How to Darken Zinc Plating

Written by heather robson
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How to Darken Zinc Plating
You can give zinc-plated metal an antique look in just a few simple steps. (antique pocket watch image by Yuriy Mazur from

Zinc is a metal often used to make decorative household items like planters, wall hangers and serving platters. The metal has a bright, silver appearance and it doesn't readily oxidise so it will keep its brightness for a long time. However, sometimes, it's desirable to have a more antiqued look. If that's the case, there is an easy way to darken zinc and make it look aged.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Brass ager or metal darkening solution
  • Mild soap
  • Water
  • Clean cloth or bowl

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  1. 1

    Purchase a brass ager or metal darkening solution. While these solutions are formulated specifically for darkening brass, they also work on zinc.

  2. 2

    Clean the zinc item you wish to darken with warm water and mild soap. Rinse it thoroughly and dry it with a soft towel.

  3. 3

    Pour the metal darkening solution into a bowl if the zinc piece you wish to darken is small. Otherwise, for large items, soak a clean cloth with the solution.

  4. 4

    Soak the zinc item in the solution or use the soaked cloth to rub the solution over the surface.

  5. 5

    Let the darkening solution work for several minutes. Watch the piece as it darkens. When it reaches the shade you desire, remove it from the solution and rinse it with water so that it does get any darker.

Tips and warnings

  • Follow the instructions on the darkening solution you are using.
  • Work in a well-ventilated area and wear protective gloves if you have sensitive skin.

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