Rust is something people want to remove from metal instead of adding it. But be it craft projects or just experiments; you might want to know how to rust metal instead. Here, we will help you with two distinctive methods that can help you rust metal.
Why rust metal?
According to the current trends and decorating themes, more and more people are trying to transform metal into an aged look. People are so engrossed in the trend that some of them are encouraging corrosion on new metal housewares.
Metals that are made of iron alloys like steel or iron, tend to rust naturally with enough exposure to air. But there are DIY methods that can rust metal in less than a day. If you want to speed up this process, check out the guide on how to rust metals.
Guide on how to rust metals
There are two effective ways to rust metals:
Method 1: Acid and copper solution
Make sure that the metal you are trying to rust will at all rust or not. Only metals that have iron or some kind of iron alloy will rust. For example, stainless steel made of chromium and iron will be tough to work on. On the other hand, wrought iron or cast iron is easy to rust.
You need to measure the amount of hydrochloric acid in a plastic bottle. This acid is readily available in low amounts at a hardware store and is sold as muriatic acid. You need to handle it carefully because it can harm your bare skin. Pour around 2 ounces or 60 ml of the solution into a plastic bottle. Make sure you wear rubber gloves and use safety glasses when doing so.
Dissolve copper in hydrochloric acid to make a wash that helps speed up the rusting process. The best methods to dissolve copper in acid is to wrap a short length of the wire into the coil and submerge it in acid for around one week.
When you let the copper soak, don’t cap the bottle tightly. There is gas produced during the chemical reaction that leads to pressure to build inside. Make sure you clearly label the bottle and keep it away from the reach of kids and pets.
You can also use copper coins, you just need to make sure that the content is majorly in copper. For example, pennies that were made after 1985 only have 2.5% of copper in them. But the ones made before 1982 had 95% of copper in them.
Next, you have to dilute the copper in a mix of acid and water. Once you find the copper dissolve into the acid, wear protective gloves to remove the metal from the acid-water mix. Discard the content and mix acid and water again. You need one part of acid with 50 parts of water for this. For example, if you add 60 ml of the acid, you will need to add 3.8 liters of the water.
Now you need to clean the iron or steel thoroughly. Your copper and acid solution will work well only when the metal is clean. There are many commercially available products created for cleaning scales or corrode metal. But a simple rinse with soapy water will pretty much do the trick.
Apply a mild layer of acid solution on the metal and let it air dry. You can add acid to it by using a spray bottle or a paintbrush. Make sure you use a bottle that doesn’t get deteriorated by the acid. You must use gloves and a pair of safety glasses all the time. Work on this method in a ventilated area or outdoors to not suffocate yourself.
Finally, you need to wait and watch how the metal rusts. It will take around an hour for you to see noticeable changes. You don’t have to wipe away the acid – it will slowly come out on its own. If you want a heavy layer of rust, apply another coat of acid mix.
Method 2: with Hydrogen Peroxide
Take the metal object out to the yard and open your garage. You need direct sunlight to speed up the corrosion. Moreover, when you add vinegar with hydrogen peroxide, it will create moderate levels of fumes. You need a ventilated space for this anyway.
Step 2 (optional)
If you have a painted metal, you need to apply a stripper all over the object as per the manufacturer’s guide. This will help you take out the layer of color. If there are a fleck of paint still left, you need to scuff it off with a scaper.
Sand the entire surface lightly with grit sandpaper and shed the protective coating that might be preventing the metal from rusting. Place the sanded object at the center of a plastic bin that you rest on the hard ground or the flat workspace in your garage.
Use goggles and gloves to keep yourself protected from splash as you pour white vinegar into a spray bottle. Now use the liquid to spray the metal generously. You must air-dry the object under the sun for five minutes or a little more, depending on the size of the metal. When it dries, you will find the metal corrode due to the acid and then find rust appear.
Next, mix two cups of hydrogen peroxide with five tablespoons of white vinegar. Add one tablespoon of salt and mix the solution. Add it to the spray bottle and shake it – this will help the salt dissolve.
Spray the solution all over the metal you want to rust and coat it well. The hydrogen peroxide content will start to bubble when in contact with metal and it will form rust instantly.
Allow the effects to show after five minutes. A single application of this solution will be able to rust a small metal object to a patina. If you think that bigger ones need more of the solution, add accordingly. You can add the solution up to four times to get desired results.
Take out the rusted metal from the bun and add water to dilute the remaining solution. Discard the content in the bin.
Finally, add a thin coat of clear acrylic sealer and rust the object.
These are the two distinct ways that give you the solution on how to rust metal. It is time, you choose the one that suits you and make sure you take necessary precautions to do so.