Asked on Jun 15, 2016

Rusted milk can

I have this old rusted milk can that I'd really like to polish up nice or even paint...but its super rusty and rough. What can I do/use to make this nice again? I potentially would like to use it for an address display with flowers coming out of the top. Any and all help would be appreciated!!
  23 answers
  • Some people would say the rustier the better. Tie a burlap ribbon around the top and put a dried flower arragemint or pot of flowers in it. Or, sand with course sandpaper and use primer and then a coat or two of paint
  • BellaCarly BellaCarly on Jun 15, 2016
    Have it sand blasted, prime it, and then paint it.
    • Lisette Lisette on Jan 02, 2018

      What kind of paint to use for primer coat? And can I use acrylic paint over that specific primer

  • Pamela chattergoon Pamela chattergoon on Jun 15, 2016
    I just scraped the loose paint off and put two coats of paint on. Make sure to put drain holes in the bottom.
  • Louise Louise on Jun 15, 2016
    You could keep the rusty look, which I love, and use Hobby Lobby decals to put the #'s on.. the burlap suggestion is also very clever.
  • Carol Tiller Carol Tiller on Jun 15, 2016
    The bottom has rusted out of mine. I still use it for garden decor. With a pot of plants in it.
  • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on Jun 15, 2016
    Scrap the rust off, use a good primer for outdoors, allow to dry and paint.
  • Julie Arteaga Julie Arteaga on Jun 15, 2016
    Use a wire brush to get the rust off, with soap and water and let it dry. Use the Rustoleum rust preventor paint comes in a wide variety of colors
  • Kimm Munson Kimm Munson on Jun 15, 2016
    White vinegar will take off major rust it would be perfect as a table base.
  • L L on Jun 15, 2016
    I would just spray it with a product to seal in the rust, spray on poly or something .
  • Phil a Phil a on Jun 15, 2016
    For a more permanent paint job, wire brush off the rough surface, or not if you like that texture. Then use a good Rust Converter, a bit more expensive than regular primer, but it changes the rust into stable Magnetite which can be painted more reliably or just left in its Dark Gray color.. available most places.. Phil
  • Stephanie Phillips Stephanie Phillips on Jun 15, 2016
    You can also try navel jelly or Evapo-rust.
  • Jeannie K Jeannie K on Jun 15, 2016
    What do you plan to put inside the can ? Concrete ? Our milk-cans are all in varying degrees of rust and restoration .. come painted, some not .. but, we've never used one as an anchor for anything .. some are filled with wine, champagne, whisky corks with a glass on top .. some are filled with white Christmas lights with glass on top .. some are used as plant stands (use an upside down plant/pot watering dish .. I'm rattling on, have fun, no matter how you try to protect your can, it will be something you'll enjoy for many many years to come
  • Kent jardine Kent jardine on Jun 16, 2016
    Paint is easily purchased from Eastwood to spray on this can without scrubbing off the rust. The paint is designed to go over rust, not flaky rust. When this paint is painted on your metal it lets rust to become part of the metal again. Fantastic technology.
  • Sherri Johnstone Sherri Johnstone on Jun 16, 2016
    It's gorgeous as is. Just add flowers. Vintage rocks!
  • Phil a Phil a on Jun 16, 2016
    Stephanie is correct, but Naval Jelly and Evapo-Rust remove the surface rust, with a bit of effort, leaving the original metal, which in time can rust again, especially if exposed to the weather. Rust Converter is easily applied and converts the rust to another substance that will not corrode any further. This is what I use on my garden tools and haven't had any returning rust problems since.
  • Pauliegirl1 Pauliegirl1 on Jun 16, 2016
    Rust automotive store....if thats the way you want to go?? Takes rust off to original metal...then prceed with a good primer/paint!!
  • Paul G. Paul G. on Oct 26, 2016
    Go to the hardware store or welding supply store and buy Restore. Apply a thin coat and walk away. The rust will be converted to a protective coating that you can leave as is or paint. The gray/black finish this product leaves is quite nice. Professional welders use this product that's why I'm recommending it.
  • Ginny Ginny on Oct 26, 2016
    At a flea market/craft show, I found a crafter who re-purposes milk cans. She painted mine a sky blue then painted WELCOME on it surrounded by little flowers and some Amish signs. Cute as can be, and the price was very reasonable. I finished two myself by using rust remover and painting them red. Use for plant stand and an umbrella stand.
  • Dale Perrigo Dale Perrigo on Feb 14, 2017

    Have it sandblasted then powder coated

  • Dfm Dfm on Feb 15, 2017

    i savaged the milk cans from grandfathers dairy farm, they make a nice table with a 10 ft long plank across their tops- i left most of them "as is" only 1 was treated w/ rustoleum. they sit on my covered front porch.

  • Cyndi Dimanno-Valentine Cyndi Dimanno-Valentine on Feb 16, 2017

    Coke and balled up aluminum foil. Scrub well

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Jan 19, 2018

    Hammerite or Rustoleum - You can paint on top of rust.

  • Agnes Chrzanowska Agnes Chrzanowska on Aug 31, 2021

    Sand blasting will help