A new, shiny piece of metal can be 'antiqued' or aged to give the appearance of a vintage and well-loved collectible. This attractive patina can be created through the process known as oxidizing or corroding.
Most store-bought oxidizers contain muriatic or hydrochloric acid as the primary corrosive agent.
You'll need to work outdoors or in a well-ventilated area of your home as the fumes from chemical oxidizers can be toxic. Cover exposed surfaces, including the floor and table in thick, protective plastic sheets. Wear thick rubber gloves and safety goggles.
Place a gallon of water and some baking soda or ammonia nearby in case you need to quickly neutralize spilled acid.
Move other metal objects to another room. Even the fumes from the process can oxidize and damage them.
Dilute the chemical oxidizer. Use a glass container (not metal, plastic or wood) to mix 1 part oxidizer to 20 parts water to begin and strengthen gradually as needed.
Soak the metal objects by placing them into the oxidizing solution carefully. Keep them in the solution until they achieve a desired darkness or blackness, typically a few seconds to 1 or 2 minutes.
- You can also apply the solution with a brush or cotton swab to control coloration.
Remove the objects from the oxidizing solution. Then cover them in baking soda or ammonia to neutralize the acid and stop the oxidizing process. Rinse the items with clean water and dry them with a clean cloth towel.
Restore a shine to selective parts of the metal objects by rubbing with fine steel wool, in order to provide contrast and an authentically worn look. Alternatively, you can tumble small items in a rotary tumbler with steel shot to brighten and shine parts of the metal.
Antiquing Metal with Hard Boiled Eggs
Place 1 to 6 eggs (depending on the amount of metal) in a pot of water and bring to a boil. Then turn off heat and leave in hot water for about 10 minutes.
Remove the egg shells immediately and carefully.
Cut the eggs in quarters while still hot and place in a clear (glass or plastic) container with the metal to be antiqued.
Prevent the egg from touching the metal directly and cover the container.
- Egg yolks produce sulfur gas that will oxidize the metal.
Monitor the oxidizing process without opening the container every 5 to 10 minutes initially. Then leave the metal in the container with the eggs for one to two hours at room temperature or overnight if placed in refrigerator until desired coloration is reached.
Remove the metal from the container and discard the eggs. Allow the metal objects to air out to remove the sulfuric egg smell.
Rub with a polishing cloth or fine steel wool to lighten certain oxidized areas of the metal objects to create a naturally-worn look.
There are other ways to antique metal, This tutorial gives you two easy methods. The oxidizing chemicals are available at most large craft stores.
- Always add acids to water and not the other way around when diluting to avoid splattering and potential burns.
- When oxidizing metal with chemical oxidizers follow included instructions closely and take safety precautions to avoid toxic fumes or skin contact.
- Ref: http://www.wikihow.com/Antique-Metal