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topic 12276

Rusting Stainless Steel


Hello everyone,

I am a faux finisher and I need to duplicate someone else's finish. I cannot figure out how they did it. I need to create a rust like finish, VERY quickly, on a stainless steel countertop. The s/steel has been sanded with 150 grit to prep. Most importantly this process has to be achieved within a few hours. I have spent the past week trying every recipe I could find on the web; vinegar, salt, peroxide, Muriatic Acid [linked by editor to product info at Amazon] and combinations thereof. No success.

While engrossed in experimenting, I failed to do my dishes and left a tin bread pan in my sink overnight. When I got up the next morning.... lo and behold... there was the effect I was trying to create! The bread pan had left rust marks in the sink. No stinky, dangerous chemicals.. just water and the bread pan. So, my questions are... how did it happen? how to I duplicate the process? can I speed the process up?

Thank you in advance for your help.

Michelle Jones
- Los Angeles, California


Hello Michelle!

I'd suggest you continue your experimentation, only instead of your bread pan use steel wool [linked by editor to product info at Rockler]: you can cut and shape the wool to the pattern you want. It shouldn't need to be thick; just enough to touch the stainless steel, and possibly thick enough to hold some water. Overnight should be enough time. Good luck!

lee gearhart
Lee Gearhart


I'd hazard a guess that ferrous sulphate would generate the stain you are looking for. It sounds like you're looking for iron staining, and that should do it quickly. At least when I've used ferrous sulphate for wastewater treatment it seemed to stain everything it touched :-)

Ted Mooney, Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Pine Beach, New Jersey

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