Patinas For Metal

For many jewelers applying a patina is the final step in the completion of a jewelry design.  The patina process includes a broad range of colors, products and techniques.  Before applying any patina the metal should be clean and free of debris or oxidization. Let’s explore the patina products that Baubles & Beads uses at the store.

Liver of Sulfur

Liver of Sulphur

Liver of Sulphur

The most widely used patina solution for home jewelers due to its range of colors and ease of use. Most non-porous beads are unaffected by the chemical and can be used to patina a metal piece that incorporates beads, such as wire work projects.

What metals does it work with?

When used hot the solution works with sterling silver and fine silver. A cold solution will patina base metals such as copper.

Color Range

Range of colors on fine silver using liver of sulphur.

Range of colors on fine silver using liver of sulphur.

Color range includes: reds, greens, blues, browns and a very dark brown that appears black. Vibrant colors are considered experimental and results will vary according to variable conditions (water temperature, ratio, etc.).

Add about 1 tablespoon of ammonia to a 2 cup solution to create more vibrant colors on silver.

Safety

Always use proper ventilation as this stuff stinks! The solution can also stain the skin so be sure to wear gloves and safety glasses. Use plastic or glass containers.

Application

Liver of sulphur solution diluted in hot water.

Liver of sulphur solution diluted in hot water.

Mix the solution as directed on the package. Use hot water (about 140 degrees F) but never boiling as fumes will be released in the steam. We prefer to make a weaker solution that is yellowish in color. When using a weak solution allow the piece to remain in the solution for a longer time period until the desired color is achieved. Too strong of a solution can create a flaky black patina that will crumble off.

Silver Black

Silver Black

Silver Black

A diluted solution of hydrochloric acid that produces an instantaneous deep black patina. This item is corrosive to stone and coated beads, use only on metal. Many people are afraid to use this product due to its corrosive properties, use this fear to your advantage by always practicing good safety precautions and you will be rewarded with a beautiful black finish.

 What metals does it work with?

Widely used to patina sterling silver and fine silver. Can be used to darken base metals by diluting the solution with water. Will darken gold-filled metal when either the piece or the solution is heated prior to application.

Color Range

Silver Black is coveted for the deep black effect that it creates on metal.

Safety

Silver Black is a diluted form of hydro-choloric acid, therefore Baubles & Beads is unable to ship the item. However, this product is available for purchase in our retail store in Berkeley, CA. Use safety precautions when using this product: wear gloves, safety glasses and always work in a well ventilated area. Baking soda is used to neutralize the acid both on the piece and to clean up any spills. But watch-out!, when the acid comes in contact with the baking soda it reacts much like the childhood volcano science project where one mixes vinegar and baking soda to make an “eruption.” Contain your workspace by working in a bowl in case the bottle should tip over during use.

Application

Apply solution to the metal with the aid of a Q-Tip to areas that you want a black patina. Neutralize the piece and applicators after applying patina.

VinTaj Patina

VinTaj Patina

VinTaj Patina

These are opaque inks that are specially formulated to adhere to metal. The patina is permanent and UV safe.

What metals does it work with?

All metals.

Color Range

Baubles & Beads currently carries four color collections including three colors in each collection. Mix the colors to create your own custom blend!

Safety

The paint is an irritant and should not be ingested or come in contact with the skin and eyes. Wear gloves and use in a properly ventilated area.

Application

Simply apply the paints to any metal surface using a small paint brush. Experiment with different applications such as blotting it on with a soft cloth, applying several layers of color or mixing colors. It can also be wiped off while still wet. The manufacturer recommends setting the ink with a heat gun for added durability. We use this product on a regular basis and have yet to follow the heat gun guideline and still have great results.

Gilder’s Paste

Gilder's Paste green patina.

Gilder’s Paste green patina.

This is a waxed based medium used to add highlights to metal, wood, ceramics and more. If the paste dries out it can be easily reconstituted by adding a bit of paint thinner and mixing thoroughly.

What metals does it work with?

All metals. It works best when there are recessions in the metal pattern to “catch” the color.

Color Range

Baubles & Beads currently stocks six colors that range from several metallic shades to green and black.

Safety

Like all patina solutions, keep this product away from children.

Application

Apply with a gloved finger, brush, or cloth to the metal in a rubbing motion. Dries to the touch in 30-60 minutes but takes 12 hours to fully dry. It can be thinned out with paint thinner. Rub with a soft cloth to produce a gilded finish. Apply in temperatures above 60F.

Red Aluminum disc with Gilder's Paste applied to stamped design.

Red Aluminum disc with Gilder’s Paste applied to stamped design.

Most impotantly, a safety reminder…

ALWAYS USE ADEQUATE VENLTILATION AND PRECAUTIONS WHEN USING ANY CHEMICAL!  Pregnant women should seek the advice of a doctor before handling any chemical.  Protect your clothing, eyes, skin, and lungs.  If any solution comes in contact with the skin, immediately flush the area with water or appropriate neutralizer .  All mixing cups and jars should be exclusive to a specific chemical and not used for other purposes.  After use, wash all tools and containers with soapy water to remove any residue.  Clean all metals with soap and water after patinization process to remove any residual chemicals.

About Lisa Claxton
Beads... what can I say, they are and have always taken over my life. Every room in the house has them and yet I crave more.

One Response to Patinas For Metal

  1. mellowmish says:

    i love to use the gilder’s paste! thanks for the informative breakdown.

    Like

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