Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Adventures In Patinas

Do you work with patinas on your metals?  I make all of my clasps from sterling, gold filled, and copper wire, but I've never really explored putting a patina on them. 

Then I read a really cool tip from Rena Klingenberg on how to oxidize metals using hard boiled eggs. And I decided to play.

I started out with shiny copper wire, and boiled up a couple of eggs. When the eggs were ready, I put a coil of wire, a copper clasp, and the eggs into a zip lock bag, and smooshed (a highly technical term) the eggs, shell and all, into a big gooey mess.

Then I waited about 20 minutes.  And this is what I got!

I need to polish them up a bit, but this is what they looked like straight out of the bag. I was so excited about the possibilities, I threw some more wire and a toggle in the bag, wanting to see what happened if I left it over night.

Sadly, when I opened the ziplock the first time, I must have let out enough of the sulfur gas to make further oxidation impossible. So after an overnight egg bath, this is all that happened.

Lessons learned? First, if you're going to do this, pull together all the metal you want to oxide to do in one batch, because the magic doesn't happen with leftovers.  Second, my husband is a wonderful, patient man who's gotten used enough to my weirdness that instead of calling the folks from the loony bin, he just said, "why is there a bag of smashed eggs and wire on the kitchen counter?" as though it were a normal thing.

I've also read about using a salt/vinegar mix to patinate copper, too. That may be the next mad scientist experiment!


Niky Sayers said...

The salt one works much quicker and gives a lovely green colour!

AntiquityTravelers said...

oh! I've been wanting to try this!! and looks like it works! awesome

Patti Vanderbloemen said...

My experience with the "egg-method" is that it works much better if the egg is warm. Also, when I started out working with copper, I bought wire that was "coated" (artistic wire)...so depressing when it would not take a patina! I only use liver of sulfur now...faster, and it always works..every time! Also, I prefer the gel style of liver of sulfur - a little goes a long way, and lasts much longer! Have fun!!!!