There are various recipes for each metal and many ways of oxidizing and
prematurely rusting each one. This is an area where a fair amount of reading and
experimenting is needed.
You can go the commercial route, which produces some very beautiful effects
quickly or you can go the slower, home made route and let the piece age with
time. You can also apply a "stopper" which, when reaching the desired color,
will stop it at that point.
To go the commercial route, which I have used quite successfully, try
www.chemtek.com. There is extensive material on their site, ordering info, on
and offline, and an 800 number to call. I have had wonderfully helpful
conversations with the owner, who incidentally usually answers the phone
Another supplier of patinas is Rio Grande, Albuquerque, NM, who I have used for
many years. They also have a site, www.riogrande.com, tho specific info
regarding rusting and patinas is not available there. You must call them and ask
for a catalog. They are a jewelry supply house and do not specialize in patinas,
but the material is easily bought there.
Also, try www.artmetal.com. This site is devoted to metal and the trials and
tribulations of all artists who are smart enough to know they need a community to
share and repair. THey have a great mailing list and all the messages are saved
and posted on the site and a search can be done for past articles on "rusting".
The homemade recipes can be obtained in various publications. One that I highly
recommend is: Jeweler's Resource, by Bruce Knuth. It is a hard to find
publication but can be ordered by calling 509-624-8565. Another book
is The Colouring,
Bronzing, & Patination of Metals by
Richard Hughes and Michael Rowe.
Liver of Sulphur is a compound which you may want to order. One can use it on
the various metals. (Liver of sulfur is a colloquial name for potassium sulfide. -Ed.)
Listed below are sample recipes:
So you see, the patination of metals can be a complex process, but fascinating,
- To use on Brass or Bronze to obtain an Apple Green color:
6 oz. of cupric chloride
1 oz. ammonium chloride
32 oz. water
Brush on or rinse repeatedly, Rinse in cool water.
- To use on Lead to obtain Multiple Colors:
1 oz. ammonium chloride
.5 oz. ammonium molybdate
1 gallon water
Heat solution (140-150°F) dip piece in solution and observe changes. Rinse in cold
water when desired effect is reached. Colors appear in this order: golden,
green, red, blue,brown and black.