Rust 101

Items Needed

If you Trust in Rust as we do and like the vintage look of rusty patina, but don't want to wait years for your design to achieve this marvelous aged look, try our safe and simple recipe for instant rust below.


You will need these common household items and ingredients, all readily available at your local grocery store.


White vinegar 5% acidity

Granulated Table Salt

Hydrogen Peroxide 


2  1 to 1.5 Shot Glasses

Wiping Cloth or Paper Towel

Step 1

Wipe down steel with cloth soaked in vinegar, then allow the vinegar to dry.


Step 2

Take one shot glass and fill it just under half way with salt.


Take your other shot glass and fill it just under half way with hydrogen peroxide.

Step 3

Top off your salt/peroxide combination with vinegar.

Mix again using your tool of choice (stir stick, [un]gloved finger, etc.).

Step 4

Now, combine salt and peroxide. Mix well.*


*Note: Salt will mostly likely form a granular paste rather than completely dissolve. This is completely normal.

Step 5

Apply mixture directly to steel by pouring the shot glass over it, dipping finger your into the glass, and dabbing it onto the steel. You can also use cotton balls, foam paint applicator, etc. instead of gloved or ungloved finger.


Continue to dab and spread mixture over the surface of steel. Try to keep it from running off.


Applied mixture may foam a bit unevenly as you apply it; keep dabbing and redistributing it on the steel until complete coverage is achieved.

Step 6

Continue to dab mixture over the surface of steel as rust begins to develop.


Not all of the salt will dissolve, which is ok. Allow it to sit on the steel, spread the mixture around until rust forms uniformly.


Try to place the steel someplace out of the sun where it will stay wet for a while, allowing the mixture to continue to work.


After the steel dries, you can wet it with a little water to reactivate the salt and further promote rust.  The RUST 101 example was kept wet with water spray overnight and allowed to dry.


From here the rusty patina will improve and even out with time if installed outdoors. If more initial rust is desired you can repeat with another batch.  If you would like to darken the patina you can spray some light penetrating oil on it, or coat it with your choice of household vegetable or coconut oil.

rust 101

As you look at the photo, you'll notice the color of the rust matches the 70 year old tractor hood, but is not completely uniform at this stage. You can accelerate this process by applying more batches of the mixture and/or leave the design outdoors, in the rain etc.

rust 101
rust 101
rust 101
rust 101

Here's the finished product after sitting out in a rain storm and dryed in the sun.  Fluid film (a lanolin based non toxic product) was applied directly to steel and excess was wiped off.  Fluid Film is easy to apply and work with.

rust 101








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