Transforming Thrifted Finds with Rub’N Buff

If you are like me, you have probably transformed many thrifted finds with products like paint and spray paint. These are quick and easy fixes to completely change the appearance of many different household items. There is also a product that I absolutely love, but you may not be familiar with called Rub’N Buff. It is a tiny tube of wax metallic finish and can dramatically change the appearance of many items the same way paint and spray paint can. This product is made from carnauba waxes, metallic powders and pigments and it comes in several colors. This can be used on products like glass, wood, metal and for stenciling. The great thing about this is that a little tube of this goes a long way and leaves your projects with the perfect pigment and sheen. You can order this off of Amazon or Walmart and can also find it at the local craft stores. I found one tube at Micheals (and used a coupon) and the ebony color at Hobby Lobby. They are around $7 retail.

For this month’s projects I found two things from Goodwill that I transformed and love the outcome. The first project is something I had on my thrifting wishlist and have been searching for, for a while. I wanted to find a small coffee table with a clear top and a midcentury vibe.  One day I was at Goodwill and I saw the perfect sized coffee table. It is more of an art deco style but still works well with my home aesthetic. I was shocked when it was only $14! The only thing I did not like about it was the shiny gold finish, but I knew that if I used some Rub’N Buff on it, I could make it the exact color I wanted. I got home and wiped it down with a microfiber cloth and then took some fine grit sandpaper to the metal so that the Rub’N Buff would stick better. I started off by using one of my kids old cotton t-shirts to apply the Rub’N Buff but then switched to a foam brush and really liked how that covered it. You can also use your finger or a paint brush. It will stain, but comes off easily with mineral spirits or rubbing alcohol. After the first coat I could still see some of the shiny gold poking through, so I let it dry for about 4 hours, buffed it with a microfiber cloth and then applied a second coat. After the second coat, it was a color that I was very happy with.  For this project I used the color Antique Gold and it was perfect! I let the second coat dry overnight, buffed it out again with a microfiber cloth and it was ready to put the glass top on and add to my living room.  I love it so much that one tiny tube was able to cover the entire base with two coats and still have some left over!

The second project I did was a wooden frame.  I found this beautiful hand painted framed art at Goodwill that will be perfect to display during the Fall. I loved the painting but did not like the color of the wood frame. I could have used gold but I wanted to see what the ebony color would look like for this project.

For this project I used the following items:

  1. Paper to put my frame on. This product will stain so make sure your area is covered and you are wearing clothes you may not mind getting stained.
  2. Painters Tape. I taped off the inside of the frame so that the painting would not get ruined.
  3. A cotton cloth, a paint brush or a foam paint brush. This is what you will use to apply the Rub’N Buff.  You may need to experiment like I did to see which product you like best for application.
  4. Fine grit sandpaper. I made the mistake of not sanding down the frame and I wish I would have, because it would have stuck so much better. Just a light pass over your item will do!


For my frame, I started by using a cotton cloth and covered the surface with it and went back through with a paintbrush and got some of the nooks and crannies. I let this dry for a few hours, buffed it with a microfiber cloth and then went back over with a second coat. I let that dry completely, buffed it again and it was perfect! I am so excited to display this beautiful painting this Fall.

If you have never heard of Rub’N Buff and are curious, I highly recommend grabbing a tube of it to transform your thrifted treasures for under $10! I think you will be pleased with the results and love it just as much as I do!

Happy Thrifting-