How to Distress & Antique Tin

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Things You'll Need

  • Sandpaper

  • Bleach

  • Apple cider vinegar

  • Glass container

  • Piece of rusted tin

Rusting your tin items can give them an antique appearance.
Image Credit: Hemera Technologies/ Images

If the furniture in your house leans toward a shabby chic style, the tin accessories should match. Including bright and shiny new tin in an otherwise vintage-styled house results in a mismatched look. The tin may appear to be painfully out of place, or the other items may suddenly look more shabby than chic. Antiquing and distressing tin is different than doing the same for furniture. The process typically involves accelerating the tin's rusting process rather than sanding off some paint.

Step 1

Sand off any paint that you do not wish to remain on your finished tin item, if applicable.

Step 2

Mix 1.5 parts bleach with 1 part apple cider vinegar in a glass container. You should make enough of this mixture to completely cover the item you wish to antique. For a lighter layer of rust, omit the bleach and use only apple cider vinegar.

Step 3

Place a piece of already rusted tin into the mixture in the container. This is not necessary, but may help you achieve a faster result.

Step 4

Place the tin item you wish to distress into the bleach and vinegar mixture. It should begin rusting almost immediately if you used bleach. If not, do not expect to see rust while soaking the item. Leave the tin item in the mixture for approximately 30 minutes.

Step 5

Remove the tin item from its bath and allow it to air dry. It should be turned in such a way that no pools of the mixture can accumulate. For example, if you are rusting a bowl, turn it upside-down so it does not retain the mixture in the bowl portion.

references & resources

Morgan O'Connor

Morgan O'Connor has been writing professionally since 2005. Her experience includes articles on various aspects of the health-insurance industry for health-care newsletters distributed to hospitals as well as articles on both international and domestic travel.