How to Age NEW Metal

Raise your hand if you love the vintage patina and look of aged metal! *Raises Hand* Well then, stick around and let me tell ya the secret to taking your NEW metal (you know, like those super cute but really shiny metal pails in a certain dollar spot that everyone knows about? (Cough, Target, Cough) and making it look, well, old. 

Why would you want to do this you ask? Well, if you're here at TGF it's probably because you're kinda diggin' farmhouse and rustic style. So, that means, shiny and new really ain't your thing. I want my metal to look old and aged so it fits in with my current decor, at the same time, I'm obsessed with the cute little pails that seem to come every season and love to use them in different vignettes. Aging the metal to look older gives the pieces some character and makes them seem a bit more appealing, at least to me. 

Just check out some of my favorite Target One Spot pails that I've snagged over the past few months. 

All super cute, right? Would you know they were $3 bucks? Or not even a few months old? Probably not. 

So let's chat a little bit about just how to "age" metal on your own. 

It's way easier then you might think and only requires two ingredients and about an hour of your time. (Give or take.) 

By now you're probably like, just SHUT UP and tell me already..or you scrolled all the way through the first half of the post and are just looking for the good stuff. That's okay, I forgive you because I do it too. Shh. We're all friends here.

Okay, Ingredient number 1? 


Any vinegar will do, but I just like to use white vinegar because it smells less weird. At least I think so.

Second you need BLEACH. 

I like splashless best, just because it seems to make less of a mess.

Once you have those two ingredients let's gather our "supplies".

I typically just go ahead and do this process in my kitchen sink for smaller things, for bigger things you can use a big plastic storage tub or similar. But you'll probably need double the bleach and vinegar. 

Step 1:
Start by putting your shiny item in the sink or tub or whatever you're using. 
Step 2:
Then go ahead and fill it about a third of the way covered with water.
Step 3: 
Once that's done, it's time to break out the bad stuff.
I typically do equal parts water/vinegar/bleach, so a third of the way with water, a third of the way with bleach, and a third of the way with vinegar. 

Now is the hardest part, at least for me. The waiting. UGH, I HATE WAITING. But trust me, it's going to be worth it.

Resist the urge to dip you're hands in the mixture. You need to give the metal time to soak up the bleach and vinegar. I typically wait about 15-20 minutes, and then take a peek. 

If there's a weird black film, that's normal. Just take a paper towel and DAB, DO NOT RUB, DAB away the black. This will just add to the patina and make the metal look more authentic and aged. 

Let it dry and then feel free to use it in any way you please! 

So pretty, right? And I just love that it looks more authentic and old once I do this little trick. It might be cheating, but don't judge me and I won't judge you. Obviously there's nothing better then the real thing, but if you can't get your hands on the real thing, or if you simply can't pass up the Target goodness, this is totally another great option!

So what do you think? Will you be trying this? I'd love to hear about it! Leave me a comment below and let me know your thoughts! 


[DISCLOSURE: It's true that mixing high levels of bleach and vinegar together is toxic. But you'd have to have a significant amount for it to be deadly. You can opt to use just bleach if that makes you more comfortable and you'll get a similar effect but will most likely have a thicker film.] 

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  1. You know I've done this. I loooove it.

  2. Oh how I love yhe old look of these! I did just the vinegar to mine but it took forever! Thanks for the bleach tip!

  3. Oh how I love yhe old look of these! I did just the vinegar to mine but it took forever! Thanks for the bleach tip!

  4. Love this! Do you dump the liquid down the drain and let the container dry in the tub? Can you reuse the liquid for another piece?