How to Distress Tin

5 Materials
2 Hours

I love to use tin around our home. It's an easy way to add rustic charterer to a door, bar, or wall. What's ideal is finding some good weathered pieces. But that's not always an option. So here is a quick and easy way to distress brand new tin to give it a worn and weathered look to finish off your next rustic project.

Antiquing is a term often used when someone distresses a new item to give it the appearance of a 100+-year-old item. For the tin, I wanted to add in some discoloration, remove the new glossy shine and give it some rust areas. 


New Tin

Toilet Bowl Cleaner

Steel Wool

Rubber Gloves

Water Hose


I used the steel wool to apply the toilet bowl cleaner directly to the surface of the tin. I picked spots to really scrub, making sure it produced a foam and didn’t all collect in the grooves of the tin.


Once you’ve got the tin coated with the toilet bowl cleaner, let it sit. I let the tin sit anywhere from 30-45 minutes. The longer it sits, the more antiqued the tin will look.


After letting the cleaner sit, I rinsed it completely off with a water hose. 

You can repeat this process as many times as you would like. Each time it will create a lighter and rustier appearance. To create patches of rust, I allowed some of the soaked steel wool to sit on top of the tin during the drying process.

Here is the final outcome. We used the distressed tin to cover the bar surround in our new entertainment area. Check out all of the progress we've made I created a Mood Board for inspiration, we settled on a project outline and made a shopping list, then we framed a closet, and converted a window into a door.

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  2 questions
  • Anna Magnani Anna Magnani on Oct 14, 2018

    I would like to make a sliding door with corrugated iron and also an entrance gate. This for 2 reasons: I like it and it is not that expensive. My questions are how do you saw it and how do you get it between wooden or metal panels? Are there advantages or disadvantages between zinc and polycarbonate panels? I would be very happy with your advice, because here one is not working so experimentally and I have to explain it to the person who has to make it. For example, if you look at the sliding door, you will see that there are screwing in halfway somewhere. Wood behind it? And above and below, is it just there?


    Jenny, Puglia, Italy

  • Joe Jones Joe Jones on Oct 21, 2018

    Did you know vinegar and peroxide do the same thing and in a few minutes it will be brown/red surface rust and if you want it big rust and age quicker use muratic acid then just polyurethane over it clear and it looks like it’s been on an old house forever

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