We've been looking for a way to add a little rustic to our house on a budget. When we came across an inexpensive file cabinet on Craigslist, we knew just what to do! We'll tell you how we achieved this rusty patina!
Cost: $50 Difficulty: Easy
We wiped the raw metal with muriatic acid (pool acid). Please be careful and suit up if you use this stuff!
After a week of sitting with the acid, we had this nice rusty patina. We drilled drainage holes in the bottom of the planter with a metal drill bit. We then bought 12x12 square plastic planters and set them in the 12x14 drawer holes.
Since there was a 2" gap, we added a thin piece of fence board. The planters sit at an angle, but the angle actually aids with drainage.
Since we were planting cacti, we filled the planters partially with gravel and then filled the remainder with cactus-succulent soil that drains well.
We placed the planter on two bricks to aid with drainage and lawn work. We're happy with how it turned out! Once it reaches the perfect rusty patina, we will be stopping the rust with Penetrol by Flood and sealing with a clear polyurethane. As of now, we're still rusting away!