How to Make Metal Tarnish

Updated April 17, 2017

Tarnishing metal will give it an antiqued look. The process of tarnishing metal is called oxidation. This is a chemical process that occurs when metal reacts to a substance, turning it into a dark patina. This natural process can be manipulated at home with a few simple ingredients.

Place five eggs in a pan and cover with an inch of water. Set to medium-high heat.

Turn off heat as soon as water begins to boil. Let eggs sit for 15 minutes in the hot water.

Remove eggs from water and let cool.

Peel hard-boiled eggs. Place eggs in a plastic container and mash.

Place metal in the container and surround with eggs. Seal lid onto container and set aside for 15 minutes.

Check metal every 15 minutes until it reaches the desired level of tarnish. Discard eggs.

Clean metal with soap and water.


For tarnishing larger items such as tea kettles, simply boil more eggs and use a larger container for storage.


Do not eat eggs that have been used to tarnish metal.

Things You'll Need

  • Eggs
  • Plastic container
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About the Author

Lorrie Fenn is a designer and writer who lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. After moving to New York City in 2006 she began writing her own personal blog, which has been featured on AOL and various other websites. Fenn holds a Bachelor of Arts in graphic design from Marshall University.