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topic 39937

Blackening Nickel Plated Items

A discussion started in 2006 but continuing through 2018


Q. I have some nickel plated items I would like to blacken. Any suggestions. I know nickel is pretty resistant to oxidation.

Steve Krevek
plating - Bismarck, North Dakota, USA

simultaneous 2006

A. Immersion in 50% nitric acid, warm (say 120 °F) for 10-20 seconds will blacken nickel.

jeffrey holmes
Jeffrey Holmes, CEF
Spartanburg, South Carolina


A. Oil it very very sparingly with Linseed Oil [linked by editor to product info at Rockler] (or any other edible oil or fat), then heat it slowly to 400 °C. Repeat if needed. Instead of oil you can use 20% shellac solution.Good luck!

Goran Budija
- Zagreb, Croatia

August 23, 2018 -- this entry appended to this thread by editor in lieu of spawning a duplicative thread

Q. I currently procure a cable strain relief that is made from nickel plated brass. I am required to blacken this part. Does anyone know of a good process for this. I was told that I should try black zinc coat, but this might oxidize quickly as this part will be mostly used outdoors.

carlos santos
- Billerica, Massachusetts

August 2018

A. Hi Carlos. I think the most robust solution would probably be either black chrome plating or black electroless nickel plating.

You will be plating onto articles which have weeks-old or years-old nickel plating on them, which will be very passive. You can try activating it with a Wood's Nickel Strike before plating ... but definitely run samples before committing to the process. Good luck.


pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live "Aloha"

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