Thursday, June 25, 2015

De-shining galvanized metal

In my last post (which you can find here), I wrote about my love of galvanized metal and my success with aging some of my bright, shiny new pieces using vinegar.
Today, I'm going to write about the failures.
Here's what I started with on the day of the de-shining: eight new containers (all picked up at thrift stores and garage sales) that I wanted to dull the finish on to give them a vintage, timeworn look.
I misted the pieces with vinegar and tried to continue turning and remisting them (for even coverage) for about 15 minutes. Then I rinsed them in water. I was working outside because, well, if you've ever smelled vinegar, you know why.
Most of the pieces (five of the eight), turned out perfectly. The shine was gone, leaving a beautiful flat finish.
But a few of the containers, including the two pictured above, were virtually unchanged after their vinegar bath. So I decided to move onto the hard stuff with them.
aging galvanized metal
Toilet boil cleaner: It's not just for toilet bowls anymore. It's also good for de-shining your galvanized metal. Or so I've heard.

According to the label, The Works is a mixture of 9.5 percent Hydrogen Chloride and 90.5 percent other ingredients. 
aging galvanized metal
I'm no chemist, but I'm guessing it's the Hydrogen Chloride that knocks the shine off of metal. Unless the "other ingredients" are Atrazine, Napalm and/or Hexavalent Chromium. Either way, I figured toilet bowl cleaner had to be more powerful than vinegar.

I spread the cleaner onto the still-shiny containers. And then -- and this might be where I went wrong -- I went inside to start supper. The plan was to come back outside to turn and recoat the containers in a couple minutes. 
But I may have gotten distracted and left a few too many minutes tick by before I got back outside. The good news is when I checked on the pieces again, the shiny coating was gone. The bad news is that the containers also had weird shiny stripes and rust spots on them. 
At this point, I wasn't sure if the shiny stripes were caused by that area being "underbaked" (so the shiny coating was still there) or "overbaked" (so not only the shiny coating but also the flat layer beneath it had been stripped off). Hoping it was the former, I spread more cleaner on the stripes. 
Turns out, that was a mistake. Almost immediately, I could see the weird stripes spreading and more rust spots developing. I rinsed the cleaner off as quickly as I could, but the damage was done. 

I blame my family. If I didn't have to feed them every day, I would have more time to focus on the important things in life like spreading toilet bowl cleaner onto metal containers, and this whole fiasco could have been avoided. Sigh...

Onto Plan B.
"When life gives you lemons, paint over them," I always say. So I sanded off as much of the rust as I could and raided my basement for supplies to whip up a quick batch of chalk paint. 

But first I finished making supper.
I mixed a couple tablespoons of Plaster of Paris with a couple tablespoons of water in an empty cottage cheese container from the recycling bin. (And just to clarify, I'm making chalk paint here, not Tuna Noodle Surprise. I don't take pictures of myself cooking because that would be weird.) 
I added about a half a cup of "other ingredients" (i.e. leftover white latex paint) to the Plaster of Paris/water mixture.
Then I painted the containers, inside and out.
 The chalk paint took a few coats to cover, but it dried quickly, so I just kept moving from one container to another until everything was covered. 
When all was said and done, here's what I had: five (there's a small bucket inside the beverage tub that you can't see) beautifully de-shined containers and three that were painted white.
The white pieces looked a little blah to me, so I pulled out some old stencils...

... and taped a couple of them onto the containers with painters tape. (I didn't have any stencils small enough for the little rectangular box, so that one didn't get any embellishments.)
 I used regular acrylic craft paint for the stencils.
 In case you were wondering about the significance of the 0 and the 3, there is none. 
I just liked how the numbers looked.
To protect the paint, I sprayed a couple coats of matte polyurathane onto the containers.
When I was finally done with the de-shining/painting/stenciling/polyurathaning process, I carried my supplies into the house and set them all on the kitchen counter. Then I called it a day and went up to bed.

My husband evidently cleaned up after me because when I opened the fridge the next morning to get the milk out, here's what I saw: