I recently came across some old tin boxes that were in pretty bad shape and I thought they would be a great item to keep for decoration. Seeing that they were neglected for so long they needed a good cleaning and polish to bring the colors of the labels back to life. This instructable will go through the easiest way to accomplish this and it can be used on any old tin items.
Things you will need:
cup or bowl of warm soapy water
a dry towel
Step 1: Grab Your Towel and the Warm Soapy Water
Put a little bit of dish washing soap into some warm water and mix it up. You want enough soap so that you have a pretty good amount of bubbles.
Dip your towel into the mixture and very lightly start wiping off any dirt and excess rust.
I also had a tag stuck on the lid of my tin that was not part of the original piece so I needed to take that off. I soaked the tag and let it sit for a few minutes. I then gently picked off the tag with my nail once the glue was loose enough from soaking.
Once you are done wiping down the entire item you need to make sure that you dry it very well to prevent any further rust damage.
Step 2: Applying the Oil
Soak the end of a cotton swab in the linseed oil. Lightly dab the oil on the area you wish to start at. You only need a small amount. Take a dry cotton swab and spread the oil around. Again you want to do this very lightly to avoid damaging and paint or labels that might be on your part. The colors should really start to pop once you do this!
The last picture is of the restored piece and the untouched piece. This process really works without damaging or affecting the antique allure of these boxes. I hope that this inspires more people to restore these little pieces of history!