Create Patina and Antique looking buttons

Lately I’ve been very inspired by an “antique” or “rustic” look whether it be interior decorating, taking photos, or even visiting an antique shop – I can’t help it. I’m OBSESSED. I would take an old weathered wood chair over something from Home Goods ANY day. I spent a lot of time browsing the web for anything “rustic” and I came across this blog entry.

They show you how to turn your metal rusty or that beautiful blue coloring when it’s weathered. I didn’t know it until now that the blue is called “Patina.” I’ve always loved this look but never knew there was a name for it!! Secondly, I thought I was a little odd for liking old rusty or patina things, but thanks to Pinterest I realize I am not alone!!

I chose some buttons from our La Mode line that are metal and decided I would experiment with them to see if this “Patina” effect could work.

metal buttons

How to turn your metal objects patina

The buttons I used were all La Mode and can be found at Joann Fabrics or your local craft store! Theses are the numbers in case you want to try this yourself!
From top to bottom in photo –
Top row: La Mode style #24800, #24790, #24815, #24789, #24576
Bottom row: La Mode style #24786, #24778, #24809, #27007*, #24814
(*this button was not affected by the mixture)


I followed these blog instructions of mixing vinegar and salt. I put them in the bowl with vinegar overnight but they were barely affected the next day.


A day or two later I decided to try again. This time I used a smaller glass bowl instead of plastic. Still using the same buttons I originally tried with – I put them in the bowl with vinegar and poured about 2-3 tablespoons of salt instead of the 1 tsp that the instructions called for. I let the salt “sit” on top of the buttons instead of mixing it around. I left it alone for 48 hours – and only because I went away for the weekend.

Since the buttons were actually new I think it just needed more time and more salt. The other blog used old keys but these buttons were by no means old. Which is why I think it needed a lot more time to weather in the mixture.


The mixture had foamed at the top, it was a little funny. I scooped them out with a fork and placed them on layers of paper towel. The buttons had some of the foam on them, but I left them that way and just let them air dry. You may only need to leave them to dry for a couple hours if you are doing this during the day. But I noticed the longer they sat, the bluer they looked! (I would also suggest to use an old fork or a plastic one! The mixture made my fork rusty!)

And the results…

rusty patina buttons

Other tips:
– Don’t rinse them with water, just let them air dry
– The drying process still brings out more of the effect, so let them air dry for at 24 hours or more
– Use a glass bowl instead of plastic, because it’s easier to clean
– If you do use a plastic bowl, use an old one you won’t want to use again
– If you try this yourself please share your results with us on Facebook!

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