How To Antique Brass? 5 Easy-to-Follow Methods

Brass is always an excellent choice if you are considering adding a touch of vintage and class to your home. 

Everything made of brass, like pulls, fixtures, knobs, and sconces, will bring depth and warmth to your living space. 

When using old brass, the impact is considerably more potent. For this reason, many homeowners want to age furniture in their house with brass. 

How to antique brass? This article will show several darkening brass methods to add grace and complexity to your decorations. 

Your house will be sparkling, and your visitors will gush over your impeccable taste. Let’s scroll down to explore the tips!

What Is Antique Brass?

The phrase “antique brass” refers to a polish found on metal objects, most frequently a decorative home item.

The essence of brass is an alloy. It can be a combination of metals, with 33% zinc and 67% copper in solid brass. Polished brass has a glossy natural finish.

However, when this alloy has an ancient finish, it looks old with use and gets darker than regular brass. Also, it can absorb more illumination than it does.

An object can have an ancient look without being constructed entirely from solid brass. Several new products can have an antique finish without this substance. 

Almost any metal object may be given a fake vintage brass finish using one of the many specialist paints currently on the market.

Spray-on specialized paint makes it simple for any homeowner to give lighting fixtures or interior doors the aesthetics of brass.

Antique brass makes it simpler to customize items with various finishes and designs, making it one of its finest decorative features.

Carefully selected furniture will fit in with any room’s design or color palette relatively effortlessly.

You can buy new items like cabinet hinges, light fixtures, door hardware, candle holders, bathroom and kitchen faucets, or picture frames in this antique finish. 

It is now simple to complement an heirloom that’s also constructed of old brass to a space or other items in the area.

Antique brass
Antique brass

How To Antique Brass? 

It’s not too challenging to give your decor items an antique look. However, you should follow the proper methods of tarnishing brass. 

What does “tarnish” mean? Tarnish forms as a result of the quick oxidation of raw brass.

The presence of tarnish stops further oxidation and deterioration. Using various techniques to force the oxidation of your brass fittings, you may make tarnish appear. 

Below are the most practical ways to age brass. Let’s take a closer look!


It would be best if you prepared brass before creating the tarnish. Here is what you should do:

1. Clean brass

To antique brass properly and ensure it lasts longer, your first duty will be to clean it and prepare it for aging.

After polishing brass, manufacturers treat it with one or many layers of transparent lacquer to prevent tarnish.

Before you rust any new brass items, you must first wipe off the polish, dust, and dirt. Clean brass using this simple procedure before antiquing:

  • Put your brass items, such as pulls, in hot water, and leave them to sit there for 10 minutes or more.
  • Use tongs to remove the cleaned brass and let it cool before cleaning any nooks with a soft brush and extra hot water.
  • Use steel wool, paint stripper, or nail polish remover to remove any lacquer.

2. Determine whether it’s solid or plate

Brass may be a solid alloy or come in plate form—brass plating coating zinc and other metal combinations to bring warmth to metal fixtures.

Plating needs milder aging methods than solid items. Therefore, you must know what type of brass you will work with before antiquing these fittings. 

A magnet is the most straightforward technique to determine whether it’s solid brass. Because a magnet will not stick to brass, you know you have a brass surface if you lay one against the material.

While plated brass should only be aged gently using techniques like a vinegar dip, solid brass may withstand heavier antiquing techniques.

Check the piece
Check the piece

Different Methods Of Antique Brass 

After cleaning and checking your brass, it’s the best time to antique it. When aging metals, start with the least dangerous and damaging techniques before advancing to more powerful ones.

You should consider applying the following methods in order!

1. Saltwater

Because salt water is among the greatest oxidizers known to man, metal treated with this liquid tarnishes relatively quickly. Utilize that force to produce custom-made rusty brass hardware quickly.

While this technique will take some time, it is safe and will not damage your bright brass products.

Follow the simple steps below:

  • Prepare essential things, including salt, water, a paintbrush, and gloves.  
  • Put on your gloves. Dissolve salt in water by stirring them together. 
  • Use a paintbrush to apply the solution to your brass items. Leave them enough time to sit. 
  • To create a perfect tarnish, repeat the procedure every day for several days.
  • The saltwater imitates natural aging and forms a complicated pattern on the brass.
Use saltwater
Use saltwater

2. Vinegar 

As you know, vinegar is an excellent natural cleaning solution and liquid brass cleaning agent. 

It is also ideal for lightly patinating your brass cabinet pulls without endangering the user.

Acetic acid, which is present in vinegar, speeds up the oxidation of brass and promotes the growth of tarnish.

Your brass will look darker and older than it would with salt water. Always use gloves when handling freshly cleaned brass to prevent skin oils from getting on the brass.

Here is the process to age brass with vinegar:

  • Prepare water, salt, white vinegar, a paintbrush, and gloves.
  • Put on the protective gloves before pouring the white vinegar into the bowl.
  • Apply the vinegar mixture with a paintbrush to the brass items, and then leave them to rest for several hours.
  • Add a teaspoon of salt to the white vinegar if you like a greener hue.
  • Heat the handled brass using an oven or hairdryer to intensify the patina’s color.

3. Ammonia Vapors

An excellent DIY cleaning product you may utilize for a variety of purposes is ammonia.

