How To Use Hydrogen Peroxide To Reimagine Your Metal Hardware

It's the tiny details that make a one-off design project or a major renovation really sing. A fun and engaging part of interior design is choosing the color and shape of all the hardware that appears in the form of doorknobs, cabinet handles, drawer pulls, and faucets. Whether you're renovating the living room or building a treasure chest, a subtle but powerful way to alter the aesthetic is to reimagine some or all of your metal hardware. You can create a stunning, rustic patina effect on your hardware by faux-aging it using hydrogen peroxide and a few other ingredients. Aged hardware is a perfect accompaniment for a rustic-inspired home, though it can mesh with more contemporary decor styles too.

This hack works beautifully on pulls and handles that are made from iron or an iron alloy. There's an important difference between iron that's covered in rust, a dilapidated look most people aren't going for, and the creation of a patina, which adds character and depth. While this process involves rusting the iron at first, the final result of a pleasantly-aged piece of hardware can only come about if you apply the chemicals in the proper sequence.

How to age your metal hardware

We strongly recommend that you work outside for maximum ventilation, and to wear a mask, safety goggles, and rubber gloves. For this long supply list, you might be able to borrow some ingredients. The paint stripper and paint scraper are optional, but you'll need fine-grit sandpaper, a plastic container, white vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, salt, clear acrylic spray sealer, and spray bottles (one for vinegar only, and one for a mix of vinegar, peroxide, and salt).

If your metal is painted, strip it and remove any flecks with the scraper. If you're new to stripping paint, please note the right way to dispose of paint stripper. Sand the item to remove any coatings that will prevent the vinegar's rusting action, then pop the metal into your bin. Liberally spritz the whole thing with vinegar and let it rust for five minutes (or until dry). Swirl these three ingredients into the other bottle: 4 tablespoons of vinegar, 2 cups of hydrogen peroxide, and 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt. Agitate it until the salt dissolves, then spray strategic areas or coat the whole thing. The peroxide will foam up.

To create a richer patina, you can redo the process from start to end before sealing. The last step is to coat the now-dry hardware with your acrylic sealer. The seal will prevent the metal from discoloring whatever it comes into contact with, but won't disrupt the patina you created.