9 DIY Recipes For Rusty Hardware (27 Inspirational Pictures)

Brand new shiny hardware isn’t favored by those who collect antiques.  It can be a clear sign that something has been changed, or the originality is no longer authentic.  At the same time, finding the rusted out hardware online can be a challenge. The old patina found on antique hardware has a certain charm and appearance that many people prefer the rustic patina found in the old over the new.  We gathered the best 9 techniques from seasoned DIY bloggers around the net which spill their best secrets to creating aged looks which can be applied to new metal hardware.

1. Aging Brass With Ammonia Fumes

New brass often as a golden-tint, and over time, acquires a dark, almost bronze color as it ages. It can take many years for brass to age naturally, however you can speed the process up with ammonia to age the mental prematurely. Start by using steel wool or a wire brush to scrub the brass and remove any seal which might have been applied to the metal after it was forged. Don’t skip this step, as the metal won’t antique while the seal is in place. Place the hardware into a bucket. The next step is to acquire a glass jar or cup and fill it with ammonia. A larger amount of ammonia will work faster than a smaller amount. Put the ammonia-glass jar into the bucket, and put a lid on to the bucket, and press it firmly in place. Ammonia fumes will fill the bucket and begin to age the brass, causing a patina, with greenish coloring to form on the metal. Leave the brass in the bucket until the patina is where you would like it, and then simply remove the metal and wipe it off with a damp rag.

2. Boil Brass In Salt And Vinegar Then Bake In The Oven

“The mock key pulls had a shiny brass finish. I first soaked them in acetone to remove the clear sealer, wiped them off , rinsed in hot water, then boiled them in a mixture of salt and white vinegar. I used a ratio of one cup to one cup. After you boil them for 10 minutes, remove them from the vinegar and salt solution and place them on a baking sheet in the oven at 450 degrees for ten minutes. Please be cautious when working with chemicals and high temperatures!” Divine Theatre Blog

3.  Gun Darkening Solution- Dip It And Your Finished….

Old Town Home featured a post entitled ” Distressing Screws – Aging Hardware – How To Make New Screws Look Old”

” The secret to my success is something called Gun Blue. It’s made for what it sounds like — you put it on the steel barrel of a gun to turn the metal a dark black/blue. This solution turns the surface of the
steel it touches blue and makes things like screws look very aged. I bought a small container of this gun blue from a gun supply store nearly eight years ago, and I’m still using the same bottle. You can
purchase the substance on Amazon or through a variety of other gun accessory dealers.”

4. Aging Hardware With Jax Chemicals

Christopher Schwarz spilled his go to solution for aging hardware, which is Jax Chemicals.

“Jax makes a variety of formulas. I ordered the “Antique Rust” for the steel parts and “Jax Brown” for brass, bronze and copper, which I’ll report on some other time.  All the steel parts were coated with something – lacquer perhaps – and so I soaked the metal parts for an hour in lacquer thinner and then scrubbed them with a woven pad. (Safety note: all these solvents are nasty, especially lacquer thinner. Getting it on your skin is bad. Wear solvent-resistant gloves – the best you can afford.) Then, as per the instructions on the container, I applied the Jax solution with a stiff-bristled brush. And… nothing.

I scrubbed the parts some more and then dumped the parts in the Jax solution, which I had poured into a plastic cup (as per the instructions). It looked like something was almost happening in there. Still wearing the gloves, I fished the parts out of the Jax solution and took a bronze-bristle brush to the parts, brushing the stuff on with some prejudice. Bingo. The parts quickly turned a nasty blackish brownish color.”

5.  Age New Hardware With A Heat Torch

Liz from Loves Grows Wild, shows how to instantly age new hardware using a heat torch.

“Let me first say, that we took every safety precaution during this process, and I don’t advise doing this unless you are totally comfortable with it! Fire is not something to play with, my friend. Unless of course you need antique hardware stat, and then it’s okay : ) Make sure to be in a well-ventilated area (we were in our garage next to the open door) and use gloves and safety glasses. My husband used a pair of pliers to grip the brace and carefully applied heat using his torch until all the zinc coating had melted off the brace. It only took about 45 seconds to 1 minute to get the look we were going for. Make sure you use big enough pliers that you can keep your hand away from the heat! It doesn’t show it in these photos, but he ended up putting on a glove to protect his hand. Safety first! Once I was happy with the way it looked, we dropped the brace into a bucket of cold water to cool it down.”

6. Age Brass With Lemon Juice And Salt

Home By Alley reveals how to age brass hardware.

“To test if the hardware is brass or not, you can simply take a magnet and see if it will pick up the hardware. If it does NOT pick it up, it is real brass. If it does, it’s just brass plated.  In my case, my hardware was brass plated. For brass or brass plated hardware, there is a few method for renewing and cleaning the brass.

1/2 cup of salt to 1/2 cup of lemon juice… or whatever desired mix you have. Mix these two in the bowl together until you make sort of a “paste.” Dip hardware in for only a few minutes and use a brillo pad to clean all the excess grime off. In my case, I wanted to do the opposite. I wanted to take off SOME parts of the grime but not all to give it a truly AGED look.

