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Oil rubbed bronze look from pewter

I have a beautiful old english style chandelier (very large) that is pewter. I want to change it to have the oil rubbed bronze look to give it an updated look since it will be hanging in our foyer. Can this be done with just a spray can of paint? Not sure if it needs to be primed first? Thanks for your help.
S. Marton

Susan Marton
homeowner - Milford, Ohio
June 4, 2008

June 4, 2008

Hi, Susan. Your question has an answer similar to "Can a diamond be made from a piece of glass or an inexpensive jewel?" Real oil rubbed bronze is not paint, it is electroplating followed by a darkening process followed by a relieving process, and a home handyperson cannot do it; it is more fully described in letter 34482 among other responses.

Are there spray paints intended to look like oil rubbed bronze? Yes, but the paint doesn't know where the high wear areas are where it should look coppery, and the low wear areas where it should look brown. So I don't think the look is very hot.

VOM meter

(affil links)

Can you get a more impressive look from spray paint? I have little artistic talent, so I'm not saying I could do it well, but in theory you could spray first with a coppery color paint and then after it dries spray again with a darker brown-black paint or stain, rubbing it off the high wear areas while it's still wet to expose the copper color.

If your chandeleir is real solid pewter metal and uncoated, you probably would need a special prime coat. But if it is, I wouldn't paint it. Test it with a magnet; if no areas are magnetic I'd leave it. If some areas are magnetic and others aren't, yet the finish is the same on both, it's probably painted. If it's all magnetic it may be painted or plated. Check for resistance with a VOM multimeter [on eBay or Amazon affil links] ; if insulative, it's probably already painted or clearcoated.


Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

June 7, 2008

A. Bronze brown patina for tin and pewter:
6 gm ammonium chloride
24 gm copper acetate [affil links]
40 ml vinegar [in bulk on eBay or Amazon affil links]
1 lit water(slightly acidified with hydrochloric acid)
Metal must be grease and oxide free!use rubber rubber gloves [on eBay or Amazon affil links] and safety goggles [on eBay or Amazon affil links] !

And you must clearcoat it! Hope it helps and good luck!

Goran Budija
- Cerovski vrh Croatia

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