Friday, February 28, 2014

Gilders Paste Patina

Hey there! Here's a quick tutorial on how to apply a colorful patina on metal. 
•Gilders paste in your choice of colors ( I use four: tulip red, iris blue, white and canary yellow - from this palette you can get every color). I bought mine from Rio Grande on the website:
•Paint thinner
•Gloves, I use non slip fabric gardening gloves by Atlas
•Cheap paintbrush
•Paper towels
•Cardboard work surface 
•metal charms - I use this technique on my pewter and bronze beads and expect this to work on any metal.
First, get everything ready and work in a well lit, well ventilated area. Use a fan, since the paint thinner can give you a headache.
Dip the brush in the thinner and work into the paste cake, you don't want to soak the cake, just wet it enough to pick up some color. I use the lid as a palette to mix colors, wipe it off when the lid gets murky.
Apply the color over a clean metal charm, using the brush to scrub the patina into the recessed areas. Its easy to get lots of variations in the color, just dab a coordinating shade next to one already applied and blend. This part should be fast, don't agonize over it, get the patina on and move to the next one. 
I work in an assembly line, quickly brushing on the paste, keeping my brush somewhat clean by dipping it into thinner and wiping it on a paper towel. 
The colors shift between pieces, because I'm wetting the brush in thinner and picking up a little paste, mostly mixing on the piece itself. This method will give lots of variations, if you want pieces to match, premix a dollop of color on the lid.
Wait 5-10 minutes, then use a paper towel to remove the excess color. If it's still a bit damp, more will come off, giving a more subtle look. The drier it is, the harder it is to remove, although the high points of the design will polish readily. 
I put on gloves while handling the pieces, because I don't like my fingers to get stained. Plus, it helps grip little charms.
I let the finished pieces dry completely and give them a light polish. The wax in the patina shines up nicely! I used to coat the pieces in Renaissance Wax to seal the surface, but found that it was an unnecessary step, since there is wax in the patina. I started using this technique after years of fiddling around with various recipes of patina and having some items continue to erode. This method doesn't alter the metal itself, just adds a tough layer in the recessed areas. If a solid color is desired, try metal inks, although both methods will wear off with time and use. The subtle coloring in the design sets off the metal itself, adding another dimension to the piece.