7.  Aged Hardware Looks Using Vinegar, Hydrogen Peroxide and Salt

Lucy Designs Online spills how she gets the rusty patina for her hardware by using  vinegar, hydrogen peroxide and salt.

“I’ve tried lots of different combos for aging metal. I’ve dissolved bromine tablets in water then sprayed the metal…um, don’t bother, I’ve used straight bleach, straight vinegar and have straight up left stuff in the weather and rain. I’ve gotten pretty good results with all of them, except for the bromine.  I used the combo with the vinegar after loosely following these instructions I found online.By loosely, I mean I didn’t use a degreaser, I don’t measure, and I just kind of combine ingredients and see what happens after I have the basic idea.

Household Chemicals:

  • White vinegar (any brand)
  • Hydrogen Peroxide (3% — use a fresh bottle)
  • Table salt (any kind will do, doesn’t have to be sea salt)
  • Degreaser (any brand)


  • Measuring cup
  • Measuring spoons
  • Spray bottle

Comments From Instructables: (Aged Hardware Looks Using Vinegar, Hydrogen Peroxide and Salt)

“Simply amazing..! I have been looking for a simple, fast and environmental friendly method to patina some of my works and… wow! I found it. Thank you for such of a clear way to explained. Funny too.
I want to add my experience with this method. I live in south Florida where sun heat is good, but I wanted to accelerate the drying process and applied extra heat with a propane torch: unexpected and beautiful
results. Then I applied a few times more of the solution recommended and dry it again with the torch, obtaining (depending of the  heating time  and distance from the piece) different shades of brown. Also I sprayed on the plate (by mistake) black spray paint, and kept working with the torch and adding solution and drying it, obtaining excellent results.  Note: protect yourself with a proper mask for any possible fumes, aside of the rest of the recommended protection. I was working on 1/8 regular steel plate. At the end I sprayer with clear protector for metal and sanded to diminish the glossy finish. ”

Q: “I am wondering if at stage 5, if you rinse off the rust accelerator at anytime.  I cannot get my spray bottle to spray it on, so am applying with a large paint brush.  The rusting process is happening, but leaves
quite a residue on my work. My first attempt i washed it off and the rust came off with the water.
Any suggestions?? I wish to rust a steel item quickly, and finish it with a polyurethane spray.

A: You should not rinse it. Let it dry. Don’t touch it. It is very delicate at this stage. Once dry, you can spray it with poly. Work on getting your spray bottle to work. It gives much more even and controllable

8.  Lemon Juice + Bleach+ Vinegar + Salt Solution

To make new steel or brass parts look old, mix 2oz. Lemon or Lime juice,  2oz. Chlorine bleach, 2oz. Vinegar, and 1 Tablespoon of salt.  Mix well, and immerse parts in the solution for 30 minutes or longer, depending on how much you want to accelerate the oxidization. When you have the desired amount of oxidization, rub with steel wool. You can use some gun bluing or browning to tone the finish, then seal with clear.

9. Distress Galvanized Metal With Acid Toilet Bowl Cleaner

Stone Gable Blog shows us how to age galvanized metal, such as what they did to an oversized tub.

“Bobby scrubbed the toilet bowl cleaner into the metal with steel wool and we let it sit about a half an hour before rinsing it off. Please wear rubber gloves and take wise precautions! Because the toilet bowl cleaner was a gel, it did not run and streak.”  Consider also using Lime Away for rusty metal aging.

Noteworthy Links:

-Handles, Knobs, or Pulls: Which Type of Hardware Is Best for Your Room? Cabinet Hardware Ideas

-29 Of The Best Rustic Iron Hardware- The French Provincial Furniture

-Top 5 Online Resources for Purchasing Antique Hardware – Cabinet Hardware Ideas

-Faux Aged Steel Ikea Cabinet Inspired By Restoration Hardware- Simplicity In The South

– Meranda’s Furniture Hardware Pinterest page




Hickory White Chest

Yellow Chippy Paint With Antique Hardware

Yellow Chippy Paint With Antique Hardware

yellow chest with Jeremy from www.angeloantique.com

Yellow Chest With Jeremy from Angelo Antique

Original patina & Hardware - Visit onekingslane.com

Original patina & Hardware – Visit onekingslane.com

Rusty Hardware On A Painted Green Door

Rusty Hardware On A Painted Green Door Visit redbubble.com

Rusty Door Hardware On A Soft Green Door- katrina.soup.io

Traditional Symbols and Icons of India - Flickriver -

Traditional Symbols and Icons of India – Flickriver

Rustic Door Knocker

Rustic Door Knocker- manoir.nl


Old Door Handle, Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic Photography

Aged Hardware

Aged Hardware –Visit werandacountry.pl


A Vintage Chandelier Made Over - See How They Did It At Reloved Rubbish

A Vintage Chandelier Made Over – See How They Did It At Reloved Rubbish

Aged Ornate Brackets

Aged Ornate Brackets Look Wonderful With White Dishware

Aged Interiors

Aged Interiors From axel-vervoordt.com 

Aged Interiors

Aged Hardware From Flickr.com


Aged Hardware

Aged Hardware- Pinterest