Product Guide: How to Use Liver of Sulfur

Patina gel is liver of sulfur in a stabilized gel form, making for a long lasting shelf life because it does not degrade in light and air. Patina gel can be made as strong or as weak as needed. A lemon yellow colored mixture is a good starting point. Adjust the strength by using more or less. Always work in a well-ventilated area and wear protective gloves when using any liver of sulfur product!

Antique Patina

Stir 1/4 teaspoon of patina gel into a glass or plastic container (not metal) with 6-12 ounces of very hot (NOT boiling) water. Dip the articles into the patina solution, suspend from a bent wire, or use gloves. Once you have the color you desire, remove the articles and soak in a neutralizing solution of water and baking soda for about 5 minutes. Rinse, dry and finish, to prevent the articles from darkening further. CAUTION: It's important that liver of sulfur solution never boils. If it does, toxic sulfur dioxide gas will be released. Also, never heat a patina-treated piece over an open flame, as this will also release the gas.

Rainbow Patina

Mix as above, but use lukewarm water instead of hot water. Dip the items quickly in the solution and remove. Watch as the colors develop. When you see colors you like, immediate immerse the articles in the neutralizing bath to stop the progression.

Rainbow Patina 2.0

Follow the instructions for the Rainbow Patina above, but add 1 tablespoon of ammonia to the solution. The ammonia brightens the colors and makes them pop. Neutralize the pieces after you achieve the colors you like.


Tips and Tricks

  • Be sure the metal is completely clean and free of finger oils, polishing compound, grease, etc. Use a solution of warm soapy water with a little splash of ammonia to clean the metal before attempting to patina with liver of sulfur solution. Use a toothbrush to get into the nooks and crannies. Rinse and pat dry with paper solution, then patina.
  • Warm the metal object you intend to patina prior to dipping it in the solution. This will ensure that you get an even patina on the metal.
  • After dipping, use a baking soda paste to clean away the oxidation from the high spots. Pour a tablespoon or so of baking soda into the palm of one hand, then add a few drops of water to make a thick paste. Use your thumbs to rub the metal with the paste. This will not only remove the oxidation from the high spots, it will also help neutralize the oxidizing action. The option can be left as is or polished as desired.
  • It's very important to neutralize the freshly dipped pieces. If you do not neutralize the metal, the liver of sulfur will continue to react with the metal and your item will require an immediate re-polishing. Leave articles in the neutralizing bath for about 1-2 minutes for ordinary metals, and a little longer for metal clay. Metal clay is porous and the patina solution can soak in and continue reacting for several minutes.
  • For the darkest black, dipping the object several times is better than one long soak. Leave the object in the solution until it turns dark gray. Remove and rub away the unwanted oxidation with a baking soda paste. Rinse, then patina again. Repeat until you are happy with the black color.
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