What is the easiest way to clean a piece before applying the patina.

by Deb Slutzky

What is the easiest way to clean a piece before applying the patina? I've heard that it's very important to clean the piece before applying patina or the patina will not adhere properly.

Is it true that hand oils can also interfere with the patina? Should gloves be used?

Stacy's Answer:

You're right Deb. It is important to make sure the surface is clean before applying some patinas if you are wanting to get a consistent result. I either tumble-polish or buffer-polish a piece before adding a patina. If buffer-polishing, clean all rouge residue from the metal before adding a patina.

As the patina is one of the last steps in the fabrication process, I make sure the jewelry is polished and finished first. A heat patina will prevent a liver-of-sulfur patina from affecting the metal, but does not interfere with a fumed or dipped/painted-on patina like the blue patina or verdigris one. Waxes and oils and lacquer coatings must also be removed as they prevent the patina agents from coming into contact with the metal. Warm water, dish-soap and a soft toothbrush work well for this and does not scratch your nicely polished finish!

After adding a patina, if you're going to seal it with a lacquer, the item must again be clean from oils, etc. A quick dip in acetone does the trick! Acetone does not harm a LOS, green or blue patina and removes surface oils so the lacquer can adhere well to the metal.

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