How to Get the Blackest Black Patina on Metal

We’re getting deep into the grips of autumn in my neck of the woods. The skies are dark earlier, it’s stormy more often than not, and Halloween is right around the corner. Dark skies, dark weather, and a dark holiday had me wondering how I could bring that into my jewelry. A rich black patina is the answer!

Achieving the blackest black patina can be a challenge, though; liver of sulfur won’t achieve it on its own. Thanks to out best selling book Patina, I have a few recipes to share to help you reach a seriously spooky shade of black.

NOTE: Before attempting any new patina, remember to follow all the safety instructions provided in Patina, or provided by the product manufacturer.

BLACK PATINA RECIPES

On Steel

A rich black on steel.

To achieve a rich black on steel: Power brush surface. Phosphoric acid clean. Cold foam brush wipe Birchwood Technologies Presto Black® BST4 to desired value. Wet burnish to blend. Water rinse immediately. Dab dry. Repeat coloration process as necessary to obtain desired color quality. Acetone wipe. Apply paste wax clearcoat immediately.

On Copper

Mask areas of copper and patina to a rich black.

Masking off areas of metal before adding a patina can show off just how deep a shade of black is being achieved. The recipe for this black over masked copper is as follows: Hand scour surface. Apply tape mask to desired area. Media blast surface. Acetone wipe clean. Cold foam brush wipe a mixture of 5.1ppw sulfurated potash and 100ppw distilled water until desired value. Water rinse. Dab dry. Remove tape mask. Acetone wipe. Apply satin liquid clearcoat.

Accentuate a metallic black finished with texture.

When going for a heavily textured look with black, the best results can be achieved when you apply texture first. The recipe for the patina shown above is as follows: Hammer texture surface. Phosphoric acid clean. Clean foam brush wipe a mixture of 5.1ppw sulfurated potash and 100ppw distilled water until desired value. Water rinse. Dab dry. Acetone wipe. Apply satin liquid clearcoat.

On Brass

Achieve a jet-black patina on brass in a few easy steps.

Brass can be beautiful with a jet-black finish. To reach this deep color: Power flap disc surface. Phosphoric acid clean. Cold immerse in Birchwood Technologies Antique Black® M24 for 1 minute. Water rinse. Dab dry. Buff to remove loose patina. Acetone wipe. Apply paste wax clearcoat.

On Sterling Silver

Black patina on sterling silver takes on a ghostly look with white patterning.

At first glance this doesn’t look like the blackest black patina on sterling silver, the wisps of white patterning make it look lighter. However, you’ll find this is one of the deepest blacks you can achieve on sterling silver and, if you like, simply leave off the white patterning. To achieve this look do the following: Power synthetic wool disc surface. Phosphoric acid clean. Hot foam brush wipe a mixture of 2.5ppw sulfurated potash and 100ppw distilled water until desired value. Water rinse. Dab dry. Acetone wipe. Hot sponge Sculpt Nouveau Dye Oxide Violet until desired value and pattern. Apply matte liquid clearcoat.

For even more rich black patinas for a variety of base metals, grab yourself a copy of Patina. It includes such a wide rainbow of colors (check out these greens!) you’ll want to reference it again and again. Do you have a favorite recipe to achieve a truly black patina on metal? Share it with us in the comments below.

-Kerry Bogert
Editorial Director, Books


Explore more than 300 patina recipes in this must have resource!

 

One Comment

  1. amanda t at 10:14 pm February 28, 2018

    Those look amazing! Thank you for sharing these recipes. I’m primarily working with brass and Jax black patina and have had some great results, and some I’m not as thrilled with.

    It would have been helpful if you explained some of the terms you used such as phosphoric acid clean, wet burnish, media blast, etc. I have never heard any of these terms. Thankfully I can google.

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