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How To Antique Fake Brass

5.02.2013

When the hardware for the Murphy Bed arrived in all of it cheap-fake-yellow-shiny brass glory, I knew we needed to age it somehow.  To give it a little bit of patina. The card catalog was supposed to look old and all the yellow shininess did not say “antique” to me at least.  It said something more like “welcome to 1992.”

I did some google researching and most of what I came up with was about aging real brass.  At 1.15 a pop, I knew my handles were not the real thing.  The tint and high sheen also would indicate that. I did find some suggestions about sanding them down before painting them to take off the shine.

Hmmmm…

DIY card catalog murphy bed

Way too many handles for that.

We had some extra pulls, so I got some plastic cups and let one soak in acetone and one in white vinegar overnight.

I looked at them the next morning.

Still shiny.  And they continued to shine the after another night of soaking.

So I took them out in frustration and to do some more research.  Because I was.not.going.to.sand.

The next morning, something miraculous happened.

How-To Age Fake Brass

The white vinegar handle aged after it was exposed to air. (the acetone one still looked the same)

Yes! I was doubly excited because vinegar is also cheaper than acetone and not a toxic chemical.

In effort to save containers, we dumped the handles into a gallon of vinegar with the top cut off.

How-To Age Fake Brass

It soaked overnight.  And then laid it out a trash bag to let the air do its magic.

How-To Age Fake Brass

Starting to see something.

How-To Age Fake Brass

After a day we washed them off in warm soapy water and had old looking brass.  With each looking a bit different.

DIY Card Catalog Murphy Bed

The “new” finish held fine during install and all the handling involved in that.

If you were using this technique on a handle was going to get touched on a daily basis, I would check to see how it holds up first.  I assume it would be okay, but I did not try that variable since these are purely decorative.  Also I am not sure how many different types of fake brass there are.  This method may not work on all types.  Moral of the story?  Test your stuff out first to see what happens.

I am just happy to find a method that was quick, easy, and cheap.  And involved no sanding.

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