How to Restore Cast Iron Toys

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Don’t throw out a perfectly good collectible toy just because of a little rust. Cast iron toys can be collector’s items and a prize find at a garage sale or second-hand store. The orange rust crusted on an old piece of metal or ornamental iron work usually looks a lot worse than it is. As long as the rust hasn’t corroded through the iron, you have a good chance at salvaging the piece. Removing the rust can be done with the help of an acid wash. Take proper precautions when working with harsh chemicals.

Things You'll Need

  • Rubber gloves
  • Mask
  • Eye goggles
  • Phosphoric acid
  • Steel bristled brush
  • Spray paint
  • Scrub any rusted areas on the toy with a steel bristled brush. Remove as much rust as possible with the brush.

  • Sand the toys lightly with medium grit sandpaper to remove any rust that wasn’t removed with the brush.

  • Put on rubber gloves, goggles and a mask. Spray the cast iron toy with phosphoric acid. Find phosphoric acid at the hardware store. The acid will turn any unseen rust into a crust of iron phosphate. Let the acid work on the toy overnight.

  • Scrub the toy with a stiff bristled brush to remove the crust of iron phosphate.

  • Fill a bucket with clean water. Dip the toys into the water to remove any remaining chemicals from the surface. Dry with a towel.

  • Spray paint the toys with black spray paint for metal. Choose a paint that provides rust prevention. The black paint will serve as a base coat. Hold the paint eight inches from the toy. Spray in a steady back and forth motion, completely coating the toy. Let each coat dry to the touch before applying the next. Apply three to four coats of paint.

  • Add details and additional colors to the toy with a small artist's brush. Choose acrylic paints that are safe for metal.

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References

  • Photo Credit train to play with image by Ivonne Wierink from Fotolia.com
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