How to Color Brass Using Patina

by Richard Kyori

Patina, the age-old tarnish that gives the Statue of Liberty, some old rooftops, and household antiques their dull green appearance is often coveted by collectors as a sign of the age and rarity of an object. Attempting to remove patina from an old object, like you might attempt to remove gray hairs from your hair, is seen by many collectors as devaluing the work. While adding an untimely patina to your brass may not increase its cash value, it can give it the look of a significantly more expensive antique.

Items you will need

  • Vinegar
  • Salt
  • Bowl
  • Paintbrush
  • Ammonia
  • Metal container
  • Hook
  • Heat gun
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Step 1

Heat water in a pan or microwave until it is warm but not boiling. Mix the water with an equal measure of vinegar and then saturate the mixture with salt.

Step 2

Use a brush to coat the brass completely with the solution, covering all of the areas you wish to add a patina to.

Step 3

Pour a small amount of ammonia into a metal container. Position a hook on the edge of the container and hang your brass from the hook without it coming into direct contact with the ammonia.

Step 4

Heat the bottom of the container carefully with a heat gun and allow the ammonia vapors to pass over the brass. Heat the ammonia in a well-ventilated area, as the ammonia fumes may irritate your skin or eyes if you are exposed to them for too long.

Step 5

Repeat the heating process until you have reached the desired level of patina.

About the Author

Richard Kyori has been writing professionally since 2006. He has been teaching design and technology courses at colleges and universities since 2005. Kyori holds a Bachelor of Arts in art history from Boston University and is working toward a Master of Architecture.

Photo Credits

  • Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images