plating, anodizing, & finishing Q&As since 1989
Altoids' Tins: How to Decorate with Rust
RFQ: I am looking for a custom tin for my client, a large liquor manufacturing company for a new product. Do you produce custom orders? This would be large quantity.Scott Petersen
- Jacksonville, Florida
June 25, 2022
privately respond to this RFQ ^
Ed. note: As always, gentle readers: technical replies in public and commercial replies in private please (huh? why?)
⇩ Closely related postings, oldest first ⇩
Q. Anyone have any suggestions on how to rust small tins, like Altoids? I want to make them look old.Margy Houtz
- Los Olivos, California USA
A. I would suggest that you rough up the surface a bit with sandpaper and then wet them well with a salt water solution. Put them outside in a damp environment. Repeat the process until the desired effect is achieved. Question: are they made of tin or aluminum? Good luck.Jim Fergusson
- New Orleans, Louisiana
A. Try soaking them in water with a bit of table salt & Clorox (sodium hypochlorite) added to it. It won't take too long to severely corrode them, so keep an eye on your process!Dale Woika
Surface Conversion Sciences - Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, USA
A. I work at the main factory that makes all the Altoids tins. We made 135 million last year; they are not made of tin or aluminum just plain steel. If you want to make them look old put them in coke - not the coke you sniff but the coke you drink. We made all the heart shape tiny tin and big tin . We have made Altoids tins for the white house with the seal of the president on them. They will be very rare as we only made about 1000. We also make the new sour press top tins for the same firm that make Altoids mints. We also make most of the tins that whisky is sold in.Stephen Daniels
- Mansfield, Notts, England
A. I just did this,
1st, use sand paper wherever you want the rust. The tin has a protective coating.
2nd, mix equal parts of vinegar [in bulk on eBay or Amazon affil links] and bleach [adv: bleach/sodium hypochlorite in bulk on eBay or Amazon] (outside) use enough to cover the area.
3rd, soak the tin in the vinegar and bleach. This only takes a few minutes.
Beware this stinks! Also, this mixture will rust any tin, copper and brass -- any metal really. It's a lot of fun (you can get an instant patina on copper).
After the tin starts to darken, toss out the liquid and let it dry. In a day or 2 you'll have lovely red rust ...
- ukiah California USA
March 6, 2010
Ed. note: Don't forget the warnings about how dangerous it is to mix bleach with acids, even vinegar.
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