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 beautiful aged metal.
Verdigris patina and rusted or aged metal pieces are perfect for 
recycled art projects like my table leg dragonflies and butterflies.

Even though I have a stash of aged pieces and parts I use in recycled art,
I sometimes start with new or new "looking" pieces but want them to 
have a little more character. To achieve that, I use this process and
it works great for me.

Please use your own judgement when mixing ingredients, even "natural" ones.

tubs of aged metal and rusty hardware ready to used in artwork
This is one small section of my 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, other
pieces need a little help!

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... 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 
but my new process seems to work the best for me.

metal roofing discs recycled art
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.
You can buy boxes of these at your home improvement stores and they start 
out very shiny.

aged metal plumbing strap
On this giant vintage reclaimed wood Butterfly, I aged the metal strapping that wraps
around the edge of the butterfly with hydrogen peroxide and salt and it worked 
fine but my latest recipe includes vinegar as well.

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 and I didn't measure anything.
After I had the basic idea I just combined ingredients to see what I could get.

create aged metal, rusty metal
I don't have a "during" pic but I start with a big plastic tub and dump in all kinds of metal 
pieces like wire, knobs, washers, house numbers or whatever I have laying around.

I pour plain white vinegar to cover all the pieces and let soak for a while.
It could be a day or a few hours, it just depends on what I have going on.
I have found setting the tub in direct sun seems to speed it all up.

The vinegar helps to etch the metal so the peroxide and salt that I add later can work it's magic.

how to aged verdigris metal hardware
After the items have soaked, 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.

how to create rust metal washers
I usually have my bin packed full so every now and then, I'll tilt the tub to swish the 
peroxide and salt around and over the pieces to make sure they are all getting coated.
If you only have a few items and they are all covered with the solution,
you don't need to worry about swishing it around.

Then I let the pieces sit in the peroxide and salt solution anywhere from 30 min to a day
... so technicalšŸ˜„

how to make things 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 I wait for it to dry to see what I get. It's exciting...really!

create aged, rusty metal house numbers for art
Since I do this processt kind of haphazardly, I can get haphazard results which is actually 
perfect for me. But if anything is not "aged" enough, I will put it in the next batch.
Sometimes newer pieces with heavy duty finishes may need two rounds for the 
vinegar to etch or break through the tough coating/finish.


DIY 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.


DIY rusty wire
Shown here, rusty wire, metal strapping and roofing discs.
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.  These rolls of wire are usually 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.

DIY rusty hinges and clock hands
Above are huge clock hands that started out shiny black along with metal hinges, and a piece of
copper pipe.

I ended up using those clock hands on my country to funky cabinet makeover.

Thanks for stopping by to check out my rust technique!

Update May 2017
Please visit my new online shop featuring my mosaics.

I still have some items in my Etsy shop as well. You can also find me on
Facebook , Instagram, Youtube and Pinterest too. Thank you!

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
Giant leaner mirror


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.
.
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,
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 the drawn design with the dremel. 
I used one of their basic spiral bits.

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 decided to tone it down with metallic gold paint.
You can see a little of the gold glaze in the upper left hand corner where
 I was playing around with how I wanted to apply the paint. 

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 brushed the 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!
See more of the whimsical hand painted dresser in the reflection.
Thanks for checking out my carved mirror!

Update May 2017
Visit my new online shop featuring my mosaic art.

Visit with me on Facebook, Instagram, Youtube or Pinterest.
I still have a few things in my Etsy as well.

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?

I made him, then wasn't happy about it and set it aside in the until 
I decided how I wanted to approach it. And then I got busy and it sat in the garage... 
for a loooong time.
Ok, it's been a year.

 reclaimed painted wood butterfly wing
I finally had a little extra time to play with it and decided to change it up! 
When I took it apart to repaint the wings, I decided I would like a different body and
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.

butterfly art
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
Sold
This piece was finally listed in my Etsy shop and sold.
I appreciate you stopping by to check out the butterfly makeover!

Update May 2017
Visit my new online shop featuring my mosaic art

Come on over and join me on Facebook, Instagram, Youtube and Pinterest too.
I still have some items listed in my Etsy shop and reduced items as well.
Thank you!


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