How to Antique Cast Iron

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Cast Iron is a dark metal mostly known for its use in the making of cooking skillets and kitchen appliances. Some cast iron is also used to make rustic furniture; especially outdoor pieces of decorative furniture for patio and lawns. Sometimes cast iron is used to make decorative works of art, and can be used outside as well. To antique cast iron is to give it an aged appearance. Cast iron is an extremely durable metal, but with a few steps, it can be made to look antique.

Things You'll Need

  • Sharp tool
  • Hammer
  • Tarps
  • Chemical antiquing solution
  • Plastic gloves
  • Chemical fumes mask
  • Old rag
  • 320 grit sandpaper
  • Electric sander
  • Dust mask
  • Clean paint brushes
  • Tack cloth
  • Paint
  • 150 grit sandpaper
  • Clear varnish
  • Crackle finish
  • Primer

Use the claw end of a sharp tool, like a hammer, to distress the surface of the cast iron. Place the cast iron on top of a tarp, or on a durable and strong flat surface. Hold one end of the cast iron, and with the other hand, bang the hammer along various surface sections of the piece being distressed. Pound the cast iron in random spots to make an uneven pattern and to give the cast iron a pock-marked appearance.

Put on plastic gloves and a chemical fumes mask, and over old newspaper, coat the cast iron using an old rag, with a generous amount of chemical antiquing solution. Follow the directions on bottle, and repeat until the desired antique finish is achieved.

Use 320-grit sandpaper--or for big pieces of cast iron furniture use an electric sander--to scratch at the surface of the cast iron and dull the finish in places. Wear a dust mask while sanding, and remove any metal dust accrued with a clean paintbrush or tack cloth.

Paint the surface of cast iron with any type of paint made for cast iron. Sand the piece in spots with 150-grit sandpaper once the paint is dry. Apply two coats of paint before sanding, if needed. Remove excess bits of paint with tack cloth. Use a clear varnish coating to seal in the distressed look, or simply leave the distressed piece outside to become further distressed by the elements.

Paint with a crackle finish directly onto the surface where you want cast iron to look antiqued. Crackle finish gives cast iron an aged appearance when dry. Lightly sand the surface with sandpaper, apply primer and let it dry. Use acrylic crackle paint made for metal, and follow the instructions on the bottle. Let it dry before applying a second coat. Use a clean paint brush to apply the crackle paint, and choose a light color that will show up on the dark surface of the cast iron.

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