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How to make steel look like oil rubbed bronze?

December 21, 2011

Q. I have built a frame for a small table out of steel, and want to make it look similar to oil rubbed bronze (black/brownish) to match the hardware in the room, preferably without just painting it. The steel has been cut, welded, grinded, and sanded, but I have no idea how to darken the shiny steel to achieve the desired color. Any ideas?


Chris Peterson
- Seattle, Washington, USA

First of two simultaneous responses -- December 21, 2011

What you may be looking for is called a patina. Commercial mixes are available in small quantities. sculptnouveau.com is a great source of products that will help you get the color you need.

Paul Barnhart
- Lake in the Hils, Illnois, USA

Second of two simultaneous responses -- December 22, 2011

You can oil it very, very slightly and the heat it slowly to 200-400 C. Any edible oil or fat can be used but linseed is the best. Repeat if needed. Your object can be immersion coppered too and then you can use same process as described previously. Old brown patina for iron can be used too (brown for firearms - 50 gm iron-III-chloride/1 lit water + after patination you can use greenish dyed clearcoat). Hope it helps and good luck!

Goran Budija
- Zagreb, Croatia

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