Adele DuranGO
Adele DuranGO
  • Tutorial Team
  • Bayfield, CO

How to Rust Metal in 1 Hr 15 Minutes!

4 Materials
1 Hour

A couple years ago I posted my barn redo on HT. Since then, the frustrated mare kicked in the cheap (30 gauge) galvanized corrugated metal so it was time to replace. This time I switched to a heavier 22 gauge corrugated. It is cold steel which rusts.

I've rusted metal before for desirable effects. Letting nature age it slowly or expediting the patina by treating it first.

Here's how I did it this time around. I'll also show you how some of the older rusted-metal pieces are holding up.

bright shiny metal ready to age quickly
bright shiny metal ready to age quickly

Here's where we start. New metal in place next to a section I tested my rusting materials and technique on a few days before.



Degreaser like Formula 409 (with grease-cutting formula) and cloth or sponge

Salt, vinegar and hydrogen peroxide

Gloves -- I love these so much I'll tell you how to get them cheap!

Spray and wipe surface
Spray and wipe surface

STEP 1. Spray and wipe surface to clean off oil and fingerprints.

A quick spray and wipe should work fine. You can go over this later if you feel your work is uneven.

Spray and blot peroxide salt vinegar mix
Spray and blot peroxide salt vinegar mix

STEP 2. Mix 16 ounces of Hydrogen peroxide with 2 tbs salt and a splash of vinegar, 1-2 ounces. I used a sprayer on hydrogen peroxide bottle as shown in materials photo and step below.

Spray mixture on. You may blot excessive drips with a cloth, then respray lightly.

I used less vinegar than some recipes call for due to the fact that I was trying to get this done early (6:30 a.m) before yellowjackets became active. Some DIYers recommend a full prep wash in vinegar (spray and sponge) which I did not want to do because vinegar attracts these wasps and I got stung twice earlier in the week. Luckily I found the vinegar prep-wash to be OPTIONAL and that you can get a fine result using less.


YELLOWJACKET TIP: Douse yourself with peppermint oil and keep a saturated cottonball or kleenex in your pocket to keep yellowjackets away from you.

I ALSO ADDED a couple drops of peppermint oil into my hydrogen salt vinegar mix to deter the wasps from going into the cracks of my metal cladding.

I'll add the best place I found to get this handy oil at a great price in the materials list too.


I also sprayed my black iron rails at the same time.

See how the rust is already appearing in the second rail?

Comparison shot: 2 days, 15 min, fresh
Comparison shot: 2 days, 15 min, fresh


Upper left corner a few days old, full patina

lower left corner in progress after 5-25 minutes

right hand side fresh metal

One hour later
One hour later

Rusting will begin very quickly. You can spray over areas that did not appear to take evenly. Blot with your rag and spray again.

NOTE: You can see that the highest part on my corner trim is taking slowly--due to the fact that I did not want to get on a ladder to clean it properly with the 409 rag in the first step. hmmmmmm, grrrrrrr, do-over!

Garden sculptures using rusted metal
Garden sculptures using rusted metal

Left is a bench I made recycling old deck boards, travertine tiles and a bent sheet of rusted sheet metal.

Right is a nature sculpture from a burled stump, rocks and rusted metal There's a post on it in my profile from a few years ago.

In these cases the metal has naturally aged over many years

Home details using rusted metal and iron pipe
Home details using rusted metal and iron pipe

Top is how I used rusted sheet metal for fascia trim and bent black-metal pipe for deck rails. Fascia aged using vinegar and salt prior to installation

Bottom Pup compares curved metal details that were naturally aged over several years.

You can see posts on Hometalk in my profile for these projects too.

While I had my bottle handy, I touched up these details and deepened the patina.

I'll give the barn project a little time to age then post the pic so you can see how it turned out.

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Join the conversation

  • Linda Premo
    on Aug 24, 2019

    Very nice. I’ve read that letting steel wool soak in your solution also adds a dimension to the patina. Your doggie is so darn cute❣️

  • Vivian Villar
    on Aug 29, 2019

    Toliet bowl cleaner will rust metal also. Squirt it all over the metal then rub with a cloth. Takes about 24 hours. Wash off the metal and it's done. Super easy!

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