Starry Night Patina Tutorial

Free Sapphire Patina Tutorial ~ An Easy DIY Project with Amazing Results!

I've been promising a tutorial and I've finally finished it~ 
This Sapphire Patina is just so beautiful 
and it's something all of you can try at home with terrific results! 
Here's the project:

Sapphire Starry Night Earrings Tutorial

Items you'll need:
2 Brass Rectangle Charms provided with holes 
1.5mm hole punch (if no holes in brass charms)
fine steel wool or scotchbrite (outside scrubby of sponge will work)
Spray bottle of water
Coarse salt  provided 
Ammonia - household
Plastic container with lid 
2 small round flat stones 
2 brass earwires or 20 ga wire provided 
2 Brass stars or small charms  provided 
 Getting Started: 

Setting up the patina station~ 
Set up your plastic container in a well ventilated area ~ the lid will be on for most of this procedure, but ammonia has a very strong outside in a covered area is a good place.  I've used a plastic old deli meat container... large enough to place a few pieces in...(use a container that you can have specifically for this project and not for future food) ~ Plastic gloves are a good idea too! 
Old Deli meat container...but any plastic container with lid will work ~

Lay two round flat stones on bottom of container and pour in just a bit of Ammonia not cover the stones with ammonia...just enough to cover the bottom of the container.  Put the lid on for now.  You can use any plastic cup or dixie cups upside down...don't use metal or porous materials

Here's the concept for the stones...soon the metal charms will rest on top~ 

Preparing the brass:
Texture the two brass rectangles anyway you  like using a rounded hammer end or metal stamps. When I stamp, I anneal the metal, then clean it in a mixture of 1/3 salt and 2/3 vinegar...let it sit for around 5 minutes in the mixture, then rinse well.  The metal will be softer to hammer, stamp and shape.  When stamping or hammering, I like to place a folded paper towel on the metal bench block then lay the metal on helps relieve the vibration of the hammer to the metal.  The pieces pictured here are pre-hammered....Shaping the metal before you patina, is a good's possible to flake off the patina if you bend the metal afterwards.  

I used my wooden dapping block to can also accomplish this on a soft piece of pine wood (I have a piece of 2x4 board)and tapping lightly with the round end of  the hammer...(lightly tapping the back side will curve the charms outward and tapping on the front side will curve them inwards) You can also hammer over a wooden baseball bat or old wooden rolling pin for bracelet forms ~ Large dowels work great for hoops & rings too!

Here I'm curving inward  ~ 

Once shaped, take your brass pieces and scrub them (without water) with your scrubby, scotch brite/steel wool (extrafine) or brass brush ..(I prefer my brass brush) this will bring a shine to your pieces....they are now ready to be patina'ed. Try not to touch the clean metal with your fingers as the oil may hinder the patina from adhering. I really like my bent nose plyers...I use them primarily for everything!

Patina Process:
Spray the shiny face side of each piece with with water to wet the surface.  While not touching the shiny side with your fingers (use plyers or hold the sides) place your brass charms on the stones in the plastic container face side up.

Spritz cleaned metal pieces with water

Carefully place brass pieces face side up on stones or small plastic cups
(crystal lite cups upside down) 
You can use anything not porous to place the components on ~  
Sprinkle coarse salt (included ) on the brass's ok if some of the salt spills into the won't affect the outcome...just don't let the brass piece fall in....if it does...just rinse, place on stone & re-sprinke the salt. 
How much salt on the metal is a personal preference. I try to give an even the pieces match for earrings...but if making pendants experiment with different amounts or even try smaller grain table salt..I like the coarse salt because it makes a much bigger pock mark.  You could even cut a shape out of masking tape and adhere to the face...this part will not have any patina...but a shiny shape once done and tape carefully removed.

Place the lid back on the plastic container and wait around 24 hours...the fumes from the ammonia work with the salt and can peek occasionally... When you like the color it's time for the next step ~ Here are the pieces ready to be rinsed! Look at that blue! Gorgeous!

With plastic gloves or plyers pull out the salt covered pieces and rinse off salt in water ~ I used a yogurt cup, because I don't have running water in my can rinse just as well in your sink...
Rinsing the salt off~ 

 Remove from water and lightly dry with a paper towel....let sit til dry for an hour or so ~

Brass charms drying~ So pretty with some of the brass showing through~ 
Protecting the Finish:
From here you can see the beautiful variation dark and light blue tones and bits of  brass peeking me this is just perfect! Now I'm ready to seal.... You can pick up an inexpensive lacquer at the hardware store...or you may have one in the workshop. 


 I use a paper plate, but you could use a paper towel or newspaper....holding the spray lacquer at least 12" away, lightly spray your pieces evenly....A VERY LIGHT COAT....Don't saturate...or you'll loose the wonderful deep tone...let dry for 20 minutes and spray again 2 more times at 20 min intervals ~(a total of 3 times)  The spray lacquer will help preserve the blue patina ~ Now if you're in a jam...and forgot the can possibly get away with a few coats of clear nail polish or car wax....just remember A VERY LIGHT COAT...a couple of times ~ 

Brass charms sprayed with Lacquer and drying ~ 
At this point you can finish your piece or you can play ~ If you happen to have  Guilders paste around...try adding different tones to this blue, I can see maybe a lavender, verdigris or my favorite foundry bronze...very, very lightly glide a bit on your finger over this or maybe just around the edges...this is where you get to be could also play with alcohol inks....I've dabbed them on and gotten great results! 

Finishing things up:
If your charms don't already have a hole you can add one now or even before you start the patina process. I like to use a 1.5mm hole punch to make a big enough hole for the earring to swing easily from the ear wire.

Center the punch and gently squeeze ~ 
Attach your ear wire and charm to both pieces and you are ready to go! This is a super fun project and really easy to accomplish great results! 
Add ear wires and charms  or beads ~

Ta Da! You have an amazing pair of artisan earrings and you did it yourself! 
Another you can also use Copper & Bronze with varied results ~ Have fun playing with this fun concept ~ as I try new ideas with this I'll add more pictures and hints!  Here's a picture of copper with the sapphire patina ~ dark and mysterious ~ 

All you need to provide is the ammonia, lacquer, containers and tools ~ 
I'm always available to ask questions too! 
Look for more kit's of this type soon!  If you would like to be notified, send me a message at

I have lot's more brass components to play with... 
Please take a look at my Etsy Website


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