How to Age Galvanized Metal

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How to age galvanized metal is easier than you think. This method is chemical free and only requires 3 extremely simple steps. 

galvanized bucket

I bought this cutie galvanized bucket the other day while I was at Target. It’s adorable, however as much as I do love shiny things, this metal was just a wee bit too shiny for my taste. 

How do you fix that? Well, you DIY it!

On Pinterest follow  My Pinterest Page there are many different ways to age galvanized metal. I was looking for the one that required the least amount of effort and material. Basically, I wanted to find the lazy girl DIY to aging galvanized metal.

I could have done what Justin suggested and tossed the bucket outside in the cold and rain letting it weather itself. Sure that actually would have required no effort whatsoever, but I’m impatient! Immediate results were required. 

I decided to try the vinegar on galvanized metal method first. It seemed to be the easiest way and I had all the supplies I need to get the job done. 

How to age galvanized metal.

Materials need:
bucket sandpaper vinegar

First, you are going to take your sandpaper and scuff up the entire bucket especially the edges. 

Sanding the bucket will remove the topcoat protecting the shiny finish. Thus allowing the vinegar to work its magic.

I used 100 grit sandpaper, but I’m sure any grit you have on hand will do the job.

galvanized bucket

Next, take your rag and soak it entirely in the white vinegar.

This gets messy so I’d advise doing these next steps in a plastic tub. One, to contain the vinegar from dripping everywhere and two, to save your sink from any potential damage. 

Also, you might think about lighting a candle. Or putting the plastic tub outside  After a few hours, the vinegar smell will get to you.

Once the rag is soaked in the vinegar take it and drape it over the bucket.

You’ll want to make sure to rub it on the bucket so that the vinegar is fully touching the whole thing. This is how we are going to see the aged galvanized metal come to life.

Finally, you wait. Grab a snack, watch some Netflix or take a nap (but not if you have a candle going, safety first!).

You want the bucket to sit for at least 4 hours, that was my magic number.

Honestly, it’s up to you depending on the look you are going for. If you want your galvanized metal to have some serious age with rusting, try the 4-hour mark. If you only looking for slight aging, start at an hour and check the process periodically. 

I do want to mention I checked the bucket every hour. Additionally, adding vinegar to the rag each time. I wanted to make sure the rag stayed wet. 

I removed the vinegar rag,  then used a clean rag with a little water on it to wipe the bucket down. 

That was it! 

Below is the finished product. I love the results! The edges were aged to perfection along with the ideal amount of rust on the back. 

It was the exact amount of age I was looking for. And come on, How easy was that?

aged galvanized bucket
aged galvanized metal bucket

Recap: DIY Aged galvanized metal

Just to give you the cliffs notes version of this DIY method of aging galvanized metal, here it is:

how to age galvanized metal

Materials need:


  • use the sandpaper to fully scuff of your galvanized metal.
  • place your metal in the plastic tub
  • fully soak the rag in vinegar
  • place the soaked rag on the metal, making sure it is wrapped tightly
  • wait about 4 hours, checking your metal every hour to monitor the desired amount of aging.
  • remove the rag when you are happy with the aging results.

Final Thoughts- Aging galvanized metal with a vinegar

I have to say I was a bit skeptical. I saw a few other galvanized metal aging methods involving harsh chemicals so I was unsure how a chemical-free method would turn out.

It’s safe to say vinegar did its thing. 

AND talk about little effort. I think the hardest part of this whole process was waiting for the vinegar to age the metal!

If you are looking for a natural, chemical-free way to age galvanized metal, then this is the way for you.

5 thoughts on “How to Age Galvanized Metal”

  1. Love this so much!!! I did the same thing to some target dollar spot buckets in the fall. Such a fun, and super easy idea!! Looks amazing!!

  2. Pingback: Making New Look Old – Life On The County Line

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