How to blacken brass

Written by linda emma
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Whether you’re a hobbyist looking to add the look of authenticity to ship models and railroad pieces or someone with an eye for antiquities, turning shiny brass black is a relatively simple procedure. Start with a clean surface and opt for one of the easily found brass blackening products on the market.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Plastic container
  • Latex gloves
  • Skewer or stick
  • Tweezers or tongs
  • Old toothbrush
  • Muriatic acid
  • Blacken-It
  • Soft cloth
  • Paper towels

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  1. 1

    Make a solution of muriatic acid diluted 50 per cent with water and place in plastic container.

  2. 2

    Place the brass objects to be blackened into the acid solution, covering completely. Stir with a wooden skewer to reach all the nooks and crannies with the acid. Let it sit in the solution for one hour.

  3. 3

    Remove from acid solution with tweezers or tongs. Rinse with tap water.

  4. 4

    Pour a brass blackener such as Blacken-It (available at model railroad hobby shops) into a plastic container. Place cleaned brass objects into solution and move them with skewer to assure full coverage. Use the toothbrush to assure that crevices and holes are fully coated with the solution. You can also close the container and shake gently to cover fully.

  5. 5

    Allow objects to remain in solution until they blacken to your satisfaction, usually about 15 minutes.

  6. 6

    Remove objects with tongs and place on paper towels to dry, for up to 24 hours.

  7. 7

    Buff lightly with a chamois cloth or old T-shirt.

Tips and warnings

  • For larger objects, use a rag to clean and apply blackener. This takes a lot of patience and time to assure even colouring.
  • As a last step, you can spray with a flat lacquer.
  • Do not use bare hands, both for hand protection but also because the oils from your skin will cause uneven blackening.

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