Construction / Molds
Scoring / Breaking Glass
Fitting The Glass
Solder / Soldering
Releasing a Shade
Ring and Rim
Tools, Aids etc.
Health & Safety Concerns
Selling Your Artwork
Metals: How patina adheres to the metal depends on where the metal stands
on the scale of metal integrity. The scale is as follows: lead, tin, brass,
copper, and finally, the best of all - bronze, an alloy of copper and
tin. You run into problems when you use different metals in one project.
Each metal accepts patina in a different way and so it is impossible to
make the patina uniform.
Cleaning: The golden rule of patina: any metal finish reflects the quality
and condition of the metal underneath. Contaminants will be reflected
inn the quality of your patina. Rinsing is necessary after any cleaning
procedure otherwise you will have unpredictable results. Fine steel wool
(000) is best to use on oxidized lamps, it won’t scratch the lead.
Immediately apply the patina after the lamp is clean.
Electroplating: The best way to avoid the mixed metal problem is to have
the finished lamp electroplated with a hot-cold copper process. To find
a good electroplater, check with local antique dealers. When you talk
to an electroplater, make sure that he has worked with glass and metal
combinations and let him know that you plan to add chemicals to the electroplating.
Specify 4 mils. of thickness. Request instructions on how he wants you
to prepare the piece. (There probably won’t be any instructions,
because of their preliminary acid bath.) The charge is usually based on
how long the piece is in the tank and how many pieces can be fitted in
the tank. The duration of the procedure is usually 45 minutes and should
cost between $35-$50. The result should look like a dull copper penny.
Materials: To solder your lamp, use Canfield or Gauthier solder (less
and water soluble flux. Do 2 applications of patina, especially with copper.
Use Simichrome polish for finishing. Do not use Simichrome polish on lamps
with black patina since this polish will remove the patina. (If black
patina flakes, dilute it with a small amount of water.) Use 2 coats of
polishing wax on black patina, such as Minwax® to obtain a dark finish.
Finish off by buffing.
Brass finials and caps: Don’t solder brass finials and caps. (Brass
takes patina better than tin/lead.) Steel wool first, then dampen a paper
towel with patina and apply in a circular motion. It will gradually become
darker and more lustrous. This takes 2-3 minutes. If you have spotty areas,
steel wool it again and reapply. Apply Simichrome.
Finishing an electroplated copper lamp: Clean lightly with fine steel
wool, inside and out. Rinse and allow to dry. Mix 1 tsp. clear white vinegar
with 8 oz. Jax green patina. Dip brush or rag into mixture and apply to
the lamp. The patina will turn brown. Let it sit 10-15 minutes and the
green will begin to appear. (If humidity is high, it might take 30 minutes.)
If it doesn’t look green enough, apply a second coat. If you have
a patch not taking, use steel wool on it and reapply. If you’ve
done it properly, the patina shouldn’t come off it you swipe it
with your thumb.(How much green you allow to appear is a personal decision.)
Finally, rinse the piece to stop reaction and blot dry.
Finishing a lamp that hasn’t been electroplated: You’ll need
3 Jax chemicals: 1. Copper plating solution (not copper sulfate) 2. Brown
darkener #. Green patina. You’ll need 3 application brushes, each
marked copper, brown and green. The chemicals must not be mixed; if they
are, the result will be splotchy and peach-colored.
1st application: Brush on Copper plating solution and let it set for 2-3
minutes. Rinse and blot dry. Use steel wool to completely remove the solution.
Rinse and blot dry.
2nd application: Apply 2nd coat of copper solution. It should look like
a bright shiny penny. Solution always takes better on the 2nd application.
Remove any blotches with steel wool and redo. Rinse and blot dry.
3rd application: Brush on a small amount of Brown darkener with a new
brush. You will not have an immediate reaction, so wait 5-10 minutes.
It should take on a deep leather brown look. Rinse and pat dry.
4th application: Use a new brush and apply the Green patina to the dry
lamp. Nothing will happen for 15 minutes and it may take up to 45 minutes.
If you want more green, apply a 2nd coat, but don’t rinse between
green applications. (As you apply the 2nd coat, it will look like you
removed the 1st coat, but the color will come up as it dries.) Rinse the
lamp. Dry the lamp - but since the green is very fragile, use a hair dryer
or very light patting until it’s dry.
5th application: Lacquer and wax. Lacquer comes in gloss, satin (low luster)
and matte (dull finish). Buy spray cans of Kryon or Dupont Color Works.
(Whether you use satin or gloss is a personal preference. Matte lacquer
looks especially good on Oceana glass.) The lamp must be totally dry.
Hold spray can 6-10” away and cover the lamp, inside and out, with
a very thin coat. When the lamp is dry, apply another very light coat.
After the second coat is dry, apply a coat of GlassWax.
Joe Jewel of Paul Crist Studios: notes by Nikki O’Neill
After much experimentation, it was found that the look of patina can be
influenced by the humidity temperature and water in your area. Joe dissolves
chemicals in de-ionized water but rinses in tap water to get the yellowing
from chlorine. He suggests trying the M20 and M30 chemicals.
