Tuesday, November 15, 2011
How to give brass an antique patina
There are lots of ways to give brass an aged or antique look. But unless you plan to use paint, the first thing you want to be sure of is that the item being aged is actually brass. Just be sure the item has the weight of brass and take a look at the back or bottom to be sure the object is brass straight through. The lovely antique patina develops either naturally or with your help through a variety of chemical reactions that happen with actual brass.
My project was solid brass candle sconces scored on half off day at Southern Thrift. I was looking for whatever method would allow me to be cheap, lazy and use stuff I have on hand. I also kind of liked the idea of a greenish patina, not just overall darkening. It turns out that this method is so simple that tutorial style photos are unnecessary:
-- Find an empty spray bottle around the house and wash it out.
-- Fill spray bottle with tap water and add a random amount of kosher salt. I was being way too lazy to measure.
-- Set brass items down outside somewhere. Probably aim for somewhere that people won’t trip over them and dogs won’t poo on them.
-- Spray liberally with salt water
-- Wait a day and check on the progress. If you forget about them for a while that’s fine. (Goodness knows I did.)
--Depending on the amount of patina you want, you can spray them repeatedly and leave them out for as long as you like.
--If you want to bring out a dab of shine on the raised parts, hit them with some brass polish.
-- Once the objects have reached a perfect level of decay, you might consider hitting them with spray lacquer, but I didn’t.
This is how mine turned out after being left outside for ages and salt-sprayed several times: