10 DIY Metal Finishings You Can Apply At Home

The result of submerging metal product in vinegar.

1. Vinegar

While soaking metal in vinegar is a well known way to remove rust, it can also be used the change the appearance of galvanized metal. Galvanized metal is steel with a thin layer of zinc oxide on top. By submerging your metal product in vinegar the shininess of some the material will be removed and you will end up with an old, rustic looking finish. Test it out on your own at home and see what you come up with.

2. Lacquer or Enamel Spray Coating

Pick up a spray paint can of lacquer or enamel from your local Ace or Home Depot hardware store to give your metal product a hard, protective coating. A lacquer is finish made of shellac dissolved in alcohol, or of synthetic substances, that dries to form a hard protective coating. Enamel is paint that air dries to a hard, usually glossy, finish.

3. Rusting (Oxidation)

If your want to naturally rust your metal project stick it outdoors in a moist environment and let Mother Nature take over. If your are looking for faster ways to rust your metal take a look at these 4 different ways to make metal rust.

4. Nail Polish

Nail polish can be a useful painting option when dealing with small and detailed metal parts. It also comes in a variety of colors which allows you to get creative with your metal project. Add a layer of lacquer or enamel spray coating after painting and you will have yourself a colorful and long-lasting product!

5. Bluing

Heat bluing or flame bluing is actually heat treating. Heating up pieces of steel with a torch can produce a variety of different colors depending on what temperature it is heated up at. If you don't want to use the heat method, you can find liquid bluing product at most of your local hardware and outdoor shops.


6. Powder Coating

Powder coating gives you one of the most economical, color-durable, and longest-lasting metal finishes available. And it can all be done at home. Pick up a powder coating DIY kit from Eastwood and starting painting from your garage or at your shop.

7. Sandblasting

Sandblasted and enamel coated metal art eagle.

Sandblasting is an effective way to remove and smooth out any foreign material from a metal surface. It has a similar effect to that of using sandpaper, but offers a more clean and even finish. It also gives your metal a sparkling finish. Over the years other materials have been developed to use in place of sand. These include steel grit, steel shot, glass and different abrasives. Take some time to find what sandblasting methods and types of equipment best suit your metal finishing needs.


8. Urine Bathing

Not that we expect you to try this method, but by submerging a steel metal product in urine will cause the material color to change to a gun metal brown and smoky look. Talk about cost effective!

9. Radial Brushing

Radial brushing is used to apply a grooved, spherical pattern to a piece of metal by applying slight pressure with an electric brush tool.  Create a stunning look when you paint the metal after applying the radial grooves, as they capture the paint particles and give you a wonderful colored, textured product.

10. Peen Finishing

A ball-peen hammer, sometimes called a machinist's hammer, is a good tool to work with when you are looking to chisel, rivet, bend, shape or texturize a piece of metal.


Check out the ball-peen hammer selection at Home Depot.


Share with us your own metal finishing techniques in the comments below.