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 ingredients, even "natural" ones. ;)
This is one small section of my fairly organized supply of metal
pieces and parts I choose from when I'm creating.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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