If you’re like me, when it comes to designing jewellery using copper, you might prefer a more vintage, "tarnished" look. I decided to do a bit of online research to find an easy DIY antique finish for metal and found an interesting hack using an egg! Of course I just had to do some experimenting. I started with one of the pure copper box clasps that are exclusively available here at Suzie Q Studio.
From my research and experimenting, I discovered...
An “antique”/oxidation finish on metals such as copper, brass, sterling silver and other metals is known as: tarnish, patina, toning or rust. Rust, of course, is very destructive and unintentional, unlike tarnish, patina and toning, which can be a highly desired aesthetic, or easily removed with a polishing cloth.
The discolouration of metal is caused primarily by oxygen and sulfur dioxide interacting with each other on the surface of the metal, resulting in varying colours of brown, grey, black and sometimes a greenish patina, when it comes to copper. When certain metals such as iron get rusty, this process results in brownish-orange colouration.
If you’d like more info about the differences between the types of metal oxidization, check out the following fab article that I found — It’s incredibly fascinating! To learn more… CLICK >>> HERE
There are a variety of ways to create an antique patina on copper, silver, etc., including using commercial chemical mixtures, but it's totally unnecessary because I've discovered the "egg hack". You only need a few common, inexpensive household supplies and these ultra-easy (and non-toxic) DIY STEPS:
PLEASE NOTE: These instructions are specific to Suzie Q Copper Box Clasps and not all of the steps are needed for other types of items… I’ll let you know in the details :-)
STEP #1: Choose your favourite Suzie Q Copper Box Clasp or other item(s) to oxidize.
STEP #2: Most Suzie Q Copper Box Clasps have a protective coating to keep them shiny, so you need to remove it by gently sanding the surface of the clasp for the “antiquing” to magically happen. REMOVE the “tongue-like” portion of the clasp so that you can sand all of the surfaces.
FYI… If you’ve chosen a different item to oxidize, be sure to clean it with rubbing alcohol, instead of sanding it.
STEP #3: To remove the protective coating, you’ll need a “Scotch-Brite” pad (this is what I used) or fine steel wool or super-fine grit sandpaper for metal, because you don’t want to make any deep scratches in the metal. Gently rub the entire surface of the box clasp, which reduces the shine of the copper to a matte finish.
PLEASE NOTE: DO NOT sand the “tongue” closure part that clicks into the box portion of the clasp. It needs to stay shiny so it slides in and out of the clasp easily. Once you’ve finished sanding, re-insert the “tongue” back into the clasp.
STEP #4: Boil an egg in water for 20 minutes.
STEP #5: Peel the shell from the egg.
STEP #6: Remove the yolk and cut the remaining egg white into small pieces.
STEP #7: While still warm, place the egg white bits into a ziplock bag, along with the box clasp, and then seal the bag.
STEP #8: Check and shake the bag regularly.
STEP #9: You should see results quite quickly and it may take as little as 15 minutes for the desired effect, but feel free to leave your box clasp sealed in the bag for as long as you like, without harming the metal.
PLEASE NOTE: There’s no way to know what kind of patination that you’ll see, and impossible to duplicate the same antiquing effect, especially when you process items at different times like the two copper box clasps shown above… There are just too many variables involved!
What do you think? Doesn't this eggciting "patina trick" look super-simple?
This “antiquing” technique is extremely versatile too. I even used it on some of the silver-plated trays that I use for product photos, one of which is shown above. I love how they turned out! They’ve got lots of great character and the reduced shine of the silver makes it much easier for all kinds of juicy product shots.
As well, I used this same method to tarnish the pair of sterling silver, cubic zirconia, “tear drop” earrings that are shown above. Doesn’t the dark-coloured edging accentuate the sparkle of the earrings?!
BTW… I used a polishing cloth to remove the tarnish from the posts of the earrings, so that clean sterling silver is against the skin of my sensitive ears :-)
Ready to give this ultra-easy technique a try?
Most of the box clasps available at Suzie Q Studio have a polished surface, with the option to use this “antiquing” trick, but if you love the look and don’t have the time to DIY, we also have A FEW copper box clasps that already have gorgeous “natural” patinas, one of which is shown above.
For the ultimate in creating statement-making jewelry, SHOP the entire Suzie Q Studio Collection of extremely limited edition and one-of-a-kind Sterling Silver and Copper Box Clasps by CLICKING ABOVE or on the following >>> LINK
PLEASE NOTE: Once our exclusive, often one-of-a-kind, box clasps are sold out, that’s it, because they cannot be re-stocked, so scoop up your favourite(s), while you can! :-)
Wishing you heaps-o-fun with this easy-peasy DIY technique, however you decide to apply it… Happy “antiquing”!
~ xo Suzie Q 😘💕💗