How to Make Brushed Steel

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Things You'll Need

  • Dish detergent

  • Soft cloth

  • Old newspaper

  • Safety goggles

  • Breathing mask

  • Fine grit sandpaper (100 or above)

  • Scouring pads

  • Metal polish

  • Buffing cloth

Brush steel to give it added texture.

Steel is commonly used for home appliances and mixed media art projects for its smooth, pristine appearance. Some prefer to add texture to the steel by giving it a brushed look. During brushing, an abrasive material is rubbed over the surface to create many small scratches. The scratches are often not detectable by touch, so the effect is visual. Once the brushed look has been achieved, the metal is polished to a high shine to bring out the textured surface.


Step 1

Wash the steel piece thoroughly with a solution of warm water and a few drops of dish detergent. This will remove any dirt, oil or residue that may hamper the brushing process. Dry the metal completely.

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Step 2

Cover your work area with old newspaper. Don your safety goggles and breathing mask to protect yourself from the excess metal dust.

Step 3

Begin at one side of the steel and begin rubbing it with a pad of fine grit sandpaper. Apply firm pressure and use a straight side-to-side motion for an even consistent texture or a circular motion to create a swirling effect.

Step 4

Check your results after several passes with the sandpaper. If you want a finer effect, switch to a scouring pad or apply less pressure with the sandpaper. Continue brushing the steel until the desired effect has been achieved or until the entire piece is consistently textured.


Step 5

Rinse the steel with water to remove all metal dust. Allow it to dry completely.

Step 6

Coat the steel with a thin layer of metal polish and allow it to dry for the time suggested on the container. Buff off the polish using a rapid circular motion.


For faster results, you may use an orbital sander with an attached sanding or scouring pad instead of brushing by hand.


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