What Is Rub ‘n Buff? | How To Use & Color Options

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Many years ago, my mom introduced me to a product called Rub ‘n Buff. I had never heard of it before so I got researching! I was immediately hooked and needed it ASAP! In true Stephanie fashion, I went out and bought all 12 colors and have been living happily ever after since! I have used it on so many of my DIY projects and home decor!

Let me fill you in on one of my best kept crafting secrets…!!!

Rub ‘n Buff is a versatile and easy-to-use metallic finish wax that can be used on a variety of surfaces to give them a beautiful shine. Whether you’re looking to add some glamour to your furniture or give your jewelry an extra touch of sparkle, Rub ‘n Buff is the perfect way to do it. Have you tried using this unique product yet? If not, what are you waiting for?

Rub 'n Buff 12 metallic colors

What Is Rub ‘n Buff?

Rub ‘n buff is a type of metallic paint that can be used to add a ‘touch of gilding’ to just about any surface. The beauty of Rub ‘n Buff is that it’s quick and easy to apply, and it doesn’t require any special skills or techniques. Simply rub the paint onto the surface using a soft cloth, then buff it to a high shine. Rub ‘n Buff is available in a wide range of colors, so you can find the perfect shade to suit your project. And best of all, Rub ‘n Buff dries quickly, so you won’t have to wait long to see the finished result.

It is formulated from carnauba waxes, fine metallic powders, and select pigments, for a finish no paint can duplicate. It comes in a little tube and is similar to a shiny, textured paste.

What Surfaces Can Rub ‘n Buff Be Used On?

The paste can be used on painted surfaces, metal, wood, ceramics, plastic, glass, metal and more. It’s easy to apply and can completely transform any item in a matter of minutes! I love to use it on antiques, frames, crafts and home decor.

Rub 'n Buff 12 metallic colors

Color Options

There are 12 different metallic colors to choose from! My personal favorites are in the gold family. Check out this post to see where I compared the different gold colors.

  1. Gold Leaf
    • As you might expect, this color is a rich, vibrant gold.
  2. Antique Gold
    • The lightest version of the golds. This shade adds works great on everything!
  3. Grecian Gold
    • A dark, yet vibrant gold that pulls warmer undertones
  4. European Gold
    • A brassy-toned gold with hints of green
  5. Autumn Gold
    • A warm shade of gold that resembles a fall/autumn sunset and foliage changes
  6. Antique White
    • This color is a silvery white with hints of shimmer
  7. Ebony
    • A lovely shade of black
  8. Pewter
    • This shade is a dark grey with hints of shimmer. It’s perfect for creating shadows and depth in a painting.
  9. Silver Leaf
    • This color is a light silver that almost resembles aluminum foil! It’s perfect for painting metal objects like vases or picture frames
  10. Spanish Copper
    • This shade is a deep brown with hints of red and orange. It’s perfect for giving paintings an antique look
  11. Ruby
    • This shade has a beautiful pink-reddish tone to it
  12. Patina
    • A creamy light blue. Patina is the color that real copper turns when exposed to the elements and agent over time
rub n buff colors on canvas

How To Apply Rub ‘n Buff?

  1. Choose your color
  2. Prepare your item. Ensure that it is clean and the surface is dry. Rub ‘n Buff can be applied to painted surfaces, metal, wood, ceramics and more
  3. Using your finger, a soft cloth or Q-tip, gently apply the paste in a rubbing fashion to your item
  4. Buff with a soft cloth for more shine. Light circular motions work best.
  5. I personally have found that depending on the metallic color I choose to use, I have had to apply multiple layers of the wax paste to achieve my desired color.

How long does it take Rub ‘n Buff to dry?

Make sure to prep the surface before hand by cleaning and drying it off completely. Use a soft cloth to apply the rubbing compound in a circular motion.

Once the metallic is applied, it dries fairly quickly to the touch. However, you should give it a full 24 hours to make sure it’s completely cured. If the finish is not as dark/thick as you’d like, apply another coat.

I generally allow about 30-45 minutes of drying time before I buff with a soft cloth.

My Previous Projects

I have used Rub ‘n Buff on many surfaces and for many projects in the past! My thrift store lamp is by far my favorite makeover with Antique Gold. I have applied it to photo frames, ceramic planters, metal baskets, door knobs, mirror frames…and even dresser knobs!

In my opinion, it is best used on items that aren’t used often, items that are better suited for decor items. High use items can show signs of wear, so in order to preserve the newly finished look, I prefer to use it on decor items.

