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Aging Galvanized Metal – DIY Antique Looking Chicken Feeder

Make a new chicken feeder look like an antique using white vinegar.  I was able to make this uniquely beautiful plate holder for my kitchen with just that.  Vinegar has so many amazing uses, but this one is for the crafty at heart.

I love the idea of filling a home with antique pieces and unique vintage items.  I’m not the type to have them from wall to wall, but I do love the character and warmth that a few simple pieces give to our home.

While perusing Pinterest one night I spotted a shabby chic antique chicken feeder used to hold dishes.  I knew instantly that I wanted one for my kitchen.  I loved the rusty industrial feel it had with the beautiful antique plates stored in it.  I spent a few months trying to find one on eBay, or at antique shops, but nothing that was even close to the one I first saw online.  I also came to the conclusion that if I actually did find what I wanted, that there is no way I would be willing to pay what they were asking for it at an antique shop.  I decided I would try my hand at creating an antique looking chicken feeder from a shiny new store bought feeder.

I purchased a new chicken feeder while getting horse feed at Fleet Farm.  I believe it was around $11.00, and had the right shape and style that I was looking for.  I did a little research and found a few different “recipes” or techniques for aging metals.  I first found this rusting recipe to make something look worn.  I tried it, but got no results at all.  I’m certain because my chicken feeder was galvanized metal that I needed a new technique.  The rusting recipe is, however, awesome for making clothes pins or safety pins looked aged, which I have done with it, but wasn’t giving me the results I was hoping for on my chicken feeder.

So on to attempt number two.  I also found out that regular old vinegar can age galvanized metal nicely.  The picture above shows the materials I used for my first attempt that didn’t work quite as well, but I wanted to show you the chicken feeder before it was “aged” so I included the picture anyway.  My second attempt was much more successful and even easier than the first.  This time I used my large plastic tote and dumped a 2 gallon container of distilled white vinegar into it.  Because I didn’t have enough to emerge the entire chicken feeder in the vinegar this process took me a couple of days.  I left the tote outside with the chicken feeder laying so that a large surface was in the vinegar for a good amount of the day, then I would just flip, and rotate it once in a while, until all of the feeder had been soaking in the vinegar.  I was amazed at how beautifully the feeder changed and aged into the perfect antique looking metal.  I used the plastic tote to ensure that my sink wouldn’t be ruined in case the vinegar and metal had some sort of reaction that would damage it.

So that is it!  If you want to make galvanized metal look aged, just soak it in distilled white vinegar until it has the appearance that you want.  The stamped looking finish will disappear completely and you get some beautiful rusty spots.  I was so pleased with how this turned out and adore it placed on my old sewing table that is right next to my kitchen sink.

In this photo you can see a spot in the center that must not have soaked long enough in the vinegar to change it.  That is the difference between the metal before and after which is pretty neat to see.  I decided to leave it because I liked the extra character that it added to the feeder.

The feeder works perfectly with dessert sized plates that fit snugly in between the metal triangles.  I love how pretty my simple white plates look against the rusty and aged metal feeder. The feeder is wonderfully sturdy and holds 8 plates with ease.  I use this mostly for drying my small plates and put a towel in the bottom of the feeder to collect water that drips from them.  I did not seal it and am worried it would rust further if I left water sitting it for some time.

This works so beautifully as a way to set out serving plates for get togethers, and looks simply adorable next to a dessert or hors d’oeuvre table.  Guests can easily grab a plate and fill it with all of the treats you have for them.

It makes the perfect silverware, napkin, and plate caddy as well, and I cannot wait to use it for our first barbeque of the summer.  It has the perfect little nooks for forks, spoons, knifes, napkins, plates, or even condiments.  Whatever you want organized beautifully with some shabby chic style  will look great in an aged chicken feeder.  I could even see the top opened and the bottom lined with paper and filled with popcorn or snacks for an outdoor movie night.

I have been contemplating making another one for my bathroom to organize brushes, hair stuff, and makeup.  There are a whole lot of neat things that I could do with this little chicken feeder throughout the house.  I would say, for the $13.50 that this cost me to make, that this antique looking chicken feeder will be well worth every penny.  Especially considering the price I would pay if I found a real antique feeder that fit the bill.  I’m sure it would be well over my $13.50 DIY project.  It is one of those things that I see and use everyday and I really love the way it adds a rustic and old world feel to our  kitchen!

6 thoughts on “Aging Galvanized Metal – DIY Antique Looking Chicken Feeder

  1. Hi I was wondering if you could supply me the name of the company to purchase the feeder from?
    Thank you very much
    Love this!!

    1. I purchased my feeder from Fleet Farm and it is made by ‘Farmers Market’ and called a medium trough feeder. Here is the link to the exact one that I purchased:

  2. What a fabulous idea and I wish I could be so lucky as to find one of those myself! Your plate holder looks great and I have this linked to my DIY galvanizing post too today!

  3. Thank you for taking time to experiment with aging metals. I want to age a new galvanized roof turbine to be used to make a light fixture. Thanks to you I wont have to use trial and error:)

  4. that is great!!!
    thanks for tips.


  5. Thanks for the info. I work with wire and wondered how to get it to look old and
    used. I will give this a try! Thank you again!!!

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