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How To Rust Metal Faster

Do you like rusty, crusty vintage looking pieces? What if you have something new but want it to look old.

How to Rust Metal Faster is a tutorial that will allow you to rust tin cans or any metal piece with just 3 household ingredients. You can turn a new metal piece into a vintage inspired treasure quickly.

I had a couple of tin cans that I had left outside and they rusted naturally over a period of time.

When I saw how cool they looked, I decided I’d like to have more rusty tin cans so I decided to attempt to Rust Metal faster.

How to Rust Metal Faster Ingredients

What I learned about rusting metal

First, I want to say that all metal will not rust as fast as others.

Especially items like tin cans, which may have a protective coating and if so, you will want to break the surface with sand paper or steel wool.

Note: I didn’t do this on my tin cans and therefore the process wasn’t as fast as I would have liked.

I also leaned that all tin cans are not created equally and therefore, some will rust much quicker than others.

Mix Ingredients to create rust on cans

First, add approx. 1 cup of hydrogen peroxide to your spray bottle.

Add approx. 3 tablespoons of vinegar and 2 tablespoons of salt.

Place cap on bottle and shake until salt is dissolved.

Be sure your metal is clean and if there are any oils, they have been neutralized. At this point your may want to break up the surface of your metal with steel wool.

Let the Rust Begin

I recommend taking your metal outside and placing on a protected surface. I used a piece of cardboard and set it on the gravel drive.

You also want to protect your hands and eyes because the spray will splatter and the combination of ingredients will damage eyes and skin.

In addition, wear old clothing that you don’t mind damaging. The ingredients can stain or bleach fabric colors.

Spray to Rust Tin Cans

Completely cover your metal pieces or tin cans with the spray mixture and leave to dry. Leaving in the sun helps to speed up the process.

This is what my cans looked like after the first application and they were dry. I was less than impressed.

However, I knew it would be necessary to repeat this process several times.

Here is what the same can looked like after the second application. I was becoming a believer.

After 4 applications I was getting somewhere, but as I said above, not all tin cans are created equal and you can see what I mean below.

All 3 cans have received the same treatment but two are slower to show the results. It would have been a good idea to use the steel wool on these cans.

Next time I will know better.

Rusted Tin Cans tutorial.

Because I plan to use most of these cans for an outdoor project, I didn’t continue to repeat this process.

I did apply one additional coat to the cans that showed less rust.

Because we had some rain, it took 4 days to get these results. I applied 4 to 5 applications to the cans.

Rusted Tin Cans - How to Rust Metal Faster

I also left the cans out in the rain which also slowed down the process as the rain most likely washed away the mixture I applied.

My rating for How to Rust Metal Faster

I feel that I made some errors in judgement and had I taken the extra steps, I feel this process is an easy way to rust metal faster. It’s inexpensive and easy to do.

Rusted tin cans quickly.  See step by step tutorial to rust metal quickly.

I love how the cans look alone but wait until you see what I did with them for a DIY Fall Wreath. Scroll down for a preview .

Rusted tin cans quickly.  See step by step tutorial to rust metal quickly.

Here is a preview of the finished DIY Rusted Tin Can Wreath project.

Thanks so much for stopping by today! I look forward to sharing my next adventure with you.

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Rusted tin can quickly.  See step by step tutorial to rust metal quickly.


Wednesday 17th of August 2022

Love this, I found a couple things that help in the rust process. I first put the items through a cycle in my dish washer. If they are small I soak them in a jar with apple cider vinegar and a rustyold steel wool pad or sos pad.


Friday 19th of August 2022

Marianne, Thanks so much for these additional tips. Anything to speed up the process.

Kim | Shiplap and Shells

Friday 10th of September 2021

What a great idea. I want rusty cans everywhere this fall!

Sunday 12th of September 2021

Kim, Thanks so much.

Kippi Ohern

Tuesday 7th of September 2021

What a great idea! I love those rusty cans for fall. Happy Fall, Kippi

Tuesday 7th of September 2021

Kippi, Thanks so much.


Monday 6th of September 2021

I had forgotten about this trick. Thanks for the reminder. xo Laura

Tuesday 7th of September 2021

Laura, I'm so glad you found this useful.


Sunday 5th of September 2021

Great tip! Thanks for sharing at Vintage Charm!

Tuesday 7th of September 2021

Cecilia, Thanks so much.