Skip to Content

How to Age Galvanized Metal

I may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post. Please click my Disclosure Policy to learn more

Ageing galvanized metal is easier than you think. This method is chemical-free and requires only three 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 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 needed to get the job done. 

How to age galvanized metal.

Materials need:
bucket sandpaper vinegar

First, you will 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 taking these next steps in a plastic tub. One, to keep 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 will 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 burning—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 looking 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 that I checked the bucket every hour and added vinegar to the rag each time. I wanted to make sure the rag stayed wet. 

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

That was it! 

Below is the finished product. I love the results! The edges were aged to perfection, and the back had the ideal amount of rust. 

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

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

Materials need:


  • use the sandpaper to scuff off your galvanized metal fully.
  • 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.

Can’t Get Enough DIY? Check out these Articles:

Making New Look Old – Life On The County Line

Thursday 3rd of January 2019

[…] did make time, however, to try out my friend Cate’s (from over at West Magnolia Home) technique for antiquing a galvanized […]


Sunday 23rd of December 2018

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!! ~Emily


Wednesday 26th of December 2018

THanks Emily! Aren't they the cutest buckets? it was so easy to age them too!


Monday 17th of December 2018

This was exactly what I've been looking for Cate! I've looked at other methods, but this is something I actually have time for. Yay!


Tuesday 18th of December 2018

It's the easiest and took maybe 10 minutes of my actual time. Let me know how it works out for you!

Sharing is Caring

Help spread the word. You\'re awesome for doing it!