How to Age Metal

How to Age Metal


Have you ever found yourself replacing a hinge or drawer pull that just doesn’t match its weathered counterparts? Perhaps you’ve been wanting to make a rustic coffee table but the screws and hardware you’ll use are just too shiny!  In this post, I’ll cover how you can replace metal parts such as hinges and handles or build custom furniture --all while keeping the vibe antique. With more and more people embracing the look of aged metal in their decor, I’m continually looking for cost-effective ways to create style on demand. Naturally, metals made of iron like steel will rust naturally over time with exposure to oxygen, but if you’re in a pinch, or decorating for the NOW, any savvy DIYer can expedite the process by mixing up this simple, not so secret solution. Here’s what you’ll need:

Personal Protective Equipment Disclaimer (Caution when using chemicals and wear appropriate PPE such as gloves and eye protection, safety glasses)

 Sandpaper (100grit or higher)  Two Plastic Bins, or Bowls, White vinegar–  Hydrogen peroxide, Table salt, Clear acrylic spray sealer (optional)

New Steel Hinge

 DIY Rusted Hinge

Work in a well-ventilated area, preferably outside. If the object you are working with has a layer of coating to protect it from rusting you will want to remove this or at minimum, scuff the surface.  (Clearcoat - use sandpaper, Painted Layer -use paint stripper.

Clean the item well before moving onto the next step. 

In container number one, place your metal items to be rusted. Pour in the white vinegar until the items are covered, add a tablespoon of salt. Mix and sit for 2 minutes.

Remove from container one with tongs, and place into container two, pour a generous amount of table salt and cover with hydrogen peroxide, rust will begin to appear immediately and you will see the solution turning brown. Remove with tongs as you see your desired level of patina. Let air dry. 

(For larger items use the solution in a spray bottle (larger surface areas may require multiple applications) 

Finally, spray a thin coating of clear acrylic sealer to the dry rusted object. Though the aerosol can might specify that your chosen sealer prevents rust, it won’t undo your work. It will set the rust and preserve the aged appearance for years to come while providing an acrylic barrier that keeps it from inadvertently staining any other metal or wood with which it comes into contact in the future. 

Here is a list of metal items you can try aging at home, for the necessity of replacement or fun! 

-Tin buckets or containers for flowers

Tin decor accent bucket

-New garden decor (make it look old!)

-Outdoor Lanterns

Outdoor Lanterns

-tin decorative signs

-hinges and hardware

- candlestick holders and tabletop ornaments

Antiqued Candle Holders

-an overhead pot and pan display/holder

-brass or metal faucets (brass ages with exposure to ammonia) 

Antiqued Brass Faucet