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Making metal trim "antique" for fashion

January 18, 2010

I am a fashion designer in New York and have gotten a trim for my collection that is made of a bunch of delicate metal coils used to create the embroidery.It is currently a bright yellow gold, but I would like to change it to have an "antique" finish- more of an antique brass color. Does anyone have any suggestions of how I could do that?
Fashion Designer - New York, NY

January 19, 2010

Hi, Allison. It isn't clear to me whether you are referring to trim on the packaging or a clothes rack display for your collection, or whether it is the clothes themselves that have the trim. I can think of two general ways to change the color of a metal object. The first is to cover it, wholly or partially, with some sort of paint, tint, wax, or lacquer; the second is treat it with some sort of chemical that will react with it and create some sort of rust, tarnish, patina, or corrosion product. The problem with the second approach is you cannot think about doing that unless you know exactly what the metal is that you wish to treat and what causes it to be gold colored.

So back to the first approach: Can you brush, rub, or spray something onto it? Which of these physical methods is most practical? A Rub'N'Buff [affil link] might be nice, and is cheap enough, but can't be done without rubbing. And if you are talking about the clothes themselves, doesn't the finish have to be dry-cleaner safe or washing machine safe? Or maybe your clients are from a different strata than me and wear once and throw away?


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

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