How to rust metal instantly

This is a simple tutorial to teach you how to rust metal quickly, reducing the time for a process that usually takes days or weeks to accomplish. If you’ve ever wanted to add that extra realistic touch of rust to an architectural model or create an aged look for any design but not had the time, these steps will help cut down the timeframe and assist anyone achieve just that!

Things you will need:

  • Rubber Gloves
  • Metal (Iron)
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Clear Sealant
  • Tub
  • Vinegar
  • Salt
  • Paper Towels

Note: This will only be effective for metals that contain iron in them, therefore this will not work for aluminium, copper, brass, stainless steel, etc.


Firstly, put on your rubber gloves! As you are dealing with irritating liquids like acid and bleach it’s better to be safe than sorry.


Get the piece you wish to rust ready. This will not work on any metal that is not designed to corrode (such as stainless steel or if it is galvanized), iron works most effectively.


Put the piece of metal into a tub, as this is where you will pour in the other liquids for the reaction to take place.


Pour in the vinegar so that it covers the whole piece of metal. Let the metal soak in it for approximately 15 minutes.


Pour out the vinegar and you should see the metal begin to react a little bit with the air once it starts to dry, it’s beginning to oxidise!


Add Hydrogen Peroxide so that it covers the whole piece, just like what was done with the vinegar.


Next, sprinkle salt on top of the metal, this is where you will start seeing the piece foam up and change to a rusty colour.


The reaction is taking place, this is how it looks after 10 minutes of sitting in the mixture. The longer you leave it in the more rusted it becomes.

After around 1 hour the liquid will have turned into a dark red colour and the metal will be covered in foam from the reaction.

Take the metal from the mixture and pat it dry with a paper towel. Do not rub at it too hard or else the rust will risk coming off.

Now leave the rusted piece to oxidise further in the open air, you can leave it for 10 minutes if you are in a rush or overnight for the best results.

After you’ve left the metal to oxidise to your liking, the final step is to spray on some clear sealant so that the rust will not rub off anywhere.

You should have achieved a rather rusted piece of metal based on how long you left it to oxidise. You can now use the finished piece to complete your project or design with the texture and detail you desired. Here is a comparison on the change that occurred in only a 1.5-hour timeframe!

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