There’s this stuff in a little tube that really could live up to the marketing hype of “miracle cream” but it’s not a face product.  Oh no, it’s a metallic paste called Rub ‘N Buff (p.s. this is not a sponsored post, just something I did on my own initiative).  It’s $4.79 around here for a tube the size of your pinky finger – a little goes a long long way – and you rub the paste on practically anything to make it look metallic.  They make 15 different colors/metals according to their website but I have seen perhaps six of the more common ones on store shelves.

So, I have a frameless mirror on the wall in my living room and I bought some molding to frame it out.  I want it to be gold but spray paint is not going to give me the finish I’m looking for… and so I turned to Rub ‘N Buff.  The problem was they make several shades of gold and I wanted it to be the RIGHT gold.  I worry about these things!  DIY-ers you know what I mean.  A bit of googling did not turn up any side-by-side comparisons of the product, and I don’t trust those digital color sample sheets (rightly so as it turns out).  So I just decided to do a comparison myself.

My local Michael’s had all three of the more common gold Rub N’ Buffs that I wanted to sample: Antique Gold, Gold Leaf, and Grecian Gold.  It looks like they make two more, Autumn Gold which appears to be a rose gold, and European Gold which seems to be a lighter, silvery variation.

First we have the contenders: from left to right Antique Gold, Gold Leaf, and Grecian Gold.  You can see that the color on the tube is supposed to indicate product color but it’s not accurate enough to help you decide.

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Then I gathered some things to test the colors on.  I used an old broken spatula to try it on plastic, a yardstick for raw wood, and some spray painted molding for a painted surface.  I taped off sections to keep clear distinctions between the colors.

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And now for your edification I present the final results!

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All three of the samples produced the same color on different materials.  It didn’t make as much difference in that way as I’d thought it would, nor did having a light, midtone, or dark starting surface.  There is a little see-through with the black paint – multiple coats of product would make it more opaque.  Application was definitely different on different materials.  The smooth painted wood was by far the easiest to do and looked best when done, the raw wood absorbed it and required more product per coat, and on the plastic I thought it might not stick but once it dried it adhered well.

Antique Gold  – It is really almost a copper color.  It has a lot of pinkness to it and I wouldn’t use it at all if I were wanting something to appear gold.

Gold Leaf – That’s another story.  I’m going to call it Gucci Gold – bright yellow-gold and the color of newly minted money.  It is not too brassy or fake looking, just a clear true gold.  New gold vs. the old gold of sample three…

Grecian Gold – It’s warmer and more bronzy in color than Gold Leaf, while still looking like a gold tone.  It would be my choice for a more aged or traditional look.

Here is the comparison again with slightly different lighting.  It can be hard to get an accurate sense of color on a computer screen so hopefully this will help.

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So there you have it!  I’m going to use the Grecian Gold on my mirror frame.

Have you ever used Rub ‘N Buff on a project?  Would you use it in the future?