DIY… Rust

Now my husband would say “Are you stark raving mad? Who in their right mind would willingly rust metal”

Of course, living in a beach house down by the sea, rust is often more of an aggravation for us. Everything metal, both inside and outside rusts. . . think light bulbs, door hardware, decorative items etc. The salt air just works its magic and ‘tadaaa’. . . RUST.

On occasion though I need a rusty item in a hurry and can’t wait for nature to take her course. . . that’s’ when I turn to these tried and true methods.

Shabby Art Boutique rusty 1

There are quite a few ways to make metals rust and many use dangerous chemical combinations.

I don’t do nasty chemicals. . .so here’s a couple of easy and safe variations for you to try at home.


Shabby Art Boutique rusty 2

[Lantern – IKEA. Rust – Mother Nature]

First off though, let me give you a few tips on rust. . .

Rust is a compound that forms on any surface containing iron when it is exposed to water and oxygen.

Ensure that the metal you are working with will rust.

Okay so that probably sounds silly. . . right, but only metals containing iron will rust, and some iron alloys will rust slowly or not at all. Stainless steel, an alloy of iron and chromium, will be very difficult to rust. Cast iron or wrought iron will rust most easily.


Shabby Art Boutique rusty 3

Method 1: Use a container that has a lid. . . I usually use glass coffee jars. Pour enough bleach into the jar to cover your metal items (eg safety pins, cup hooks, hinges, wire, screws). Put the lid on and leave it to sit for 24 hours.

Drain the bleach down the toilet, leaving the metal items in the jar and then refill with cider vinegar and a handful of salt. Place the lid on the jar and leave to sit again for 24 hours.

Day 3 – drain vinegar and place jar out in sun to dry uncovered. The metal items will rust as they dry.

Shabby Art Boutique 4

Method 2: In a spray bottle, mix 1 tablespoons of salt with 1 cup of warm water. Shake until salt is dissolved.

Place your metal items outside and spray with the salty mixture. Respray every day until your items have rusted. The oxygen in the air and the salt water will cause the metal to rust.

This is my preferred method when time allows and it truly works.

I’m sharing my rusty recipes at the link parties this week and with these lovely friends: French Country Cottage, The Vintage Farmhouse, 36th Avenue, Clean and Scentsible, Live Laugh Rowe, The Common Ground, The DIY Dreamer, Transformation Thursday, At The Picket Fence, The Cottage Market, Nifty Thrifty Sunday & Power of Pinterest with Fox Hollow and DebbieDoo’s.

Inspiration Friday Graphic-1


  1. I love this. I am going to try this down the road.


  2. Good to know! Thanks so much for sharing, Kerryanne!! I’ll try this out soon for some christmas decoration.
    Much love, Dina

  3. Thanks so much I’ll keep the idea ! great !

  4. This is a different rust recipe than I use. I will try yours to see which works better for me. I was out rusting some stuff for Christmas today until the wind got too gusty. Thanks – I love having you notify me about posts on FaceBook!

  5. Thank you for sharing the methods you use. I love rusty bits & bobs and now I can add to them without too long a wait.

    Toni xx

  6. oh my gosh thats so cool, I just found ou today from a blogging friend we have on common, I’m so glad I have, I’ m your newest followr!

  7. Absolutely love this idea and the pictures too!

  8. Great post! Gotta love a little rust 🙂

  9. Thanks for the tip. Sometimes rust is a must have 🙂

  10. Thanks for sharing – I can’t wait to give this a shot!!

  11. I love rust!!!
    Thanks for the tutorial, love it.

  12. Wow! Thank you for sharing this. I have a few items I wanted to “rust up” for holiday crafting, and with time running short, I was beginning to think that I’d have to go the chemical route (which I REALLY do NOT want!), or wait until next year to do. Thanks again! I’ll be rusting away this weekend.

  13. Fantastic idea~ thanks for linking up!!

  14. Grazie! Da tempo cercavo un metodo non tossico per far arrugginire gli oggetti! ^_^

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