Do you love the vintage, rustic look? Learn how to instantly age new hardware for your rustic decor with this tutorial!
Okay, so did you see the fabulous new chalkboard I made for my kitchen? (If you didn’t, you should totally go here and check it out!) I am 100% smitten with my rustic industrial creation, and I couldn’t be more proud that I DIY’ed it myself! With a tiny bit of help from my hubby perhaps : )
As promised, today I’m going to show you the corner braces on the chalkboard and how I instantly turned them from shiny new silver to gorgeous old patina.
* I want to note that since we shared this tutorial, we’ve discovered the harmful side effects of burning the zinc coating off these brackets and advise everyone to take extreme precaution if attempting this project. We worked in a very well-ventilated area and didn’t get sick in any way, but I want to make sure I state that burning zinc is unsafe, and I most likely won’t tackle this specific method again. Thanks for listening to my PSA!
I started with these corner braces (or L brackets) that I purchased from the hardware store. I wanted to add some detail to the chalkboard frame, and simple hardware like this is an inexpensive way to give your project that great industrial feel. I got these 4″ braces for only $3.97.
Sometimes bright, shiny silver is great, but on this project I wanted to keep that old, rustic look so I had to figure out a way to add some age to them quickly. I knew I had seen on the internet before using some kind of heat source or fire to age the metal, but of course I couldn’t find a good tutorial anywhere when I was looking for one. Plus, I really didn’t feel comfortable playing with fire and hot metal.
My sweet husband heard me mumbling about my conundrum and said, “You know I have a torch in the garage, right?” Let me tell you people, my husband almost NEVER willingly volunteers to help me with my projects (I usually have to beg and bribe him with food), so I was not about to pass up on this offer! Even though I had no tutorial to go off of and no clue what we were doing, I figured what’s the worst that can happen? I waste four bucks? Let’s go for it!
Let me first say, that we took every safety precaution during this process, and I don’t advise doing this unless you are totally comfortable with it! Fire is not something to play with, my friend. Unless of course you need antique hardware stat, and then it’s okay : ) Make sure to be in a well-ventilated area (we were in our garage next to the open door) and use gloves and safety glasses.
My husband used a pair of pliers to grip the brace and carefully applied heat using his torch until all the zinc coating had melted off the brace. It only took about 45 seconds to 1 minute to get the look we were going for. Make sure you use big enough pliers that you can keep your hand away from the heat! It doesn’t show it in these photos, but he ended up putting on a glove to protect his hand. Safety first! Once I was happy with the way it looked, we dropped the brace into a bucket of cold water to cool it down. Since the heat was only on the brace about a minute, it didn’t take more than a few seconds to get cool enough to touch.
And course I didn’t want awesome looking hardware with shiny silver screws, so we aged the head of each screw as well. Before we heated the last brace, we dropped screws into each of the holes and briefly applied the torch over each screw. We were afraid the screws might get stuck in the holes, but they came out perfectly when we flipped the brace upside down. Just like the braces, we dropped them in the water bucket to cool them down and repeated the process until all the screws were done.
Check out the GORGEOUS patina these braces have now! And all in under 5 minutes!
We took all the braces and screws out of the water and laid them on paper towels to air dry. You don’t want to rub the braces or that beautiful patina you created will come off!
When they were totally dry, I screwed the braces into the corners of my chalkboard frame.
So that’s my secret! We took brand new hardware and made it look like it had been on that frame for decades. This was a total DIY win!
For the full tutorial on my Rustic Industrial Chalkboard, click here.
So what do YOU think? Would you have kept the bright, shiny metal or gave them this aged, rustic look? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Check out these other rustic projects:
Let’s Keep In Touch!
P.S. I’m sharing this post at some awesome link parties… Check them out HERE!