Rub n' Buff Antique Gold

Where To Buy?

Limited color selections of can be bought at Hobby Lobby. I prefer to purchase through Amazon as I can buy all 12 colors in one shot, for a more affordable price.

What Does It Look Like Once Applied?

It’s a bit tricky to figure out what color to use on your project based off of the color of the tube. To easily identify which color I would like to use, I applied all 12 colors to sterling silver spoons.

Rub 'n Buff 12 metallic colors
Rub 'n Buff 12 metallic colors on spoons
antique sterling silver spoons with color waxes

I photographed each color in various angles to give you the best perspective of what they look like!

Before… each spoon was a basic sterling silver kitchen spoon.

sterling silver spoons on wooden tray

After! – with just 1 coat and no buffing

colored spoons on wooden tray
Rub 'n Buff 12 metallic colors
painted spoons on wooden tray
gold and silver spoons on wooden tray
gold spoons on wooden tray
Rub 'n Buff 12 metallic colors on spoons
Rub 'n Buff 12 metallic colors on spoons

As you can see, the colors are GORGEOUS! Every color has such a unique look to it! Perfect for the DIYer who wants to update items on the cheap!

The options are endless. Let your creativity flow with this super affordable and exceptionally easy product to use!

What item in your home could use a transformation makeover? Tell me in the comments!

If you have any questions about using Rub ‘n Buff, feel free to leave a comment below. I’m always happy to help! ?

18 Comments

  1. Carol Lee says:

    Your information and “color chart” with the spoons helps a lot! I do have a question I cannot find the answer to. Maybe you can help. I want to change some nickel plated candlesticks into white with gold for the French look. Can I use white R&B and then gold R&B to achieve this or do you have another solution? Any info would be most appreciated,

    Carol Lee
    clee22765@gmail.com

  2. Who h color is closest to aged brass- European gold. Thank you for your article!

  3. deborah j trescott says:

    Would this work on kitchen cabinet hinges? Not the knobs and drawer pulls (I have new knobs and drawer pulls I’m going to be putting on). My current hinges are darker brass looking and do not match my new Pewter knobs and drawer pulls and I can’t afford to buy all new hinges. Would Rub ‘n Buff work on my hinges? Thank you!

    1. Hi Deborah! Yes, it absolutely would! I would search on Pinterest for some testimonials of others using it on their hinges! Good luck!

  4. Hi I’m wondering if you ever did a clear coat to protective finish like rustoleum ?

    1. Hi Brittany, I have not ever added a clear protective coat over top of the Rub ‘n Buff

  5. susan corio says:

    Can you use rub and buff on an engraved casserole dish that requires to be use in an oven?

  6. Paul Kelley says:

    I have clear glass plates that have a decorative design etched into the back surface. I would like to color the etched area. Would Rub n Buff work for that? What Rub n Buff product should be used and what is the process?

  7. ellen wallace says:

    I have a large metal smooth lamp shade. It has brush lines done in a bronze. Want to change them to pewter. How can I get the smooth straight brush lines with a pewter rub n buff…Can I use a large one or two inch paint brush and how to create brush lines on the black and bronze metal to make more pewter than bronze? please respond asap thanks

    1. Hi Ellen,
      I would tape off the lines with painters tape and then only apply the Rub ‘n Buff inside the painters tape areas. Best of luck!

  8. Could you please post a link to Amazon where you get all 12 colors, please. I cannot find a variety pack with all colors.

  9. Ann Hollander Sedlacek says:

    we are wanting to paint the white interior of a chandelier’s lampshades and are curious if the heat from the bulbs will melt the Rub and Buff new finish? Because of the wax mentioned in the products properties was wax we would like your expertise.

  10. Hi Stephanie! Wanted to get your opinion… I purchased some medicine cabinet mirrors that work great for my bathroom but they are trimmed in a very bright yellow gold. Which shade would you recommend to tone down a bright gold?

    1. hi Jen! Ohh, that’s a great question. So, my all-time favorite gold with Rub ‘n Buff is Antique Gold. It is literally the perfect, creamy, colored gold! You can see a lot of photos of it on a lamp I redid…https://gatheredinthekitchen.com/diy-rubbed-gold-thrift-store-lamp-makeover-rub-n-buff-tutorial/

      I also have a post where I show the difference in the gold colors…https://gatheredinthekitchen.com/rub-n-buff-gold-colors/

      It really boils down to personal preference… but of course, I vote antique gold!
      Good luck!!

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