybe you want to add that the hairspray will make the paint on it not very durable. Therefore it is very importantto add a seal afterwards. I recommed using "klear" or "edal glännzer" as it is called in Asutria/Germany.
    And I have three Rhinos waiting for some paint which will deifnitely get this treatment.

  5. Simple, clear and awesome tip on rusting out vehicles! Thanks for the tutorial.

  6. Excellent tutorial and method! Simple tools and ingredients for a very good result. I will try it on my new vindicator!