Remove Rust

Remember last week’s post about succulents where I linked to a post on aging a tin can? This may seem a little odd, but today’s post is the opposite: how to remove rust from metal.


About 20 minutes away from my house is a cute junk store called Star Mill. It is an old mill that has been turned into a store full of old things. Some things are “antiques” and some are just old. That said, it is a fun place to walk around and shop. Well, on Friday and Saturday last week they had a special sale. They were opening up two parts of the store that aren’t normally open: the garage and the old house. Even though I really didn’t have money to spend I thought I should probably go look and see what they had. After perusing for a while I found some old industrial bread pans. I had seen these somewhere before and thought they were great so I decided to ask how much they were. Turns out it was $3! Naturally I had to get it to use in my window well garden.

I really liked how aged the pans looked but they were pretty rusted on the inside. I was afraid they would rust out with constant watering. So, remembering we had to remove a little rust from our car once upon a time, I decided to find our de-rusting supplies. It worked out pretty well!

Here is what I did:

The supplies I used were designed for removing rust from cars but they worked great. I used Rust-oleum Rust Stripper and Rust-oleum Undercoating.

First, I squirted the rust stripper into the pans. If you do this be sure to wear gloves! I also wore a mask because it smelled awful and I wasn’t sure if it was good to breath it in either. You can actually see the reaction happening in the photo below without any effort on my part (all the white foamy stuff).

Then I took a rag and rubbed the goop all over the inside of the pans where I wanted the rust removed.

You can see a lot of the rust has already been removed. You are supposed to let the goop sit for about 10 minutes before rinsing, so I did.

Then I rinsed it thoroughly.

Not too bad right? It didn’t remove everything on the pans but it got the important stuff. At this point I wasn’t really concerned that it was going to be problematic.

To protect the pans from further rusting I used the undercoating. I liked the rust on the outside of the pans so I didn’t remove that, just the stuff on the inside. This undercoating was black, otherwise I would have sprayed it all over the pans. Instead I just coated the inside of the pans and let it dry.

Voila! After that I potted up some more succulents :)

It really wasn’t entirely necessary to remove the rust but I figured the pans would last longer. I really love how the succulents look in these pans, especially with the rusty colors on the outside. I may even stand it up eventually for a vertical planter. Or, maybe I’ll just leave it flat and try to grow some more cuttings. So many options!

Here are a few close ups of the succulents in these pans.


2 Responses to Remove Rust

  1. You take the most exquisite pictures! What kind of camera or lens do you use? I could use your photos on my wall, they are that beautiful! Of course, succulents are the most beautiful of plants, in my opinion.

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I'm Cassidy, a professional photographer turned succulent addict and the author and photographer here at Succulents and Sunshine. This is me with my wonderful husband and super cute baby!

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