How to Cause Instant Patina on Metal

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Things You'll Need

  • Goggles

  • Mask

  • Chemical resistant gloves

  • 400-grit sandpaper

  • Liver of Sulfur

  • Glass container

  • Quality small paintbrush

  • Dish soap

  • Brass brush

  • Clear sealant

  • Universal patina


You can alter the color of the liver of sulfur by adding a drop of ammonia or an iron tablet.

Universal patina comes in a variety of colors.


Use liver of sulfur and universal patina in a well-ventilated area.

Add the look of age to your metal accesories.
Image Credit: Hemera Technologies/ Images

The bright, shiny finish on your metal vase or accessory offers the perfect fit for a modern or contemporary decor but an eyesore in a rustic, shabby chic and country design concept. Instant patina removes the shine from metal and gives it a rich green, brown, blue or rust color hue creating the illusion that the piece is a treasured family heirloom. The type of instant patina solution you use depends on the metal you want to alter, liver of sulfur works best on silver and copper, while universal patina changes the appearance of all types of metal surfaces.

Liver of Sulfur

Step 1

Wear goggles, mask and chemical-resistant gloves before starting the patina process.

Step 2

Rub the metal down with a 400-grit sandpaper to roughen the surface for better adhesion and color change. Wipe away any excess dust.

Step 3

Mix a half-pea sized amount of liver of sulfur and a cup of water in a small glass container.

Step 4

Use a small, quality paintbrush to brush on the liver of sulfur onto your metal piece.

Step 5

Watch the metal piece until the color and patina achieve the finish you desire. Rinse the metal in cold water and wash with a solution of dish soap and water to stop the reaction. Scrub with a brass brush to even the patina, then let the piece dry.

Step 6

Spray the piece with a clear sealant to keep the patina on the piece.

Universal Patina

Step 1

Repeat Step 1 for using the universal patina product.

Step 2

Set the metal piece in the sun to warm the piece to about 150 degrees Fahrenheit. Universal patina works best when applied to a warm surface.

Step 3

Rub the metal down with a 400-grit sandpaper to roughen the surface for better adhesion and color change. Wipe away any excess dust.

Step 4

Pour a small amount of universal patina in the color of your choice into a glass container. Dip a brush into the patina and apply to the metal piece where you want the patina to show, universal patina works on any metal surface.

Step 5

Let the patina solution dry and apply a clear sealant to protect the finish.

references & resources

Heather Montgomery

Based in Lakeland, FL., Heather Montgomery has been writing a popular celebrity parenting blog and several parenting and relationship articles since 2011. Her work also appears on eHow and Everyday Family and she focuses her writing on topics about parenting, crafts, education and family relationships. She is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in early education from Fort Hays State University.