Ok, so I've made some new pieces, mostly from reconstituted CopprClay, I've fired them, and now I'm ready to give them a nice finish. All of these pieces are going to be wire brushed and then treated with a simple patina solution. If I wanted a shiny finish, I would have followed up the brass wire brush with a red rouge polish instead. You'll find more information on finishing pieces at my prior post, but I'm going to be using the same basic method here.
The pieces come out of the kiln with no luster at all. If they've been fired properly, the metal in the metal clay mixture has sintered and formed a solid metal pieces. Impurities, moisture, and chemical reactions may get in the way of that. But if all is well, you can get a wonderful shiny finish, though not mirror bright, with just a simple brass brush. I use a few drops of dish soap as well, to remove the charcoal residue while I'm brushing. The shot above shows one piece brushed and one unbrushed. Can you tell which is which?
I brushed the key and the insulator very gently, since they have thin coats of copper "paint" brushed onto them. I was hoping that the copper would stick and not flake off as soon as I started brushing. Both were successful. I got a little bit of flaking in a few spots, but since I'm going to be aiming for a rustic finish anyway, that's alright. Here are what the rest of the pieces looked like after brushing with the brass brush:
My next step was to use a patina solution. The liver of sulfur formula I used was provided by Katherine Palochak on Ganoksin. Follow her directions, using the three bowls and setting up your dipping stations as instructed. I use the formula of 2 c hot water, a small piece of LOS, 1 T ammonia, and 1 t salt.
After heating the pieces in the hot water, I dipped them into the LOS solution, and then used a container of cold water to rinse them. Most were dipped through this process several times until they got the tones I wanted. I used the brass brush on some of them again, just to shine up the high points. Here's what they looked like when finished. Scroll back up to compare them to the pre-dipped pieces:
See the crack across the top of the lavender-impressed charm? Yes, it did end up cracking a few days later :-( But stay tuned for pictures from the truly Epic Fail that I'll be showing you tomorrow!
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