Liver of sulfur on silver

Carol Holaday rings
three rings with LOS
Carol Holaday - ring
Bird in a Bush ring

Three new rings created for the recent sale at Monterey Peninsula College. Showing these as examples of the colors that can be achieved on silver using liver of sulfur patina.

Liver of Sulfur for a rainbow of colors on silver –  adapted from instructions provided by Katherine Palochak.

2 C. hot water

about a half teaspoon of LOS gel (or can use dry lump form)

1 Tbsp. clear, plain ammonia

1 tsp. salt (I use kosher)

Dissolve the LOS in the hot water, then add the other ingredients. Stir well. Color of water will be yellow.

Dip piece to be patinated into a container of very hot water to pre-heat the metal, then briefly dip into the LOS solution.

Next dip it in a container of ice water to stop the action and set the patina.

Repeat as necessary to achieve the colors you want. Best to build up color slowly.  Color will develop beginning with straw gold and ending at total black. Left too long in the LOS and the black can become too thick and flake off.

This recipe is particularly good for the dark purple and blue iridescent colors although I have achieved some remarkable orange and magenta colors as well… as seen on the ring at right in photo.

Try different amounts of ammonia and salt (iodized salt gives a different color than kosher salt), and make color patterns by selectively dipping just certain areas of the piece into the LOS solution.

Allow the patina to dry and set before rubbing it off the high areas of the design with a fine polishing paper or pumice. I also use this process for copper and brass although the colors achieved will be very different. Mostly brown to black.

Another Color on Metal Sample

patina on copper
coloring copper with a combination of techniques

Sample created using a combination of techniques demonstrated in my 2010 Color on Metal workshop. Copper sheet with roll printed texture, red and black heat patina using a torch, plus a cold process cupric nitrate patina. I found the formula, instructions, and chemicals at ScienceCompany.com.

Reading and suppliers-Color on Metal 2014

What I am working on now

Documenting a process. I am slowly working on describing the steps I use in creating original artwork for the photo-etching technique I use to produce pattern on sheet metal.

fern photo 5
color photo of fern

I find that starting with my own photos gives me a way to create unique patterns that express my interests. These patterns can be applied in many different ways… ending with a great variety of “results” depending on the choices made along the way. Just three of the many possible results are featured in this post as examples. Only three cuffs for now, but I also have ring bands and pendants from the same photo.

Cuff bracelet
Cuff bracelet with fern print
Cuff above was first colored with heat and then a chemical patina was applied.

fern cuff with LOS
Fern Cuff with LOS only
Cuff above has a simple LOS patina only.

Fern Cuff with Guilder's paste
Fern Cuff with Guilder’s paste and LOS
Cuff above was first colored with both gold and silver Gilder’s paste, and then with LOS.

Edit May 5, 2013 – I keep starting and stopping with this “tutorial” project because I am not sure I have anything new, or sufficiently different, to add to what is already available on the subject. Just do a Google search for “how to etch metal at home” and you will be overwhelmed by the results. Or an image search for “etched copper jewelry” and many of the results will take you to instructions. This is a VERY popular technique with lots of variations for every part of the process… start to finish. Plus, how useful would instructions for preparing an image from a photo be for someone who doesn’t have Photoshop for transforming the photos? Will Photoshop Elements work? How about the free photo editing programs? One large tutorial or many smaller ones for each step? Lots to think about. Meanwhile, I think I’ll simply report on what is working for me as a way of sharing.

Stacked Saucer bead

Taking a break from etching experiments to prep and make a stacked saucer bead for a tube rivet demo. I really like the color combination of high karat gold and turquoise and this inspired my choice of materials for coloring the copper and brass.

stacked and riveted saucer bead
Stacked Saucer bead with color

stacked saucer bead components
components for stacked saucer bead

coloring materials
coloring materials for the stacked saucer bead

I started with three 24 gauge 1 1/2″ discs. The fine silver tube is 1/4″ OD. The silver jump ring is soldered closed. After coloring the domed copper discs with first the paint and then the Gilder’s Paste, they were sprayed with acrylic to seal them. The gold leafing pen was used to color the small flat brass washers only. I used a small cross pein hammer to texture the edge of the brass center. The beautiful tube riveting tools from Tim Lazure where used to set and finish the rivet.

riveting tool set
Riveting tool set from Tim Lazure.com

Two sides of another saucer bead made using similar techniques. This one features etched copper discs colored with Gilder’s paste and LOS and a copper center disc with a red heat patina.
4509w

Saucer Bead with etched copper
Saucer Bead with etched and colored copper