How to Make Brass Look Old
- 1). Make sure the brass really is brass. If you use these methods on something other than brass, it will have a different reaction. If you use any chemicals to age something you believe is brass, but really isn't, it could even be dangerous. One method of verifying that brass really is brass is by taking it to an antique dealer. They are used to dealing with this type of material and can give you assurance that brass is brass.
- 2). Remove any varnish that may be on the brass. Brass is flammible and reactive, so there could be undesired effects while trying to age brass if there is varnish is on it. Accomplish this by taking a brush and dipping it into acetone. Rub the acetone all over the brass. Afterwards, put smaller objects into a pot of boiling water for a few minutes. If the brass is too big for this, then wipe it down with a cloth that has been dipped in hot water. Allow the brass to dry before beginning the aging process.
- 3). Try a gentle method first. Clean the brush after removing the varnish (or get another brush) and dip it into the vinegar. Cover the entire brass piece with the vinegar using the brush. This causes oxidization, which will make the brass appear older. Salt water can be used as well, but it will take far longer than the vinegar.
- 4). Use a butane torch if you want to age brass quickly. It will also oxidize the brass. You must make sure that the brass is unlacquered before using flame to age your brass. If the brass is lacquered or you are unsure whether the brass is lacquered or not, see Resources for a link to help you remove it effectively. After you are sure the piece is unlacquered, use the torch to burn all over the brass piece.
- 5). Another option is to use the process of "acid dripping." This process is completely safe if done correctly. It is probably best to wear a pair of gloves if using this method. Make a solution that consists of 1 part antiquing solution and 10 parts water. The water should be room temperature and the solution should be in a plastic or ceramic bowl that is big enough to hold your brass pieces.
- 6). Place the brass into the solution. Agitate the container to remove any air bubbles. Air bubbles will prevent the solution from touching small parts of the piece. You should notice a change in the colors within moments.
- 7). Remove the brass at the appropriate time. If you are going to highlight the piece, then you should let the piece darken a little past the tone you eventually want. If you want a more even tone for the piece, just remove it from the solution when it appears to be the color you want.
- 8). Rinse off the piece with warm water after you remove it from the solution. Use a sponge to wipe off any powdery remnants. You can also use a scouring pad. This should cause an immediate highlighted effect. If the brass is too light, then put it back in the solution. If it is too dark, use the scouring pad to make it light again and try the solution again.
- 9). Dry the entire piece when you are completely satisfied with the color. Use lacquer or get the piece waxed if you want it to stay this color, or you can just leave it like it is and it will continue to age.