Instead of Once Upon A Time…

One Day At A Garage Sale…

I found this HUGE metal planter thingy. The seller asked what I wanted to pay and I just smiled. Before I could negotiate she offered up $5. Done. The size and beauty of this piece can’t be translated through my photos but I can tell you that another passer by practically jumped out of his car to persuade the seller to hand over my copper can!

Honestly, I hadn’t even noticed whether it was copper. Actually, I hadn’t really thought about it. I just knew that containers this size, even the plastic ones, run $20-$50 bones.

So after a few days of placing the planter here and there, it suddenly dawns on me that I need to clean this can!

My first inspection of the inside gave a hint as to what she might have been…

I spied a sweet spot in the middle of complete and utter yuk. Was it copper or brass?

I’d never had a reason to clean copper or brass so when I discovered that I had all the ingredients (in my kitchen) to make this pot pretty again, I threw caution to the wind.

The ingredients in this cleaner are pretty simple however the measurements are not precise. I was more like The Swedish Chef from The Muppets than I was Martha Stewart.

How To:

First I sprayed the area with white vinegar. Then I sprinkled a bit of baking soda on top of the vinegar. And finally I dumped a bunch of salt on top of the baking soda. A little more vinegar sprayed on and I was in the middle of a science experiment. It might have been smoking I’m not sure. Using warm water and a sponge I wiped away my homemade recipe and voila.

Can you see the difference? I know I’ll need to go through this process several more times to get down to real deal but in the meantime I’m enjoying watching this garage sale find morph into something more.

Question: So, what do you think, is this copper or brass?

I’m linking this project up here and here.

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11 Responses

  1. Keryn Means

    I’m going to say brass, but it could totally be copper. Thanks for the cleaning tip though. I’ve got some stuff I’ve let go WAY too long!

  2. cathy@My 1929 Charmer

    Stopping by from Nifty Thrifty. I didn’t know there was a natural cooper cleaner! I have several pieces from my mom that are in real need of a good cleaning! I like the way the piece looks now, old and new at the same time! So glad I saw you post link. My fingers are crossed you’ll share your creative
    inspiration tonight with Sunday’s Best – sharing is a good thing! I’m sure many would like to know about the cleaner!

  3. Janet

    Kinda hard to tell yet. If it’s copper, squirting ketchup on it and rubbing it will start removing the gunk. I kid you not. I don’t know what would happen if it brass and you put ketchup on it. It may take more than one application of course, but worth a shot. Hubs just came by and guessed copper. We have an antique copper boiler with a lid (oval) cleaned up years ago. Good luck. I came by from Think Pink Sunday. Janet at

  4. nicole

    I don’t know if it’s copper or brass but who care’s… it’s so awesome! What a find for $5! Thanks for the copper cleaner tip and thanks for linking up at Doodles & Stitches 🙂

  5. becolorful

    Hard to say if it is copper or brass. Let’s call it Bopper. 😀 Thanks for sharing.

  6. cathy@My 1929 Charmer

    Tickled pink you shared with us, so will be trying this out. Thanks for sharing your creative inspiration with Sunday’s
    Best – you helped make the party a success!

  7. Paula Parrish

    I am going to give this a try, to clean a all copper bathtub. Thanks for sharing. ;o)

  8. Michelle

    I think it might be copper??? Thanks so much for sharing this idea with my readers.

    Warmly, Michelle
    Faith, Trust & Pixie Dust

  9. Kathryn Griffin

    Copper or brass, I think you got a deal for $5! Thank you for sharing this at my Make it Pretty Monday party at The Dedicated House. Hope to see your prettiness again on Monday. Toodles, Kathryn @TheDedicatedHouse


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