9.02.2009

Behind the Scenes: Antiquing Silver Metal Clay Charms

setup tools metal clay patinaSetup for Antiquing Silver

All Hint Jewelry charms have been antiqued (oxidized) to give them a slightly aged patina. One of the most interesting aspects of working with metal is deciding on the final look. I experimented with different types of finishing and chose the one that spoke to me. I wanted my charms to look like they had been found in an ancient burial mound so they feel as if they have a history, so I decided to use liver of sulfur to antique my charms.

Tools
Liver of Sulfur
3 Plastic Containers
Plastic Spoon
Rubber Gloves
Tweezers

Except for the liver of sulfur, all my tools for antiquing are common household items. You can purchase liver of sulfur at your local beading shop or check out Cool Tools new stabilized Gel Patina online.

My disclaimer for this posting is that I don't consider myself an artist who spends a lot of time worrying about safety much to my body's dismay. So if you are going to use a chemical such as liver of sulfur, I encourage you to read books on metal clay, research the precautions on the label, and make the safety decisions that best suit your needs. My recommendation is always attempt this process in a well-ventilated room or outside so there is plenty of fresh air, wear rubber gloves and a mask to give yourself some added protection, do not use these tools for any other process, and store the liver of sulfur in at least two zip lock bags away from children and pets.

To achieve consistent results and an even patina for a large group of charms, over the course of experimenting with different temperatures of water, I have found that boiling water and letting it cool a bit has worked best for the finishing that I am trying to achieve. However, most books say that you only need hot tap water. Again, I'm no safety guru so I'm not advocating my particular method, but I do encourage you to read and explore what works best for you.

Here's a slide show that shows you the details of my process for antiquing Hint Jewelry's charms.

For the full scoop on Hint Jewelry's process, be sure to check out my weekly blog series called Behind the Scenes.



5 comments:

  1. Very interesting.. Never heard of that type of sulfur...

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  2. Awesome tutorial! I am a big fan of the antique patina that you use. I have a similar set up and use the chunk style LOS (the gel will have to wait until I use this up). I tried the hot water, but it would cool too quickly for me to use it, and I don't have as large a quantity as you do to patina. Then I took a class at Bead & Button with Tracey Stanley of Wired Arts this year and she had a small dip sized crock pot with her LOS in for the class to use. Brilliant! That was worth the price of admission right there! Keeping it a constant hot temp works best for me and allows me to run and dip when I feel like it. I have even found that if I top the water off and keep it covered that I can use the same batch quite a few times, just adding more water and more smaller chunks of LOS as needed to bring it to the darker yellowish brown color I like to use. Then I am right next to a sink so I can rinse and run back!
    Thanks so much for sharing...it is always good to get differnt perspectives (and learn from the Masters!)
    Enjoy the day!
    Erin

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  3. Thanks, Beth. Your clear instructions make me want take the plunge and try this. Oh, no . . . not something else to get addicted to!

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  4. I get so excited when I see that you've made another tutorial! Well done!

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  5. Catherine, I'm hoping you'll give into your addiction by Christmas!

    Erin, so many thanks for sharing your experience and techniques. I was hoping others would chime in on this post because honestly there seems to be a lot of little tricks that everyone has when it comes to the patina. I love this idea of a dip-sized crock pot! How cool!! I wonder if my candle warmer would do the same thing. Well, you've given me something new to experiment with :)

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I'd love for you to share your ideas and stories on my blog! Please know that I may not always be able to e-mail you a direct response, so be sure to check back to my blog and continue the dialogue. Many blessings for connecting with me through word and image :)