How to Age Brass

It's possible to mimic the surface oxidation of antique brass objects by using the following techniques.

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You Will Need

  • Protective gear
  • Brass object
  • Acetone
  • Paintbrush
  • Hot water
  • Vinegar
  • Salt water
  • Heat source
  • Commercial aging product
  • Large plastic bag
  • Rag
  • Ammonia
  • Expert (optional)

Steps

  1. If you use chemicals to age brass, wear gloves that completely cover your hands, and safety glasses. Work in a well-ventilated room.

  2. Step 1

    Remove any varnish

    Remove any varnish from the surface of the object by applying acetone with a brush. Rinse off the acetone with hot water.

  3. If you are not sure the object is made of brass – bronze and copper look similar – take it to an expert for an evaluation. Aging treatments that work for brass may damage other materials.

  4. Step 2

    Brush vinegar or salt water on the surface

    Brush vinegar or salt water over the entire surface of the object using the paintbrush. Both liquids oxidize the brass.

  5. Step 3

    Apply heat

    Apply heat or a flame to the object, which causes the brass object to take on an aged appearance relatively quickly.

  6. Brass is often coated with lacquer. Be sure that all lacquer has been removed from the object before subjecting it to flame because lacquer is flammable.

  7. Step 4

    Use a commercial aging product

    Apply an over-the-counter aging product, though it may leave a color deposit on the object’s surface that wears off easily during normal use.

  8. Step 5

    Use ammonia

    Place the object in a large plastic bag next to a rag soaked in ammonia. Ammonia vapor produces a greenish-brown oxide finish on brass, close in color to a natural patina.

  9. Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc.

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