How I Give Metal and Wire Pieces an Aged, Rusty Patina Using Vinegar, Hydrogen Peroxide and Salt

aged metal hardware drawer pull on table leg dragonfly
Look at that yummy aged metal

I love the patina of verdigris and rusted or aged metal and will usually 
choose the aged pieces over something pristine and shiny when I'm in creation mode.

Oh, did you see the title to my post? Yes, this is how "I" do it. 
I'm sharing the process I use but please use your own judgement and do your own research 
when mixing components, even "natural" ones. ;)

tubs of aged metal and rusty hardware ready to used in artwork
This is one small section of my fairly organized supply of metal 
pieces and parts I choose from when I'm creating.

vintage hardware for mixed media art
Some of my supply, like this great vintage hardware, already has a beautiful 
patina of rust, oxidation or chippy paint so I don't touch them, 
but some pieces I get are shiny and new and I want them aged.

I've tried lots of different combos for aging metal. 
I've dissolved bromine tablets that are used for pool and spa sanitation in water then 
sprayed the metal... yeah, don't bother, 
I've used straight bleach, straight vinegar and have straight up left stuff in the 
weather and rain. I've gotten pretty good results with all of them, except for the bromine.

metal roofing discs on architectural angel
This is the body of one of my Architectural Angels I made a while back.
Those are metal roofing nail discs that I aged with hydrogen peroxide and salt.

aged metal plumbing strap
In my giant vintage sign and reclaimed wood Butterfly,
I explained how I aged the metal strapping around the edge of the butterfly
with hydrogen peroxide and salt but this time I added vinegar.

I used the combo with the vinegar after loosely following these instructions I found online.
By loosely, I mean I didn't use a degreaser, I don't measure, 
and I just kind of combine ingredients and see what happens after I have the basic idea.


aged rusty metal pieces for vintage assemblage
I don't have a "during" pic but I use a big plastic tub and dump in all kinds of different metal 
pieces like wire, knobs, washers, house numbers, whatever I have laying around.

I pour plain white vinegar to cover all the pieces and let soak for a while...
could be a day, could be a few hours, just depends on what I have going on.
I've found setting the tub in direct sun seems to speed it all up.
The vinegar helps to etch the metal so the peroxide that I add later can work.

aged verdigris metal hardware
Later, I pour off the vinegar then pour on several bottles of drug store hydrogen peroxide 
and sprinkle with kosher salt, I'm sure regular table salt is fine but I had
a big box of kosher salt on hand.
The basic gist of this process is that hydrogen peroxide is an oxidizer and salt, 
when left on metal, is corrosive and will cause rust.

rusty metal washers
Every now and then, I'll tilt the tub to swish the liquid around over the
pieces, because I usually have it packed full and then I leave it...
anywhere from 30 min to a day... I know...so technical.

rusty bottle cap art
Final step, I pour off the excess liquid and dump the whole tub of pieces 
on a big piece of cardboard and let dry in the sun.
Then you wait for it to dry to see what you get.
It's exciting...really!

aged, rusty metal house numbers for art
Since I do it kind of haphazardly, I can get haphazard results.
Sometimes it all comes out perfectly rusty and aged and sometimes not.

I am completely fine with that and actually prefer it, 
I don't want each piece to be rusted or aged exactly the same

metal aged pieces used in mixed media art
The metal door knob back plates above that I bought shiny and new from Restore,
Looks like they probably needed to be soaked in vinegar a little longer to etch the coating
so the the hydrogen peroxide and salt could help them rust.

The good thing is you can always add them to the next batch and do it again 
until you get the look you want.

DIY rusty wire
I actually used to pay money to buy rusty wire to use on my dragonflies until 
I realized I could make it.  
I buy big rolls of galvanized utility wire from Home Depot or Lowe's 
and create my own rusty wire.  
You can usually find rolls of utility wire like this in the 
picture and mirror hanging supplies area of these stores.

Some rust will come off on your hands as you are working with it but 
once the project is complete, I apply either a spray clear sealer or brush on
 Minwax Polycrylic to protect the finished piece.

rusty hinges and clock hands
Above are huge clock hands that I aged and I'm not sure how I'm going
to use them, but I can't wait because I love how they turned out...

Update! I used the clock hands. See them in my country to funky cabinet makeover.

Thanks for stopping by to check out my rust!

Swing by my Etsy shop to see what's new or find me on 

Dremel Carved Zebra Pattern on 6 Foot Wood Leaner Mirror Frame, DIY Mirror Makeover Using Recycled Muntins

dremel carved brown and gold dremel carved mirror
I've always wanted one of those huge "leaner" mirrors
so I made my own

large wood mirror frame
I bought a 5 1/2 foot mirror on Craigslist for $20...
Forgot to take the "before" pic with the mirror in it!

recyled wood french door muntins
My mom gave me these muntins from her french doors that
she wasn't going to use and I wanted to incorporate them somehow...

Ballard Designs Leaner Mirror
I saw this photo online from Ballard Designs Catalog
so I used it for inspiration in adding the muntins

making a wooden mirror frame larger
I bought and cut 1 x 4's to add another frame layer around the 
mirror's existing frame and attached using a nail gun.

using recycled muntins
I played around with the muntins and started cutting it into sections with a miter saw...

recycled muntins added to a mirror DIY
This is the pattern I ended up with. 
I attached the muntins to the wood frame with finishing nails

adding muntins to a leaner mirror
Gave it a base coat of dark brown

general finishes milk paint dark chocolate
I used my new General Finishes Milk Paint
I'm loving this paint, the coverage is incredible.

General Finishes generously sent me samples of their milk paints
since I had written ...unsolicited...about how I love their gel stain. I wasn't required to
give any kind of review but I'm mentioning these paints because I'm really impressed! 
.
I used dark chocolate which is almost the same color as 
their Java gel stain that I used to makeover my 

drawing zebra pattern on wood mirror frame
After I had the base coat, I knew it was looking too plain for me,
it needed something, so I decided to use the Dremel to carve zebra stripes.

I have a tutorial of sorts about carving on a nightstand with the dremel
if you would like to see more.

zebra pattern on wood mirror frame
I drew a quick pattern on with white chalk...

carving zebra pattern on wood with a dremel
and started carving.

dremel carved zebra pattern on wood frame
This is after carving...
I love the look but it had too much contrast for me so 
I planned on toning it down using metallic gold paint.
You can see a little gold glaze in that left hand corner where I was playing around,
then I got all involved and forgot to take more pics of the painting process.

zebra carved 6 ft leaner mirror frame using dremel
The "after"
It's going in my bedroom but I took it to the living room where I have a little more light
to take a few pics, but it is still a challenge to take photos of a mirror.
...I promise I do have other clothes besides my paint clothes.

recyled muntins from french doors on a mirror
I ended up brushing gold glaze over the entire brown base coat...

sherwin williams translucent gold glaze
I used this can of translucent gold glaze I found at Restore for $2, can't beat that!

gold glazing on dremel carved wood pattern
After the gold was dry I dry brushed a little more brown on top of that to 
bring out the texture.

metal look gold glaze on muntins in mirror
I dry brushed more gold on all the muntins too.

large leaner mirror frame with zebra pattern
It is 3 inches shy of 6 feet and it is heavy!...
which is why it's on those furniture sliders right now

zebra stripes carved on wood mirror frame
It has been in my bedroom a long time with just the plain wood frame so this
is a big improvement

dremel carved zebra mirror frame
I'm liking how it turned out!
If you want to take a closer look at the dresser in the reflection,
click here, it's one of my favorite pieces :)

Thanks for checking it out...

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stop by my Etsy store to see what's new

Large 5FT Mixed Media Butterfly Art with Reclaimed Wood and Vintage Sign Look, Recycled Art Sculpture

reclaimed wood look butterfly art
Huge wooden butterfly...
actually, it was a butterfly makeover...
a metamorphosis!... pun intended ;)

wooden butterfly five feet wide recycled art
Do you remember this butterfly?
Click on "butterfly" if you would like to see how he came about.

I made him, I listed him in my Etsy store, then I decided I wanted him 
for myself so I took the listing down and set him in the garage until 
I decided where to hang him....and there he sat... for a loooong time.
Ok, it's been a year.

 reclaimed painted wood butterfly wing
I finally decided I was ready to hang him but I wanted a different color...
then I wanted a different body... then I wanted a different look entirely... so I 
took the whole thing apart, removed the fence post caps on the wings and started over.

Kind of like when you decide to paint a room in your house
and next thing you know you are remodeling the whole room.

faux reclaimed wood slat art with layered paint
I painted each wood shim with a layered paint look in different colors
trying to give it that "reclaimed wood" look. 

I had to patch the holes where the fence caps were, and I wasn't real neat about it.
I wanted the extra texture it would add and even applied more spackle in random spots
 on the wings to make it rough and uneven for the layered paint finish to latch on to.

After I painted, I washed with brown and wiped off the excess so 
it would seep in all those crevices and tone it down.

wooden lamps used as butterfly body
I ended up combining two wooden lamps and a wooden candlestick 
that I had cut in half for the body, all glued and screwed together. 

recycled brass used in mixed media butterfly art
At the tail is a piece of a brass pipe fitting that I aged with 
vinegar, hydrogen peroxide and salt. It gave it a great verdigris look.

painted vintage wooden sign look
On the top wings I free handed lettering, wanting it to look like 
a vintage wooden sign that had been cut apart. 

hand painted wooden sign beach sign letters
Lots of layers and distressing.

aged metal numbers mixed media art
I added metal numbers to the body that I had aged in the same vinegar solution

verdigris copper pipe pieces used as antenna on butterfly art
Verdigris copper pipe for the antenna... 
actually from my aunt's bathroom sink fittings when they were replaced.
She thought I was nuts when I asked her to save all of it for me.

aged metal plumbing strap
On the sides I added "aged" metal strapping around all the edges.

perforated metal plumbing strap

I took a whole roll of this plumbing strap and put it in the same solution as the
metal numbers and brass pieces to age it. 

giant recycled wooden butterfly art with reclaimed wood and sign

giant wooden recycled butterfly art reclaimed vintage look
I did end up listing him again in my Etsy store,
I really like him so we'll see how long before I cave and keep him

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I appreciate you stopping by to check out the butterfly makeover!

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