Procedure used at Paul Crist Studios:
1. Clean the shade with dichloroethylene dissolved in warm water.
2. Acid bath.
3. Cyanide bath - approximately one hour for copper plating.
4. Apply desired patina solutions. Joe applies several coats of patina
to the lamp, scrubbing it off between coats. Use Saran Wrap to cover the
lamp in order to keep the patina working.
5. Clean the shade thoroughly.
6. Apply a satin finish Lacquer. This finish is between clear and matt.
(Lacquering a lamp is a personal choice.)
7. Wax with brown/black shoe polish using a large bristle brush. (Do only
one-third to one-fourth section of the lamp at one time and then wipe
off the wax.) To seal the patina and shine the lamp, polish with a clear
paste floor wax. The wax removes the brown from the glass but leaves a
nice color to the lead lines.
•If you want your lamp to look even older, sprinkle on vacuum dust!
•Whitish deposits on the solder of your lamp come from the adhesive
on the foil. Joe recommends using hand-cut foil that uses Tacky Wax®
as the adhesive.
• The sun will darken a patina.
Roger Weiss: In my first effort to get a green patina to take, I followed
the directions to the letter, using Jax copper (2 applications, first
application scrubbed off with steel wool), Jax brown and then Jax green.
The results were not good but I noted that the patina seemed to “take”
better on the inside of the lamp. I theorized at the time that the result
must be dependent on the rate at which the green dried. Last year, I made
a 14” Dragonfly and decided to try the green patina again. Once
again, I followed directions closely, but after I applied the Jax green,
I put the lamp in a deep plastic tub and covered over the top with a cloth
to limit air access. When I checked the next day, I was pleased to see
the extent to which the green had “taken” - both inside the
lamp and outside. I lightly buffed the lines and applied a second coat
of green; I placed the lamp back in the tub and covered it again. The
next day I removed the lamp from the tub and discovered that the green
patina completely covered all the solder lines and filigree. There was
little, if any, grayish residue and the green patina was dense and very
resistant to the touch. I cleaned and waxed the lamp and the final result
was much better than I had ever hoped for!
Genevieve Berthet: You can get a green and bronze patina without having
your lamp plated. The secret is baking soda! After soldering is completed,
thoroughly scrub your lamp clean. Make a light paste of baking soda and
water, apply it to the lamp and let it sit overnight. After rinsing off
the paste, alternately apply both copper and black patina for wonderful
Alex Glassman: To get a very shiny copper patina, clean off the flux,
after you’ve completed soldering, and put on Kem o Pro. Buff the
lamp and then apply the copper patina. Do a final buff.
MJ Murray: To achieve a dark brown patina, apply black patina to the lamp
with a sponge, rubbing the solder lines with fine steel wool until the
solder becomes a pewter color. Rinse the lamp, but don’t dry it.
Rub the solder lines again with the same unrinsed sponge and then rinse
Tracey Christianson: Apply copper patina and then rinse and dry the lamp.
Scrub lightly with fine steel wool and then repeat this procedure. Apply
the black patina, 57
but only leave this patina on for a minute and then rinse.
Deb Sossi: I start out by putting copper patina into a plastic dish. I
dip a soft rag into the dish and go over each solder line on the inside
of the shade. Once that was finished, I took a wet rag and wiped the patina
down in order to slow the action of the chemical. After patinating the
outside, I took the shade outside and rinsed it off with a garden hose.
(To hold the shade steady while it was being rinsed, I laid a towel over
a large garbage can lid and placed the shade on it.) I repeated the entire
patinating procedure, but this time I used black patina. After the rinsing
step, I dried the lamp with a soft towel and let it air dry for an hour.
I used Kem-O-Pro Finishing Compound to polish the shade and then let it
set for another hour. After buffing with a clean soft rag, I used a Q
tip to clean around the smaller areas.
Twyla Morgan: Once I ordered a base through the mail but was very disappointed
because it looked too green. To solve the problem, I took very, very fine
sandpaper and got a lot of it off - being very careful not to sand through
to the shiny metal. Then I just plastered it with brown shoe polish, let
it dry and then buffed it. I was quite pleased with the end result.
Chaz Smith: Sometimes laquer has been applied to a base to protect the
green of the patina. If that’s the case, I’d be hesitant to
remove laquer in order to remove excessive green.Try spray painting the
base from a far distance or spatter brush it with bronze paint. I’ve
had good luck painting and patinating a white metal base with bronze paint,
patina and sealer that I purchased at an art store.
Nikki O’Neill: Joe Jewel, who among other things, repairs lamps
and lamp bases for Odyssey, often uses (brown or green) shoe polish to
“tone up” the patina.
Marie Jo Murray: Brown shoe polish is easy to find, but there is a green
(cream shoe polish) that can only be found in stores that sell cowboy
boots. Another good product that comes in small tubes of any color is
“Rub On”. It stays on well and is mainly used on picture frames.