Everyone loves the aged homely look of rusted metal, whether it be for home improvement or even on classic vehicles. In this case, we had three steel trellises for a project home in Phoenix, and the owners wanted a classic rust look. However, the ones we had were brand new and it would have taken a few weeks or maybe even months. If you’re desiring this look immediately this recipe is for you!
Let’s start with a shopping list. Surprisingly this effect is relatively cheap and quick to make. You might even have the ingredients around the house. For simplicity, I went to Walmart and they had everything I needed in one place, nonetheless any local hardware store should have these items in stock.
You will need:
- 1 spray bottle of degreaser (I used Purple Power but any will do)
- 1 bottle of white vinegar
- 1 bottle of hydrogen peroxide
- Table salt
- 1 spray bottle
- Fine grit sandpaper (optional)
Now that we have our ingredients let’s begin by prepping the metal for the spray. It’s best to do this outside, preferably in the sun; I placed them on my gravel driveway and doing so left no mess. (DO THIS AWAY FROM METALS YOU DO NOT WANT TO RUST, IT MAY JEOPARDIZE THE INTEGRITY OF THE METAL)
Once the metal is dry, use the degreaser. Make sure to use it extensively, because any oil left on the surface will prolong the rusting process. Let the degreaser sit until it’s dry. Then we can take the spray bottle and fill it with vinegar and cover the metal completely. You don’t need to let the vinegar dry to move on to the next step.
I used the leftover vinegar in the spray bottle, (it was about ¼ full), and mixed in the hydrogen peroxide and left some out to add salt. I added about 4 tbsp of salt, but these amounts are not required or specific, as long as there is a considerable amount of each inside. Now we spray the metal with the mixture and you should be able to see some results immediately. The peroxide will act as a catalyst and begin to foam. This reaction will oxidize the metal immediately turning it red. It doesn’t look like it but this is rust. Keep spraying to make sure you get full coverage, but leave enough of the mixture to continue for a couple of more times. After the initial spray let it dry by air.
After drying, you will notice an aged and rusty look; you can stop here because the results are inevitable. But to insure that the look lasted for the meantime I continued to spray and let the metal dry about 4 or 5 more times. Each time you should notice the rust effect is getting better with each spray.
If you are getting areas that are not rusting, try sanding it down and spraying it with the mixture again until it does begin to rust. After it begins to look how you desire let it dry completely. (NOTE, this rust may look legit, but it is delicate and light, and may rub off easily. However, it will rust in the end.)
Grab a pair of gardening gloves to protect your hands, and place your metal object where desired, and enjoy your newly aged home accent that is sure to impress!