How do you give brass a BLUE patina?

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Original Post

inmypjs says

I've recently seen brass with a blue patina! How do you get that look (it definately didn't look like painted with acrylics or something) and, maybe even more important, how do you seal it? Is there a name for it (like verdigris for green)?
Thank you :)

Posted at 6:21am Jun 5, 2009 EDT


I have stuff- for years now-that will do it.
I'll wade back into he studio to see the brand name in a little while..
anyway- you brush it on.
Use a sacrifice brush too- it'll get wrecked...
and let dry - and reapply.
I usually spray varnished with Fixable spray..
It's more matte.
stand by...

Posted at 7:22am Jun 5, 2009 EDT

Here are two techniques I use. The first works best for small pieces, the second for lager ones:

1. Take some clean kittly litter (the cheap kind, which is just chunks of clay) and pour ammonia in it. You want the kittly litter to be damp, but not wet. Put a layer of the kitty litter in a sealable container (tupperware) and lay your pieces of work on the layer, face up. Sprinkle a bit of salt on the pieces, and cover them the rest of the way with ammonia soaked kittly litter, seal the conatiner, and leave it for about two days. Open it up and check the work. Repeat if necessary.

This is how I do these earrings - these are copper, but it works for brass as well:

2. Take a sealable conatiner and stretch wires across the top so you can suspend things from the wires. In the container, put a bowl of ammonia. Suspend the piece of work from the wires, sprinkle it with salt, close the container, and wait about two days. Check the work, and replace the ammonia (if it doesn't make you gag when you smell it anymore) and sprinkle some more salt on it if necessary.

This is the technique I used for this bracelet:

Note: Be careful about how much salt you use. If you over do it, the salt will pit the metal.

Note: If you use these techniques without the salt, you will generally get a greener color, and it will take longer.

Posted at 8:24am Jun 5, 2009 EDT

miasophia says

those are goregous splendid fish. how do you seal the pieces?

Posted at 8:31am Jun 5, 2009 EDT

suspend it over freshly opened ammonia

Posted at 8:31am Jun 5, 2009 EDT

I have noticed it will wear off. Good if you have protect it with a matte or shiny enamal spray.

Posted at 8:32am Jun 5, 2009 EDT

Thank you, miasophia!

I use wax to seal them. You can use a spray finish, but eventually the finish will wear off in spots, leaving a nasty line, and it's nearly impossible to repair (you have to completely strip the piece down and redo it, patina and all). Also, it makes the metal feel like plastic. Spray is fine for earrings and necklaces that don't rub much, but I wouldn't use it on bracelets.

Wax offers enough protection (the patina will still change over time, though) and can be easily replaced. And the metal still feels like metal. When I sell a piece, I also send a little container of wax and instructions on how to use it (wax on, wax off :) )

Posted at 8:52am Jun 5, 2009 EDT

any special type of wax-like car wax or jewelry wax??

Posted at 11:51am Jun 5, 2009 EDT

Well... Microcrystaline (Renaissance Wax) wax is what everybody recommends (expensive), but, actually, paste furniture wax, parafin, car wax, etc. all work. Parafin is hard to put on, but it wears well. Paste furniture wax and car wax are easy to apply - car wax is made for metal, after all...

Try whatever you have on hand on a piece of scrap and see what you like best. If you want to use it on something with a patina, make sure you try it on scrap with the same patina. Some waxes might affect the color.

Posted at 1:48pm Jun 5, 2009 EDT