How do I age brass
"Patina for fittings with an antique look"
New brass impresses with its shiny golden surface. This noble touch is quite appealing, but does not go well with every furnishing object. Especially with nostalgic ones Country house furniture Act antique fittings with an expressive patina much more authentic. You don't have to wait decades for these greenish, reddish or brown discolorations. Some techniques can patinate the brass for a quick and easy way to create an aged aesthetic. We explain how aging works.
That is why the old belongs to the country house
Those who set up in a country house style often want to create an alternative to modern facilities that are all too perfect and lack charm. A country house interior is characterized by a quaint, rustic or rural picturesque ambience, which knows how to inspire with the old elements, the imperfect. Accordingly, it is only suitable if brass has an antique look and fittings made of the material - such as coat hooks and window fittings - are kept in the old look.
Preparatory steps for patination
There are various methods to choose from to age brass, but the procedure is slightly different. There are also some preparatory steps that are identical for all variants.
Check material before aging
First of all, it must be ensured that the fittings are actually made entirely of brass. In many cases, modern products are only provided with a thin coating of the copper alloy, under which there is another metal. These are rarely suitable for patinating, as the treatment reveals the mostly unsightly interior. The material can be checked with a small magnet. If it is only tightened lightly or not at all, it is most likely a pure brass object.
If you observe a strong attraction, there is only a brass coating.
When aging, concentrated solutions come into play, which can be uncomfortably irritating. It is therefore important to protect the work surface as well as your eyes and hands. So rubber gloves and protective goggles are definitely part of the basic equipment.
Intensive cleaning of the surfaces
Not everyone wants the shiny brass fittings to age and get a patina after assembly. For this reason, new goods are often provided with a very thin layer of varnish, which you may have to remove. For smaller objects, all you need to do is use the nail polish remover. Otherwise, the paint thinner from the hardware store is the right choice.
In order to remove the protective layer from every corner, it is helpful to apply it with a brush.
The dissolved varnish can then be picked up with a cloth or cotton pad. If the coating is more stubborn, the dissolution process can be accelerated by a bath in hot water. This creates a lubricating film that has to be completely removed before it actually ages. Otherwise the fittings get an uneven structure that would detract from the beautiful patina.
Even if there is no varnish, the object should be thoroughly cleaned of all deposits such as dust and oils before patinating. Since the skin also releases certain fats, the rubber gloves are helpful even during the preparatory work steps. If the brass fittings are in good condition, soapy water is sufficient for cleaning. In the case of heavier soiling, it makes sense to rub off with highly concentrated alcohol, which, for example, also removes residues of protective brass polishes. Before you can start aging the brass, the fittings must first dry completely. At best, put the objects in a closet for a few days.
If it has to go quickly, the drying process can be cranked up with a hair dryer.
Age the surface with home remedies
There are both gentler and more aggressive methods of patinating brass. These differ partly in the result, as they imitate different weather processes. It therefore depends on the desired aesthetics which technique is recommended.
Treat metal with baking soda or vinegar
You can get a brown patina color by applying a saturated sodium bicarbonate solution. For this purpose, baking soda is added to the warm water until nothing dissolves. A liquid that consists of half household salt and water has a similar effect. Spread the mixture with a brush or a spray bottle on the brass surface that is to receive the patina.
If you want a green shade on the fittings, the combination of vinegar and salt, which is applied in the same way, works. For both processes, previous heating or sweating in a plastic bag causes more obvious signs of use. In addition, it may be that several passes are necessary over several days in order for the brass to age optimally.
Steam bath with vinegar
An irregular aging in an intense brown with partly reddish accent results from steaming with strong vinegar. As an aid, you need a container of the right size that can be hermetically sealed.
The bottom of the vessel is generously covered with vinegar and a surface is created that is above the liquid level. For example, it could be a brick or an upside-down glass. The fittings are placed on this before the whole thing is locked for a few hours. The brass is surrounded by vinegar fumes that cause the surface to age.
Not recommended for aging: the ammonia steam bath
With the above-mentioned methods of patination, brass acquires a patina that is similar to the natural aging process.
Particularly authentic results can also be achieved with an ammonia steam bath.
However, this chemical treatment is less suitable for antique fittings, as the discoloration that is produced gradually disappears and regular follow-up treatments are therefore necessary.
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