It is an ideal cleaning agent for flooring and tiles and makes your laundry appear brand new.

Additionally, you may use it to rust brass. Ammonia produces a consistent coating of dark patina on brass if its vapors are in contact with the metal.

Follow these guides when using this method:

  • Prepare a large air-tight plastic container, wooden blocks, ammonia (2 cups), and rubber gloves. 
  • Put the wooden blocks on the container’s bottom. Add ammonia. The wooden blocks’ top should be over the liquid. 
  • Place the brass items on the wooden blocks. Ensure they won’t touch the liquid. 
  • Cover the container. Leave it overnight. The brass will have a dark brown color the next day. 
Use ammonia vapors
Use ammonia vapors

4. Rub ‘n Buff

This commercial antiquing product is potent and contains various active ingredients. It can make stubborn brass objects in your house look ancient. 

Always wear the appropriate protective gear when working with commercial chemicals and operate in well-ventilated areas.

Below are some helpful tips for using this product:

  • Prepare Rub n Buff, respirator, gloves, safety glasses, and clean cloth. 
  • Put on your protective equipment, then dip the clean cloth into the agent. Rub the Rub n Buff liquid on the brass. Let these pieces dry.
  • If you want to darken the patina, reapply the liquid.
  • If you use this product on faucets, picture frames, or any mixed surfaces, you must use tape to cover the parts you do not prefer to tarnish. 

5. Paint

You will not want to waste a lifetime making your brass objects appear venerable and antique.

If you’re short on time or patience and have to quickly rust some brass, paint the pieces using specialized spray paint.

Utilizing paint offers several benefits, such as shorter time commitments and a specific aged appearance.

If you don’t know what type of paints to use on your pieces, you can refer to this video:

Here are some guides to follow when painting your brass pieces:

  • Use a paint that is designed explicitly to patinate brass. When using spray paint, put on protective clothing to prevent inhaling.
  • For the optimal result, use light layers of paint and tape off any sections you don’t want to paint. The hues need to blend.
  • Leave your work overnight. 
  • To give the edges an ancient appearance, you may gently wipe the paints off using fine sandpaper.
Use paint
Use paint

How To Clean Antique Brass?

It’s crucial to learn how to clean antique brass properly. Depending on the brass’s lacquer status and the state of the object you will clean up, the cleaning procedure will change.

Let’s look through all the tips below before applying any cleaning technique to ensure your brass finish!

Avoid Abrasives 

It would be best if you didn’t use an abrasive solution to polish a lacquered item. Powerful solvents and abrasives may harm or destroy the lacquer, creating terrible problems.

Avoid abrasives
Avoid abrasives

Use Mild Soap And Warm Water

It’s best to use a soft towel, mild cleaning solution, and warm water to clean lacquered brass. 

Avoid submerging these objects if unnecessary. Instead, gently clean them with warm and soapy water. After that, wipe off using a clean wet cloth. 

Use Store-Bought Polish

You can quickly clean and scrub brass objects thanks to store-bought specialized cleaning solutions. 

They also aid in keeping your old brass from being scratched. These products are a great option if you’ve got a large item, such as a bed.

However, because fumes are dangerous, you must work in well-ventilated locations and wear comfortable cotton clothing.

Here are some helpful instructions for using these cleaning solutions:

  • Determine whether your brass item needs this product. 
  • If yes, use a mild soapy solution to wipe it off. Let the piece dry thoroughly. 
  • Pour a little brass polish with a soft cloth.
  • Use this cloth to clean the brass surface. 
  • Keep rubbing until the object looks clean. 
  • After cleaning, the finish may not be shiny. Use another polish-free towel to remove the polish. 
  • Rub until the brass item has an antique look. 

Tomato Paste

Natural products help you clean brass items. Tomatoes are an effective natural solution for polishing brass since they have strong acid that removes tarnish.

Although tomato paste is the most powerful choice, tomato sauce and ketchup are also acceptable.

Apply the paste thoroughly to the oxidized brass and let it sit for around 60 minutes.

After that, rinse it with a mild soapy solution and warm water. Dry off with a delicate cloth.

Tomato paste
Tomato paste

Lemon And Baking Soda

A decent substitute for cleaning solutions is baking soda. To make a paste, combine baking soda with lemon juice at a ratio of 2:3.

Apply the mixture to your brass piece with a clean cloth and rub them. If the object is severely tarnished, allow around 30 minutes to let them dry.

Avoid cleaning with baking soda since it may be relatively abrasive. Rinse these pieces with water and mild soap, then dry them using a soft cloth. 

If your objects are large, you can create more paste using this recipe to get the best result. 

Vinegar, Salt, And Flour

Vinegar is another option for cleaning because it contains enough acid to dissolve the patina.

Mix salt, flour, and vinegar in equal amounts in a bowl. Stir all ingredients well to combine them. 

Apply the mixture to your brass pieces. Allow enough time for them to dry, at least one hour. After that, rinse it with warm water and a mild soapy solution. Remember to buff-dry it to polish.

Vinegar, salt, and flour
Vinegar, salt, and flour

Wrapping Up

Your house will look gorgeous and attractive with brass accents. Hopefully, you have grasped some of the most effective methods of patinating brass objects in your house. You can try all the ways mentioned above to get the desired result. 

If you know other techniques, please comment below to share them with us. Thanks for taking the time to follow this post!

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