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Looking to add more old world patina to your decor?  Try this fun method for how to age metal using vinegar, and see how I took a brand new shiny candelabra and gave it some old world patina.  It’s like it came from a French fairytale!  (Be sure to check out the before and after!)

*Also reviewing my friends new book, French Vintage Decor and sharing her fun drippy candle technique to make my candelabra look even more legit!

Vintage candelabra on bedside table

For years I have been on the hunt for a vintage candelabra – you know, the ones that look like Lumiere from Beauty and the Beast?  But every time I would finally run into one at antique stores, the prices . . . well . . . not in my budget.

I decided to go ahead and buy a new, more affordable one on Amazon, when I saw a project I wanted to do from a book I want to share with you today – French Vintage Decor, by Jamie Lundstrom (blogger at So Much Better with Age).

French Vintage Decor book review

*This post contains my affiliate links.  Thank you!

The project I wanted to try was a drippy candle technique.  The problem being, I didn’t have a cool vintage candelabra – hence my reason for buying one and the desire to add some old world patina.

aged patina on a new candelabra

This project was definitely easier to demo and explain to you in video, so take a few minutes to watch what I have for you below.

I wasn’t actually sure if this vinegar soak would work on this silver aluminum nickel candelabra, but decided to give it a go . . . in the name of science . . . and for French Vintage lovers all across the globe. 

It took a few more steps to get it to where I wanted it to be, but check out this incredible before and after!

before and after of how to age metal technique

I was using this genuine vintage French pitcher as my inspiration to try and achieve the look I was after, which was a darkened dull metal with uneven blackening throughout.

candelabra next to vintage French style pitcher

Let me show you how we did it!


The supplies you need for this project are minimal.

  • New Metal
  • Glass Container
    • Make sure it is big enough and deep enough to submerge your pieces.
  • Distilled White Vinegar
    • Get enough to completely submerge your metal pieces.
use vinegar to age new metal



If you can dissemble your pieces, that will work best and use less vinegar.  Then simply pour the vinegar over the metal and place it where it will not be disturbed.

how to age new metal with vinegar

Then the hard part . . . to wait.

We kept checking on our metal, and ended up waiting a week before dumping the vinegar out.  I was unsure if it had worked, but we found that it started to darken and dull as it sat out longer.

new metal soaked in vinegar to age metal

A lot of the yellowing that you see above will actually rinse off, but the metal was noticeably darker and duller than it had originally started.

However, I wasn’t quite done with my experiment.


While the vinegar did a fair job at dulling and darkening the metal, we decided to take it one step further with muriatic acid, to try and achieve the darkening and chippy metal look we were after.

use muriatic acid to age new metal


We first tested the results on a couple of small pieces.  I loved the chippy metal look, so we decided to pour it over all the candle pieces.

chipped metal finish on how to age new metal

Once we poured the acid over the metal, it bubbled and began to work very quickly.

muriatic acid aging new metal for an old world patina

We placed the pieces in a glass container full of water, until we could move them to a place to wash them better.

metal in muriatic acid

In hind site, we wished we would have worked with the pieces one at a time in the acid to be able to control the process a bit better.  We did end up getting darker spots in areas that were left in the acid longer.

before and after of how to age metal technique

But overall, we were so pleased with the results!  You would never guess this new candelabra wasn’t century’s old.

vintage candelabra on mantel

Once we put it back together, we tried our hands at the drippy candle technique as explained in French Vintage Decor.

drippy wax on candle holder
Drippy candle technique in French Vintage Decor book

I’ve had the opportunity to meet and enjoy the sweet company of Jamie, from So Much Better with Age on a couple of occasions.  Her book is such a delight (as is she) and the photography is stunning – but I would have expected no less from Jamie.

French Vintage Decor book

I hope you’ll grab yourself a copy of her book and try your hand at many of the French style projects found in the pages.

Will you let me know what you think of this aged metal technique, and be sure to tag me on social @camitidbits if you give it a try!  I would love to share your results!

how to age new metal

If you’ve enjoyed this tutorial and love all things vintage, feel free to also check out how I paint new wood to look vintage, and what I do with my drop cloths to make it look like old linen fabric.  Fabric, wood, metal . . . what’s next!?

Vintage patina on a new candelabra

If you loved this project, will you do me a favor and pin it so others can discover it as well?  You might also enjoy my Vintage Beauty Pinterest Board, full of things that make my granny heart happy.

Thank you so much for sharing!

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  1. Just be careful when using vinegar. I accidentally spilled some on my BRAND new vanity, then left for church. When I came home it had irreparable etched itself into our Venetian marble countertops.

    1. Oh no! That’s a nightmare story! Precious marble and all! I usually take vinegar outside anyway, because it stinks. Thanks for the heads up though, I had no idea.

  2. Thanks, will try these methods when i want to age some metal, any information i can obtain to help is appreciated.

    1. Chances are you will want to eventually Marlene 😉 . It was a really fun project to experiment with. Glad you enjoy it!

  3. Cami! This is amazing! I love how you’ve aged the metal, so genius. And I love the drippy candles with it. Thank you so much for your help in promoting my book!

    1. So happy to share! Sorry it took me so long to get there though! I just adore you my sweet French lovin’ Canada friend 😉 . Hugs back at ya!

  4. Do you think you would have had the same affect with simply using the muriatic acid, avoiding the vinegar step?

    1. Good question. I don’t think quiet the same. The vinegar did most the dulling work on the metal, and the acid chipped off the finish. I suspect you would just end up with shiny chipped metal, vs dull chipped metal.