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Test Your Metal

Test Your Metal

Lived-In Style shares its top five options for refinishing metal surfaces.

Lived-In Style

Old metal objects, like these vintage toy shovels, often need a little pick-me-up, whether that means taking away some rust or adding a fun new color. Check out these five fab treatments that our Lived-In Style team really digs.

Toy metal shovels in different finishes and colors.
  1. Powder coating: This ultra-tough, weather-resistant finish is often used on outdoor furniture, appliances and car parts. It is expensive but long-lasting. A local powder coater can give you a quote.
  2. Sandblasting: It strips metal bare, removes paint and rust and leaves a blank canvas on which to add paint, powder coating and/or polyurethane. Left untreated, bare metal will rust.
  3. Spray painting: This is an inexpensive option that's easy to do at home. For best results, apply a metal primer before painting. Or try Krylon Paint+Primer which was used on this yellow shovel.
  4. Polyurethane: To preserve its patina, this shovel was simply coated with polyurethane, which adds a lovely sheen and retards further rusting. Our go-to product: clear poly from Minwax.
  5. Wire brush: Attach a wire brush to a rotary tool (like a Dremel) to remove paint and rust quickly. This method produces a shinier look than sandblasting.
  6. Untouched: This old red shovel hasn't been treated in any way; it's in the same condition in which it was found.

I recommend removing rust with Evapo-Rust. This rust remover is an environmentally-safe, water-based product that removes rust in minutes without any scrubbing or sanding. -Ki Nassauer

*As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

PHOTO Adam Albright