MATERIALS AND TOOLS
The gel formulas of LOS have a longer shelf life than the lump form, but they both work the same to create a professional looking finish. LOS works fastest when the water is warmed, but not boiling. A crock-pot can be used to warm LOS, especially when doing a lot of pieces at once. However, I usually just put about a cup of water in a glass measuring cup and heat it in the microwave for 1 minute.
Just a few safety reminders:
Drop a small amount of LOS gel into the warm water and stir to mix with a plastic spoon or stainless steel tweezers. To quickly achieve a dark finish, add enough LOS to make the water a dark golden brown color.
Immerse the disks into the solution. A stainless steel basket is handy when working with multiple small pieces, but stainless steel tweezers can also be used.
Remove the disks when the desired color is achieved.
Rinse thoroughly in clean water and dry.
You can begin to remove the patina using either a piece of a green scrubber or 1000 grit wet/dry sandpaper. You can leave as much or as little as desired.
Finishing with a brass brush will put a slight sheen back on the metal, while also leaving a brushed finish.
It is often nice to add some polish to an antiqued finish, and it is easy to achieve in a matter of moments. Wrap a polishing cloth around a flexible nail file (Sunshine Cloths are a personal favorite). Buff the disk and watch the shine appear!
You may wish to apply a finish such as a wax or spray sealer to help keep the piece from changing colors across time. However, I like the “aged” look that an additional natural patina gives over time, so I usually just keep a polishing cloth or green scrubber handy to bring back the lights when desired.