A Quick Tutorial on Rusting Metal

Okay, I know many of us get truly irritated when something begins to rust! I mean, it’s usually something we’ve spent good money on, right? That outdoor bistro table, chairs, etc. Well, this tutorial will explain how to make something rust intentionally in case you ever have the desire to want to make something rusty but NOT our bistro table and chairs. Those are too expensive.

I have a letter sign that I sell on my Etsy site that has a chain attached to it with screws eyes. Since all of my signs are “Vintage Style” it just wouldn’t look right to attach a brand spanking, shiny new chain to it. So, in order to make my chains look old I need to rust them…and rather quickly. Now, I very much try to stick to the “all-natural” way of doing it but in the winter it is hard because you need warm weather and lots of sun. Just not happening here right now…so, in order to put a rush on things I have to “go chemical”. Sorry, I know, not the best thing but sometimes you just have to do what you just have to do.

Let’s get started:


Muriatic Acid (I found mine at a pool supply store.)

(That’s it.)

You will also need a glass bowl.


Next, take the items you’d like to rust and place them in the bowl.

Once your items are in the bowl VERY carefully pour just enough of the Muriatic acid in to cover the items you have in there. (Instead of peeling off the foil film under the cap of the muriatic acid jug I pierced two small holes into it. This helps from the product splashing! And it allows it to come out slowly and controllably.) Also, just to be safe I like to do this in the garage…and NOT anywhere near my car! YIKES! Or outside if it’s snowing or raining!)

Place the bowl with the muriatic acid in it somewhere dry and warm. I personally like to do this in the basement. Allow to sit for a few days but keep an eye on it. The first thing you will notice is that anything that was shiny is no longer shiny. It becomes very flat looking.

After a few days you will want to take the bowl outside and drain the acid from it. I do this in an area of a flower bed that isn’t near where I plant any flowers. Once you have drained the acid from the bowl place the bowl in a sink and run scalding hot water in it and allow to overflow for a few seconds. Remove your items and place on an old dry towel and allow them to dry. (I do like to continue to let the hot water run just to be certain that any residual acid has been flushed out of the pipes.) You will begin to notice in a short amount of time that rust will start to appear. (It usually doesn’t happen immediately….Patience my friends!)

So that’s it! Not much to it.

Hopefully someday you will find this useful.