Pewter is a brilliant metal consisting mostly of tin. Because it is generally malleable and flexible, it can be fashioned into a wide range of wares including goblets, dishes and utensils. New pewter tends to possess a shiny lustre, and this quality is what attracts so many to it for decorative purposes. However, aged pewter can attain a gorgeous oxidised outer later called a "patina" that gives it a truly antiquated look -- here is now to attain it without waiting for years on end.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Thick rubber gloves
- Safety goggles
- Large mixing bowl
- Mixing spoon
- Half litre of distilled water
- 3 grams of ammonium chloride
- 12 grams of copper acetate
- 20 grams of vinegar
- pH measuring strips
- Nitric acid
- Paintbrush (optional)
Put on your rubber gloves and safety goggles before handling any of the mentioned chemicals.
Pour half a litre of cool distilled water into a large mixing bowl.
Add ammonium chloride, copper acetate and vinegar to the bowl one at a time. Pour slowly and carefully.
Measure the pH of the mixture in the bowl with a pH strip. Take note of this measurement.
Slowly pour a small amount of nitric acid into the mixture, stirring as you do so. Measure the pH intermittently until the mixture has a pH measurement of 1 (very acidic).
Submerge your piece of pewter into the bowl, ensuring that all parts are coated with the liquid. Alternatively, the mixture can be applied with a paintbrush or sponge.
Place the pewter piece on a towel in a well-ventilated area to air-dry.
Tips and warnings
- The ingredients above will give your pewter a rich bronze patina. For a dark grey or black patina, use 227gr of iron chloride mixed with 1 litre of ice-cold water.
- Results are permanent, so make sure that you really wish to age the piece of pewter you select.
- Working with highly acidic chemicals can be dangerous. Abide by proper handling techniques described on chemical containers.
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