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How to Age Brass

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


  • : If you use chemicals to age brass, wear gloves that completely cover your hands, and safety glasses. Work in a well-ventilated room.
  • 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.
  • TIP: 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • : 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • FACT: Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc.

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)

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