DIY Rusty Nails for Witch Bottles & Spells

How to make and use rusty nails for witch bottles, spells, magic and protection.

Whether you plan to make a traditional European witch bottle for protection, or you want to make a charm to ward off icky vibes from the home, you’ve probably come across a spell or two that calls for “rusty nails.”

But chances are, unless you live in a decaying old Victorian (in which case, lucky you!), you don’t keep rusty nails just lying around the house.

Fortunately, it’s easy to make rusty nails from the ordinary, brand new nails you find at the hardware store.

DIY rusty nails for use in witchcraft.

How to rust nails for use in spells, witch bottle and protection magic.

How to make rusty nails out of new nails from the hardware store for witch bottles and protection magic.

Ideas for using rusty nails.

Rusty nails symbolize a particularly aggressive form of magical self-protection.  Bust these little buddies out for:

Witch bottles.    As early as the 1670s, archaeologists believe that European magical practitioners used witch bottles to protect the hearth & home.   

These glass jars contained some pretty gross stuff, including human urine.   But that’s not happening in this house.  Nope, nope, nope.  #sorrynotsorry.  

Fortunately, you can try some (slightly) less icky alternatives, like nail clippings or hair, to personalize your witch bottle.  Add some rusty nails and dried protection herbs and bury it near the threshold for protection of the household from negative energy.

Hang them over the door.  Along the same train of thought, hang a drawstring spell bag over the back door to prevent malevolence from entering covertly into the home.

Hoodoo petitions.  If you practice traditional hoodoo, you probably already know that rusty nails play a key component in many hoodoo spells & petitions.  

If this is your chosen path, learn about the traditional uses for nails & spikes in that discipline.

(And if you know some traditional uses for rusty nails in hoodoo, feel free to enlighten us in the comments!)

Mirror box spell.  A mirror box spell uses a container with a reflective interior (like a coffee can) to reverse the negative energy of someone in your life who means you ill.  

Contrary to popular belief, this spell is not a hex or curse.  It’s protective magic that works like a boomerang to return bad vibes to their sender.  

Place a photo of the target in a coffee can with protective herbs and 9 rusty nails.  

Bury it at the crossroads.

Choosing Nails

Many spells call for iron nails.  

You can even get fancy and stupid goth with coffin nails.

I personally think any nail works fine as a substitute.


Don’t skip the protective gear.   It didn’t occur to me to wear any, but I wish it had once I saw the metallic flakes floating in the air.  Pretty sure it’s not good to breathe those in.

Don’t mix anything in the solution except the listed ingredients.  Some additives (like bleach) react with the chemicals to create harmful fumes.

Things You Will Need


-small, shallow, plastic bowl (food storage containers work well)

-coarse sandpaper or rough surface

-1/2 cup hydrogen peroxide (available in first aid section of any grocery store)

-1/2 cup vinegar

-1/5 cup salt


-protective mask and eye protection

-paper towels/paper plate

Step 1

Put on protective mask and eye protection.  

Most store-bought nails have a protective, rust-proof coating.  You need to rough this up a little.  Coarse sandpaper works well, but I didn’t have any, so I used the concrete steps on my front porch.  

You want to scratch up all sides of the nail, as well as the head.  The more you scratch it up, the better the overall effect will be.

Step 2

Mix the hydrogen peroxide, vinegar and salt in the shallow plastic bowl.

Drop the roughed up nails into the solution.

Allow them to soak 3 hours to overnight.

Step 3

Line the paper plate with paper towels

Wearing gloves, carefully remove the nails and place them on the paper plate to dry for several hours.

And . . . you’re done!

How to make rusty nails for witch bottles.


  1. Still didn’t say exactly how to use them or what particular way. I have pink moon water and was trying to find a spell incorporating the 2 into our property as a shield

    1. 👋 Realistically, IMHO as a life long practitioner, I believe in using two nails in your hole/ jar, tied as a cross and blessed under a full moon; every 9 paces around the property line, connected by salt with copper, hold or selenite flakes in it. Also one set on each side of drive and walkway; and if possible (no concrete or assault Infront of driveway or walkway) I will put two in the middle of it as well. To note: I am extremely eclectic. Personally, I go for the longest nails possible, purchase ones made without coating and that’s composition is mostly iron.
      That’s about all I care to post on my security system. Hopefully you understand why, lol… But I believe that will get you started.

      Fyi, they can be used in so many ways that you really are only limited by your imagination as with everything to do in witchcraft. 🤷🏼‍♀️😉

      🌻Brightest Blessings to you in your corner of the world 🌻

  2. I have an honest question can you use rusted screws if you don’t have any nails? I have a lot of screws and would like to put them to use…

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