Sunday, October 7, 2012

Cleaning, Patinaing and Coating Copper Wire Tutorial

Hello friends!

I have just dipped my toes into the pool of metals and I learned SO much so I thought I would share my findings with you :)

**DISCLAIMER**Remember to wear protective eye wear, gloves and work in a well ventilated area. Be sure to CAREFULLY  follow instructions on chemicals and sealants. Genea Beads(Genea Crivello-Knable) is NOT responsible for mis-use or injury from these products.** 

This tutorial is simply showing you the process of patinaing and coating metal and will NOT produce a finished product.

protective glasses
clear guard sealant(8oz "normal" class matte) From Sculpt Noveau
Renaissance Wax(Fallen Angel Brass) *optional
copper wire(jump rings whatever you want to patina)
1/16th mandrel(A piece of wire, hanger, or what you can find will work for a drying rack)
sos pad
baking soda
warm tap water(DO NOT BOIL)
liver of sulfur gel- XL GEL(1fl oz. bottle)
Work surface(tray, tile, glass plate etc)
3 small containers with large mouths(bowls, glass bottles etc for solutions)
plastic spoon
plastic fork
old tooth brush(only used for cleaning)
paper towel
liquid dish soap
item to cover patina solution container(lid what ever you have to cover your solution container)
 2 pieces of wire to bend into a hook(this can be any scrap wire you have lying around)

For this tutorial I am using one of my NEW glass "Spiral Rainbow" S-clasps.Keep an eye out for these in the shop soon ;)

**ALL of these instructions for mixing your solutions come with the Liver of sulfur gel.**

First you will need to get one of your small containers(mine was a bowl from the dollar store). I would personally get some short squat mason jars with lids as you can save some of these mixed up solutions for later use. I just used what I had on hand. Grab your: gloves, work surface, paper towel, ammonia, water, dish soap, warm water, and tooth brush. The cleaning solution is: 2 cups warm water, 1 tsp liquid dish soap, and 2 TBS of ammonia. Put on gloves, mix solution, and scrub your pieces with a tooth brush. Rinse with water and dry on a paper towel. 

Grab another container. Mix your Neutralizing bath: 2TBS baking soda to 2 cups of warm water. Stir with your plastic spoon to dissolve. Set aside.

Grab your last container. Mix LOS- 1-2 cups of very hot water  and 4-8 drops of patina gel(DO NOT BOIL the water and patina it will EMIT TOXIC FUMES!) The solution will be lemon yellow.  Cover when not in use to preserve the temperature of the solution. Warm solution will yield best results.

Next take your items to be patinated and put them into the LOS bath. In the instructions it tells you to put them on a piece of wire and dip them, but I just put mine in the solution. You can see them turn black. Pull out our pieces when the desired color is seen.
Here is the "S-clasp" in the LOS solution. Once the desired blackness is achieved, remove your piece from the LOS solution with a plastic fork or spoon and put it in the neutralizing bath. Your LOS solution will deteriorate once it is mixed. Once you are done using your solution you can set your container aside and cover. Once the solution has turned to a milky white it is safe to dump outside on the grass.
Leave your piece in the bath for a few moments. Remove with a plastic fork. Rinse in clear water.
Set your pieces on a paper towel to dry.

You can highlight textured areas and remove oxidation from the high spots with a light abrasive such as baking soda. You can wet your thumbs and dip them in baking soda and rub them on your piece.
You can also take your sos pad and buff up shiny spots.( This photo was taken by me by resting the camera on my chest and chin. Lol. It worked, right?!)

You should be wearing gloves through this whole process, but as you can see I am not in this photo. SHAME on me! Grab your clear guard and 2 wire hooks you made to hold your piece. You can either hold the top and dip the bottom, then slide your bent piece of wire hook in the dipped part and dip the other side, or you can make a second wire hook to hold the piece as you dip and use the other hook to grab the dipped side. 

You will notice that when you dip it it's like dipping a bubble wand. I held my piece with both wire hooks, put it over the clear guard lid and blew on the spot in the spiral that held the lacquer to keep the liquid from sitting in places I didn't want. Be careful not to breathe in the fumes. I also tapped the piece on the inside lip of the can to get it to drip off excess lacquer. 

I made a make shift drying rack by balancing a 1/16th mandrel on a bowl bottom and the edge of my desk. You can rig up whatever you need to to make a drying rack. You will need to let the lacquer dry for 2 hours before applying another coat. I did 2 coats on my hooks.

NOTE- if you are patinaing other metals with lots of patina such as verdegris this is where you may want to coat your piece in 2-4 layers of clear guard and then add some ren wax. I personally have not used any other patinas at the moment, but this is what I was told works from other artists I trust :)

I hope you enjoyed my short tutorial on cleaning, patinaing and coating copper. 

Be SAFE and have fun!

I had a BLAST making my pieces!

I will be blogging about the birth of the "Rainbow Spiral" S-hook in another blog( even took a short video!).

See you soon!

xo Genea


Divya N said...

Thanks for the tutorial, I was under the wrong impression that once LOS is used there is no need to seal the piece, so coating is new information for me. But I have a question, doesnt the bead look weird when covered with glaze? or do you only coat the metal part s?

Genea Crivello-Knable said...

No, you want to seal the piece so the LOS doesn't rub off over time. Nope, you can get a matte sealer. It just darkens the piece a little bit and gives it a lovely matte finish. xo Genea

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