This post is about how to blacken brass. Brass has a beautiful golden color and luster, but it can be tarnished by air or oil. If you want to keep your brass shining, then read on for some tips!
Why Did I Need Blacken Brass
My dad taught me how to work with metal when I was a little kid, and now his old skills are coming in handy again. Heh heh – it’s really great being able to use what you know!
I’m using aftermarket brass gun barrels on one of my model aircraft right now–this is going to be awesome!!
Blackening The Parts
There are many different ways to blacken brass. They all have their advantages and disadvantages, but the one you use will depend upon your own needs. For example, if you’re just looking for a temporary finish that is easy to apply and remove, many products on the market can do this job for you.
However, these finishes don’t hold up well in humid environments or when exposed to water, so they aren’t suitable for professional use. Suppose you want something more permanent with a more delicate finish. In that case, it’s best to go with an oxidizing agent like Liver of Sulphur or Nitric Acid, which reacts chemically with the surface of the metal without affecting its color.
Brass Black is an oxidizing agent that can be used to blacken brass. It reacts chemically with the surface of the metal without affecting its color. The finish it creates is more permanent than temporary finishes but may not hold up well in humid environments, or when exposed to water, so it’s only suitable for professional use.
I Tried Three Methods
The process of blackening brass is not an easy one. It requires a lot of patience and time, so I tried three different methods to see which would be the most efficient.
Method 1: Scotch+Soak
The first thing I did was take a rag and soak it with scotch. Then, I rubbed the brass parts carefully with the soaked cloth. The Alcohol in the scotch is what does all of the work here–it’s an oxidizing agent that reacts chemically with the surface of the metal without affecting its color. This method didn’t produce as nice a finish as other methods, but it was elementary and fast because rubbing down your pieces takes minutes.
- Scuff With Scotch-Brite
- Rinse: Denatured Alcohol
- Rinse: Water
- Soak In Brass Black 3-4 Minutes
- Rinse: Water
Method 2: Scotch+Dab
The second method I tried was Scotch+Dab. You’ll need a little brass black and some paper towels or a rag for this method. First, rub the brass part with a bit of brass black to cover it in a thin layer. Then, use a paper towel or rag to dab the black off of the high points of the part. You want to leave the black in the low points and crevices. The finish this method produces is very nice, but it takes a little longer than some other methods.
Method 2: Denatured Alcohol
Denatured Alcohol is a chemical that strips the brass of its natural oils and leaves it dull. This method is primarily frowned upon because it can damage or discolor other surfaces in your home.
- Follow Instructions On Bottle
- I Repeated Four Times
Denatured Alcohol has many uses, not just for painting but for everyday life too! For example:
- Mixing peroxide with it will make hydrogen peroxide (an antiseptic).
- Mixing vinegar and Denatured Alcohol will produce acetic acid, which you could use to unclog your sink.
- Mixing it with salt will create an abrasive good for removing rust or tarnish from metal surfaces!
The steps to blacken brass are as follows:
- Apply a layer of vinegar and salt over the surface.
- Use a cloth, sponge, or even your fingers to scrub off the white residue from the metal. Rinse with water until all traces of salt and vinegar have been removed.
- Apply a second coat of vinegar mixture about 1/4 inch thick onto the metal surface and let it sit for at least 30 minutes before rinsing off again with water. The acid in this mixture reacts with copper ions on the surface to create an oxide coating that’s dark brown when it dries.
- Repeat as many times as you want until you get the desired coloration. You can also use other acids such as lemon juice, which has a milder acidity level.
Durability is the key to brass blackening. Durable finishes are more long-lasting and can withstand exposure to water, for example, without having any adverse effects. Durable finishes also resist tarnishing or corrosion over time.
FAQs about Blacken Brass
How long will the brass look like it’s been blackened?
The brass will usually keep its blackened appearance for a long time, but it may eventually start to fade.
How do I know if the brass is wholly blackened?
It’s difficult to tell whether or not the brass is completely blackened, as the process can be somewhat unpredictable. However, if you’re not happy with the results, you can always repeat the process.
What can I use to clean my brass if they get tarnished?
It’s a good idea to keep some brass cleaner on hand if the blackened look wears off.
How can I darken nickel-plated items?
You won’t be able to use this process for anything other than plain or lacquered brass, as it will damage any plating that is present. You’ll need to find another way of achieving your desired color if you’re dealing with an item that has been plated with nickel.
Is blackening brass an environmentally friendly option?
There’s no clear answer, as the process of blackening brass can be unpredictable. However, there will likely be some waste produced due to this project, so exercise caution if you’re concerned about being environmentally friendly.
What is the best way to polish up my brass without any product or chemicals?
Unfortunately, there isn’t a completely chemical-free way of polishing brass. However, you can try using lemon juice and baking soda to remove any tarnish from your items.
Hi! I'm Richard Baker, a miniature painter who has been painting for about ten years. My website is packed with great advice that I've learned from both books and personal experience on building and painting miniatures.