Home on the Range · Tutorials & DIY

How to Add Rust to a Project (on Purpose)

As many of you know, we live on a 5 1/2 acre ranch in the outskirts of Hollister, CA. We have a cute little house that we have (are) decorated in Farmhouse style which includes stone, wood, and metals.. including some rusty elements.

Recently my daughter decided to create a ranch sign in her shop class. In the high school’s new CTE department they are fortunate to have access to great equipment including a CNC plasma cutter. Since my daughter is a 3rd year student she is able to create her own projects and use the various equipment.

She designed this sign on the CNC computer program and had it cut out of sheet metal.

We know its a bit off center.. thanks to her teacher. LOL

This is after it sat outside for a week or so. It got misted and fogged on and started to rust but I wanted a much rustier appearance, so I wiped it down and then sprayed the entire surface with white vinegar and left it overnight.

Sprayed with white vinegar.
After leaving overnight.

You can see on the photo from the next day that the vinegar did a good job of encouraging the rust. It removed whatever coating might be left from production and machining. You can also see that our dog walked across it. LOL There are a few places it didn’t get much color, its very dark.
I wanted to encourage more rust so I mixed up a solution of:

  • 2 cups hydrogen peroxide
  • 1/2 TBSP table salt
  • 1/3 cup white vinegar

Simply shake the mixture up in a spray bottle making sure all of the salt is dissolved. Put on rubber gloves and spray over the surface of the metal.

The solution starts working immediately!
You can see how the solution creates a variety of colors and textures in the rust.
It literally changes in front of your eyes.

I did a couple of coats and sprayed the solution in some specific areas repeatedly until I was happy with how it looked. Once everything was completely dry, I sprayed the entire piece with a couple coats of acrylic sealer and then my husband hung it on the outside of our barn.


You could easily use this technique on any metal items though you might have to strip off a clear finish if they are store bought. If using IN your home, you will want to be sure to seal it very well and perhaps add felt or rubber bumpers so avoid any rust rubbing off onto furniture or walls. The possibilities are endless!

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Home on the Range · Mental Health

Caught off guard

“Instead, it’s pooling like groundwater. Polling underneath my skin, seeping to the surface here and there, now and then. Endlessly replenished. Easy to forget about, until it startles me with the depth of it. The usual suspects- cancer movies, weddings. And then there are times it catches me completely off guard,…”

Bethanny Chase, “The One That Got Away”

I read this passage last night and it had been knocking about in my head all day, just tapping away for me to spit out some thoughts and feelings. Believe me the feelings are THERE.. they run under the skin constantly as Chase describes in her book. So many writers are so good at describing what I struggle to put into words.


At first you can barely breathe, ever. Time passes and the feelings are always present but maybe they don’t show themselves on the outside as often. But for me, a little over 4 years later, while I think of my Mom daily, I don’t always find myself heaped in a puddle on the floor. There are the triggers as Chase mentions.. Yes, cancer movies. Yes, Mother’s Day commercials. Yes, milestones having to do with my daughter and all the things my Mom will miss about her only grandchild and namesake growing up.

It’s always there.. and then there are the days like today where I’m just caught off guard. Likely the book passage pushed me over the edge..but yesterday I was brought to tears by my daughter relating a story from her Spanish teacher assigning the simple homework assignment of “going home and hugging your parents”. Why? Her husband has cancer, and she is grateful that it is not spreading. She is grateful she still has him. I’d be grateful too and you can bet Hannah got an A on that assignment.

My advice to those going through the stages of grief has always been to allow themselves to FEEL the feelings. Go through the steps and remember that some day it really does get better. It DOES, I promise. But then there are days, like today, when you are just caught off guard, and thats ok too.

Home on the Range

Not really MIA

So there’s been a lot running through my mind as of late. I think that comes with kids heading back to school, the hustle and bustle of getting all the things ready and then trying to set yourself and your family on a new schedule.

Looking back I see the last time I actually published a post was well over a year ago, even though ‘I’ can see that there are several hidden drafts where I have written stream of conscious thoughts on parenting, grief and trying to cope with life. Maybe someday those ramblings will turn into actual posts but until then, I am going to try to incorporate some catching up on life posts with some of my fav posts from my old blog.

Friends know that I can be found more regularly on Instagram and on Facebook.. both under the Brush & Barnwood handle where I drop tidbits about what is going on in our lives here on our tiny ranch. This week we are in a mad dash to prepare for the Monterey County Fair where my daughter will be showing her FFA lambs this Friday and auctioning off her market lamb on Saturday. We learned a lot about people you can count on vs people you can’t while trying to get our sheep fitted for the fair and we owe a huge Thanks to our neighbor Shari for her help Saturday.

Hannah bathes her ewe, Belle.

Life in the art lane has taken a bit of a swerve.. I am still creating but I have mostly set down my paintbrush and markers in favor of a glass cutter and a roll of solder. Early this year I challenged myself to stake some stained glass classes and I might be kind of hooked! I REALLY look forward to my studio/ class time each week as not only do I get to make art but I get to spend time with other creative people too.

Stained class cow skull, before patina.

Gearing up for some BIG happenings over the next month or so, more later.