In this tutorial, we will concentrate on the ever-elusive colorization of chain. I've found a method that works quite well, I hope you enjoy the process!
- chain raw brass peanut knurled chn2
- chain flattened drawn 21 x 10mm cable raw brass chn07385
- Dye oxide patina solutions: I used blue, violet and indigo and verdigris
degreasing materials - vinegar/soda or hot soapy water
source of heat- torch or heat gun
heatproof surface to work on - I used soldering block on a heatproof cloth
glass shallow dishes for patina - I used old ramekin dishes
tweezers- brass and reverse action
absorbent cloths for inevitable splooshes
kitchen paper -for quick wipe ups
sealer - I used Protectoclear; there are other sealants that will also work including the Swellegant sealant.
"third hand " stand and a couple of cocktail sticks to hang the chain on to dry
Safety first - I would be remiss if I did not mention to take precautions whilst working with heat and chemicals. The patinas solutions are water-based but do stain - so, gloves, safety goggles, and a pinny should be worn. If you DO get patina on your hands - it will come off - eventually :)
So to begin -THOROUGHLY degrease all the items you will be patina-ing.
If you leave any greasy fingerprints or machine oil it will leave a spot that stubbornly resists any patina.
Rinse and allow to dry.
Items for verdigris patina can be popped into a glass dish with a shallow covering of solution or painted with it and just left to sit. I left mine submerged for 6 hours but do keep removing and rinsing with water and allow to dry as items look different whilst wet, and you can always put them back in again to allow a further patina to develop. Keep Checking! Verdigris is a cold patina- do not heat it!
For dye oxide patinas use the following method-
degrease as before, place chain section onto soldering block and heat - NOT until red hot. Pick up with tweezers and promptly place into patina solution in a glass dish. You should hear a PLUNK HISSSS sound as the hot metal hits the dye. Remove and heat again to dry the patina onto the metal.
Mind as any wet patina can splatter as you heat it. Repeat until color develops to the opacity you want.
One dip gives a light color, 3 times a fairly solid coating. I did all of the ones you see below 3 times.
You can also paint the patina solution using a brush.
You can decant the leftover patina solution back into the bottle to reuse.
Now for some gratuitous pics of amazing coloured chain and pretty colours achieved:
Heat treated chain and violet
Verdigris,indigo and blue
I also heat patina-ed some sections of chain to show the selections of colours you can get using heat alone. Brass shows hues of greens and orange. (Copper shows fantastic purples and blues.)
Some further colour pics
From Left to right:
Blue (green tones), violet, indigo (pink/red tones)
From left to right:
untreated chain-raw brass, heat treated, verdigris
Protecting your patina :
This is a long -winded but necessary task as without sealing the patina would quickly rub or scratch off. Living in the UK means that I wasn't able to use some of the more well known sealers i.e Permalac or Clearguard. These cannot be shipped over so one has to improvise!
I used Protectoclear which is like a thin resin you can dip or sponge on.
So.. dip the chain pieces into a small plastic measuring cup with a little Protectoclear in.
Wiggle a little (the chain - not you) to remove any excess and then hang up to dry.
I use cocktails sticks in the jaws of my "third hand"
Make sure no drips form on the end and pop any bubbles that form on the links.
As the chain dries (10 mins touch dry) break the gluey joins between links so they don't stiffen. When the chain is completely -dry scrunch it a little to make sure all links are free.
Repeat 3 times for a durable coating.
Finish by Renaissance waxing and buffing once dry each link -
( I know! ) - but gives a lovely satin smooth finish.
Some Tips :
The rectangle chain links can be tricky to open and more so to close flush. Make sure you open them like jump rings otherwise you won't get them to close properly.
Use nylon jaw pliers to handle patina -ed metal to avoid damage OR wrap tape around the pliers jaws on regular pliers.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Linzi Alford IS the Magpie in MagPie In The Sky Designer Jewellery in the UK. A penchant for glittery pretty things has led her to become a jewellery maker. Lucky enough to live in a beautiful part of England -the Lake District and is Mum to 3 (and Mimi the cat!) She trained in Silversmithing at Evening classes a few years ago and is a regular attendee at the local Artisan Collective Roaming Gallery . Photography is also a passion and she likes to incorporate her love of this with her jewellery collections using her photos as part of the creations.
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