Thursday 20 October 2011

All That Glitters Is Not Gold ~ Wm Shakespeare

Sometimes we want things to have signs of wear and tear; the patina of age.  We rummage through second hand shops and bake or freeze at farm auctions just to find a rusty old bucket.  The minute we see one, the wheels start turning!  How fabulous this will look with ???? tucked inside.

If you aren't lucky enough to find one, don't despair.  You can age a new galvanized pail and turn that vision into a reality!  I found a shiny, new, galvanized bucket at Dollarama for $2.  It measured 9" tall and 9" across the top, a nice size to hold a small Christmas tree. Galvanized metal is steel with a thin layer of zinc oxide on top.  I just google  know these things!

 But, it was soooo shiny! ~   

I started working on this before it occurred to me others might want to know how it's done. The right side hasn't had any treatment in the before pic.

Since, I was on the phone with my Internet/cell phone provider for the longest call in history (1:30 to 5:10!!!) I had time to complete the aging process (both on the bucket and myself).  I graciously accepted the rep's compliment that I was the nicest customer ever because I hadn't raised my voice once.  Was there really any need to tell her I was doing a craft the whole time?

Galvanized metal reacts to vinegar and an oxidization process starts.  This will also work on silverplate.  Vinegar doesn't hurt stainless steel so I did this in my kitchen sink.  I put about two inches of vinegar in the sink and lay the bucket down in it.  I rotated the bucket every half hour or so.  The longer a section is in the vinegar, the more it ages.

I'm liking the streaky effect and won't try to even this out ~

Look at the great rust on the handle ~

It's not easy to take pictures with a phone wedged between your shoulder and ear, a camera in one hand, while you  hold the bucket in place.

My blogging friend Wendy at Herb-ballistic Garden suggested I stop taking pics on my stove but it's often the only good light I can find here.  Her site is listed on my side bar. Pop on over and give her a boo.  Don't tell her I took another stove pic though. Shhh ~

Oh my, the first sunshine of the day!  Run outside and try to get some shots! 

The surface is dull enough for paint to adhere if that is what you are going for.  I'm going to use mine as it is.  Maybe I'll glue an old label on the side.  Hmmm.  What kind of tree will I put inside it?  Hmmm.

The wheels are turning!  Heaven only knows what I can make the next time my Internet and Blackberry go down and I have to talk to customer service!

You'll find this post at the linky parties at ~ At The Picket Fence
                                                                 No Minimalist Here
                                                                 The Shabby Creek Cottage
                                                                 Somewhat Simple     
                                                                 French Country Cottage
                                                                Finding Fabulous
                                                                Debbiedoos Newbie Party

I'm really happy to have this post be a guest blog on Herballistic Garden and be able to help Wendy out.  She has a week of huge family commitments!  What a treat to connect with all her super nice followers!

Update to answer questions ~
  If your metal is not reacting to the vinegar, check that it is galvanized steel.
  Aluminium foil, making contact between your metal and the vinegar speeds up the process.
  I use cheap white vinegar but a reader has suggested apple cider as having a higher acid content.


  1. what a great tip - dropping by from Sherry's.

  2. Love it! I was just trying to google this yesterday. Thanks so much for the "how to". Any tips on aging stainless steel?
    Awesome job!

  3. Muriatic acid darkens stainless steel. DO NOT get it anywhere near stainless you do not want marked. Nothing will remove the charcoal grey marks.

  4. So glad to find this little tip. I always love to buy metal but it doesn't always have the best patina. Your newest follower.

  5. Great tip! Thanks for sharing. I have some galvanized metal sitting outside to weather, now I can just speed the process up.

  6. That turned out great Maureen! ...and I can't even see the stove! Hahaha! (Everyone should know we're neighbours as well as good friends or they'll think I'm an interfering blogger! Yipes!)

    An awesome tip! Thanks

  7. Disclaimer: Wendy from HerBallistic Garden is not an interfering blogger! As newbies, we critique each others site. It's fun to have someone close to talk to about the blogging adventure!

  8. Fabulous tip! Thank you for sharing it with us at Inspiration Friday, we are featuring it this week in our highlights! Post will go up this afternoon. :)


  9. Thanks for the great tip! I can't wait to try this. I will be featuring you on my blog tomorrow! Please stop by and grab a button!

  10. It looks great! I use apple cider vinegar to age new fence boards, so this is right up my alley! :) Thanks for the tutorial.

    Have a great day.

  11. I am SO glad that you shared this with us! I had heard about vinegar aging wood before, but never buckets. I have a couple shiny ones in the basement that will soon receive a vinegar beauty treatment! :)

    xoxo laurie

  12. I'm so glad this little tip was was helpful. Thanks for all the great comments!

  13. Great tip! I have some candlesticks I think I'll try that on. Thanks for sharing!

  14. good tip but dose that mean they will rust now thanks for sharing

  15. Stephen, if the bucket is exposed to the elements, it will continue to rust. You would have to put a sealer on it to have it stay the same outside. The ones I use inside, have stayed the same. Glad the tip was helpful! ~ Maureen

  16. Hi, great tut, and thanks. I found it on Pinterest, don't you love Pinterest??? LoL.
    I have three lamps with a trophy shaped base; they are new. I seriously want to age them up some, I think they are "brushed satin nickel". Do you know if this technique would work on them? Appreciate any help! :)

  17. Do you have to use a certain kind of vinegar to do this? I used white distilled vinegar and it didnt do anything to my bucket...

  18. Tierani - I read your question and it got me curious (I haven't tried this yet but I plan to). Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) has over double the pH of distilled vinegar (which is most common). I would recommend ACV if you are doing this process.

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