Age metal to cre­ate an au­then­tic-an­tique look

Learn how to age metal to cre­ate an au­then­tic an­tique look in your home.


The older the an­tique,

the rarer and more ex­pen­sive it is.

But what if you don’t want to spend that much on your dé­cor? In her new book Res­cue, Re­store, Re­dec­o­rate: Amy Howard’s

Guide to Re­fin­ish­ing Fur­ni­ture and Ac­ces­sories, author Amy Howard shares her meth­ods for ag­ing, an­tiquing and restor­ing fur­ni­ture. “There’s no rea­son you can’t have a chair with a patina of age like the one at your fa­vorite restau­rant, or a dresser that’s as gor­geous as the one you’ve been cov­et­ing in the win­dow of that an­tiques store,” she writes. “Thanks to some amaz­ing be­hind-the-scenes chem­istry, we can now speed up the process [of ag­ing] from decades to hours and min­utes.” Here’s how you can age a gal­va­nized bucket to give it that charm­ing cot­tage patina.

What You’ll Need:

• Gal­va­nized buck­ets, one with em­bossed el­e­ment • Pro­tec­tive gloves

• Gen­tle de­greaser

• 2 or 3 clean, lint-free rags

• Small glass or plas­tic con­tainer (no metal)

• 1 bot­tle of zinc an­tiquing so­lu­tion • In­door-out­door stick­ers

• Scis­sors

• Plas­tic putty knife

• 1 book­let of gold leaf, trimmed to size • Wa­ter-based gild­ing size

• Round artist’s brush (#12)

• 2-inch (5-cm) flat bris­tle brush

• 1 pad of #0000 steel wool (op­tional)

What You’ll Do:

1. Oil is of­ten used to make cut­ting gal­va­nized sheet metal eas­ier. Us­ing a clean rag and a lit­tle de­greaser, thor­oughly scrub the inside and out­side of the bucket.


In the glass or plas­tic con­tainer, sat­u­rate a clean rag in the zinc an­tiquing so­lu­tion (don’t for­get to wear gloves). Squeeze out the ex­cess, and then pat the en­tire sur­face with the zinc so­lu­tion. It is best to hold the bucket at a 45-de­gree an­gle as you work your way around with the rag, rub­bing in cir­cles to cover the sur­face and to work in any drips. The shiny ar­eas will start to dis­ap­pear. Con­tinue un­til the out­side of the bucket looks com­pletely matte black or dark gray.


Let the bucket air-dry. Af­ter about 15 min­utes, the piece will be­gin to dry to a beau­ti­ful dustygray fin­ish, be­cause the pati­na­tion process has changed the metal. Let the bucket dry com­pletely (about 15 more min­utes), un­til there are no dark ar­eas left. Re­peat step 2 on the inside of the bucket.


Trim the sticker if needed. Re­move the sticker back­ing, and care­fully roll the sticky side onto the up­per half of the con­tainer in your pre­ferred spot.


Us­ing a plas­tic putty knife, bur­nish the sticker, press­ing it well so that it ad­heres with­out bub­bles. Re­move the back­ing.


To gild an em­bossed el­e­ment on the large bucket, dip the tip of an artist’s brush in the gild­ing size. Brush the size only on the raised ar­eas (I did the num­bers and the bor­der around them). Af­ter about 15 min­utes, the size so­lu­tion will turn from milky-white to clear. Test the size to see if it has come to tack by touch­ing it with your fin­ger; you’re look­ing for a gen­tle pull.


Once the size has come to tack, ap­ply a trimmed-to-size sheet of gold leaf. Hold­ing the gold-leaf book­let taut at the folded por­tion of tis­sue pa­per near the spine on one side and at the other edge as shown, place the gold leaf against the sur­face and slowly pull away the sin­gle folded tis­sue sheet near the spine. Bur­nish the tis­sue pa­per side of the book­let by press­ing with your fin­ger­tips in one di­rec­tion to at­tach the gold-leaf sheet be­low to the size, and pull the book­let away. Re­peat, over­lap­ping the edge of each leaf, un­til the de­sired ar­eas are cov­ered in gold leaf.


Let the size dry com­pletely (about an hour af­ter you ap­plied it). Gen­tly swipe away any loose shards of gold leaf with the flat brush.


If you would like to dull the shine of the leaf to age it, rub gen­tly with the steel wool. Buff with a clean rag.

Once you’ve aged a bucket, you can add ad­di­tional em­bel­lish­ments to it, such as stick­ers or gild­ing to an em­bossed el­e­ment.

Res­cue, Re­store, Re­dec­o­rate: Amy Howard’s Guide to Re­fin­ish­ing Fur­ni­ture and Ac­ces­sories by Amy Howard, pub­lished by Abrams,© 2018; abrams­

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