How To Turn a New Galvanized Bucket Into a Vintage Style Olive Bucket

1 Hour
Everytime I walk into Target, I pay a fine. You know what I mean. You go in for one thing and leave with $200 worth of stuff you "need". Most often you even forget to buy the thing you actually needed. I promise myself I will be strong. That I won't let it happen to me....again. Well Target, you win. I didn't even make it past the dollar bins on my last trip before I found something I needed. Luckily for me the fine was only $3 each for these galvanized faux olive buckets. Somehow, they jumped into my cart! But when I got them home they looked way too shiny and new. I had to find a way to make new galvanized buckets look old.
Here's what the buckets looked like when I brought them home.
Way too shiny and new! The first thing I did was knock off that shine. I used Amy Howard Natural Zinc Antiquing Solution on a rag that I wiped all over the bucket. This takes the shine off and is supposed to give it an antique zinc look. Truth be told, I haven't had that much success with it. When I was done, the buckets still needed more antiquing. So if you can't get your hands on this product, don't sweat it. I don't think its going to make or break your project. (update: I've been told that soaking the buckets in vinegar will also remove the shine)
To add more patina to the buckets I used General Finishes Milk Paint in Antique White. Don't get confused about this type of Milk Paint and the Sweet Pickins Milk Paint I usually use. The General Finishes paint is an acrylic paint. It won't get chippy like Sweet Pickins does. You can also use craft paint or chalk paint to get this patina effect. I actually just dipped a crumpled paper towel into a little bit of paint and pounced the paper towel onto the bucket. I added more to the seam and top and bottom edges of the bucket where you would naturally see that patina on a vintage bucket. When I got a bit too much I just used another paper towel to rub some off before it dried.
Now I had the patina but it just wasn't dirty enough. Enter Sweet Pickins Soft Wax and Aging Dust. I put a dab of wax on a paper towel and then a dab of aging dust and again pounced it on the bucket until I got just enough dirt and grit on.
Here's a side by side so you can see the difference between the new version and my vintage patina version.
Now I have Vintage Style Olive Buckets that were just the right price!

Chic California
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!

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  1 question
  • Tai Tai on Feb 09, 2016
    where did you purchase this bucket? I have been searching for months and came up empty handed


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3 of 28 comments
  • Jeani Miller Miner Jeani Miller Miner on Feb 10, 2016
    to add a bit more authenticity, swap out the jute handles for some worn leather straps

  • KathyJb KathyJb on Sep 08, 2016
    I just finished treating 2 brand new buckets with Miracle Grow. I used 1 of those long pkts of Miracle Grow in a 4 gallon bucket, mixed it up and put 1 bucket in to soak for a couple of days. Make sure you get the labels off all the way. I had to rescrub and retreat the buckets to make it all look old. I believe it’s a safer way to age metal than harsh chemicals like on some places I've seen. You can also use the left over treated water but make sure you add plenty of water so you don’t burn your plants. I plan on just adding the water from the bucket to one of the MG hose end sprayers and use it that way. I like the way your galvanized olive bucket turned out but I don't have any wax here at the house and would have to drive a distance or order it online.

    • Hillela G. Hillela G. on Sep 11, 2016
      They look great Kathy!! I bet they'd make a great post! :)