DIY Rust!

A few months ago I found an old metal box with just enough rust and age to make it awesome.

I love this box.

It has compartments inside that make it perfect for holding all of my coffee supplies. (Ok – when I have coffee on hand.  I have a Tassimo, which I love.  What I don’t love is how few stores carry the discs.  I have been out of discs for about a month. ugh. Fortunately there is a coffee shop within a mile of my house.  Why is it so easy to run there every morning instead of making just one trip to a store that I know carries Tassimo coffee?? Sometimes I wonder about myself.)


This box is old, but I know I’ve seen similar (new) boxes in craft stores.  I wanted to try to re-create the look, adding a stencil to the front.  I could not find a box.  Anywhere.

But I did have a vintage metal bread drawer!

Rusting it was super easy.  I mentioned in my last post that I got the directions on

Here is my quick version…

Take your item outside.  Lay plastic under the item if you need to protect the surface underneath.

The first thing you’re supposed to do is thoroughly clean the item with degreaser.  I thought the bread drawer was clean enough.  I skipped this step.  (It had nothing to do with the warnings on the degreaser bottle to use rubber gloves and a mask!)

I did, however, add a stencil at this point.  I wanted the rust to form around the stencil, so I used a vinyl rub-on that I got at Micheal’s.  The entire stencil said ‘SOAK your cares away’, but I only used the SOAK part of it.  Appropriate for a bathroom, I thought!

Next you fill a spray bottle with white vinegar (any brand) and spray the entire item.  Let it dry.  Spray again.  Let it dry.  Spray again.  You get the idea – do this several times.  This step took a while because I chose a cool, cloudy, damp day to do it.  On a sunny, warm day this will take no time at all.  (This is called the pickling step -if the vinegar hasn’t covered the entire surface, it will not rust uniformly.  Honestly, I wasn’t worried about it being uniform.  But I did repeat the step several times.)

Once you are satisfied that the entire surface has been treated with vinegar and dried, it’s time to rust!  Fill a spray bottle (I dumped the remaining vinegar and used the same bottle.) with the following:

16 ounces of Hydrogen Peroxide (use a fresh bottle)

2 ounces of White Vinegar

1/2 Tablespoon of Salt

(Don’t worry if your amounts are a little off, it will be fine. Make sure to shake the bottle a few times to dissolve the salt.)

Now you can spray your item.  The rust should start to form immediately.  Mine wasn’t dramatic, but as it dried, more rust appeared.  I think in my case the temperature and dampness made a difference.  (I noticed that the rust formed in drops – just how the solution was sprayed on.  Next time I will soak it more so that it’s not as spotty.  This effect is less noticeable now, as it has continued to rust even after it dried.)

 You can let it dry and spray it as many times as you want.  Be careful handling it until it is completely dry.  The rust is powdery and can rub off.

After it dried, I removed the stencil, and then rubbed the entire thing with steel wool to get any loose powder off.  Then the cabinet was ready to hang!

I’m thrilled with how it turned out.  And I am still on the look-out for metal boxes.  If anyone sees them, please let me know where!

Much Love…


Linking up!

The Shabby Creek Cottage

Beyond The Picket Fence

The Crafty Blog Stalker

Tatertots and Jello

Funky Junk Interiors

Twigg Studios


  1. I just found you thru Savvy Southern Style, and I must say I LOVE your style!! (this breadbox is right up my alley!) I’m now subscribing-I hope you’ll visit me and if you enjoy my blog follow me:)

  2. Very cool Brenda! I’m going to try this!

  3. What a great idea i would love it if you came and linked up at
    thankyou xxx

  4. I have been wondering how to do this! I love that you stenciled first and how subtle it turned out. I LOVE how it turned out!! Thanks for sharing, now I need one! LOL

  5. Love this!! Thanks for the tips, I’ll be trying this. I have ‘rusted’ pieces using a paint technique, but I think this turns out great! Thanks, I’ve pinned for future and am now following you.
    Debbie :)

  6. So good to know!!! I love your rust technique!

    XO, Aimee

  7. Just found your post through Debbie Borthwick’s pin of your project. So cool. Thanks for sharing the steps and the results. Also love the idea of using an old rusty toolbox as a coffee holder. I have a passion for old rusty toolboxes and need ways to use all the ones stacking up in my house. :) Love it! I’m your new follower by email. Hope you’ll stop over at Quirky Vistas and follow as well if you like.

    • Thanks so much Liz! I never hesitate to buy another old (reasonably priced!) box or toolbox. There are always things that need to be stashed – they don’t stay empty for long!
      I will certainly be stopping by Quirky Vistas. Can’t wait to see some of your collection!
      thanks for following –

  8. Cheryl in Wisconsin says:

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  11. Just found this through Pinterest. I have a metal bread box that someone had painted. I hadn’t thought about hanging it on the wall. Don’t know why I was thinking that I needed to find a drawer to put it into. Thanks for the idea.

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