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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Tutorials & DIY

Vintage Fruit Crate “Cart”

One of my favorite “time wasters” is perusing Instagram and lusting over gorgeous photos of farmhouse decor in inspiring homes… think Joanna Gaines and her ilk. I get so many ideas and so much inspiration for our own home, but the thing I always wonder is, where is all these people’s STUFF?? Because if your family is like mine, there are shoes and socks tossed on the floor inside the front door, piles of mail on the entry table/ counter and a cabinet full of DVDs in family room, none of which are cute OR inspiring. We are a REAL family and we have STUFF, which doesn’t keep me from TRYING to have a cute or inspiring home.  I am just trying to find places that might look cuter to keep our stuff.


Not too long ago I spotted a post by one of my fav Instagrammers, Donna of FunkyJunkInteriors, who had repurposed some old wooden crates into a neat little “cart” of sorts to serve as a side table in her living room. I immediately thought of the PILE of vintage fruit crates I insisted we move (twice) because “they are cool and I can do something with them,” AND the unsightly pile of cookbooks I inherited from my Mother, that has been sort of haphazardly sitting in a weird space in our family room until I could figure out what to do with them. LIGHT BULB MOMENT!! I could make my own cart to store the cookbooks, it would be functional and cute and fit with our farmhouse decor! I ran the idea by my hubby who was immediately on board, (I think he envisioned a few of those crates leaving his work space) and we headed to the hardware store for supplies.

I scrubbed the crates with mild soapy water and the jet attachment of our hose and left them to dry in the sun. One dry I gave them a coat of poly sealer to bring out the pretty wood and make them easily wipeable. Once they dried it was as easy as screwing the crates one on top of the other and attaching casters to the bottom. I chose rubber all direction casters so it would roll easily and not scratch up our wood floor any worse than it already is. We chose to add a piece of barn wood (cut to seize) to the bottom to reinforce the bottom and really give the caster screws something to hold onto.


And voila!! A cute little cart ready to hold cookbooks!!


This is only a FRACTION of the cookbooks I inherited.. there are larger ones on a bookcase and I forced myself to really PURGE to what I thought we would use. I love how it turned out and how handy it is. I think I will make another one for the art studio. Where would you use this?

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