Tuesday, August 21, 2012

giving hardware new life with brass gilding

I've said it before, I prefer to keep original hardware on furniture or find a vintage or antique replacement that jives.  It adds so much character.  At first glance, some hardware seems unsalvageable, but there are a few ways to give old hardware new life.


If I'm looking to keep the original finish on a set of hardware, I start with tarnish remover.  I use both Brasso (found at the hardware store) and a homemade vinegar mix.  The trick for me is to scrub it with an old, pink Snoopy toothbrush. :)


The vinegar mix is simple: mix 1 part vinegar, with 1 part salt and enough flour to make a paste.  Brush on and leave overnight.
Brasso is quite harsh, so in a perfect world, I'd use the vinegar mix all the time.  Time is the biggest determining factor for me.  If I've thought ahead I use the vinegar mix, if I'm crunched for time, I reach for the Brasso.

This particular set was brass plated.  More often than not, brass plated hardware chips and then tarnish remover isn't an option.
So I paint it.

Previously I used this method, but have since discovered Martha Stewart brass leafing liquid at Michael's.  They sell another brand, but I can't find it online - but between the two there are plenty of shades to choose from.
I like that the leafing has more movement than the spray paint.


The best part - it covers in one coat.

Edit:  Check out Wende's response in the comments for more useful information!  Thanks, Wende!

10 comments:

  1. gorgeous hardware- and I never would have known it was painted!

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  2. The finished hardware is perfection. I want to share a tip with you. The HOTTER the metal is the easier the remover works. So for the most part I heat boiling water and submerge my pieces, then add my salt and vinegar mix or lemon mix or even tomato paste mix, it is after all about the acid the ets the oxidation. Also, a quick spray with a very cheap hair spray like Aqua Net, ( cheap is major factor here, no additives) will help reduce tarnish A LOT. Hairspray that is inexpensive is nothing but a fine spray of varnish/shellac. It is fine enough to retard tarnish and then be easily rubbed out with the next polish. I can tell you more, if interested. Just email me. I come from a long line of jewelers and trophy makes. We know metal. Love all that you do and so enjoy your postings.

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    1. I've never heard of this! Thanks for sharing!

      Natty

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  3. Perfect timing! I have a long dresser (to repurpose as a dining room sideboard) to paint next month. I was wavering between polishing and your old method. Now will try the vinegar salt paste first, then if it isn't right - gild paint!
    Patty

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  4. This is so helpful as I'm getting my Brasso out toda to work on some old hardware. Thanks so much!!

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  5. So excited about this product! I have two pieces I'm painting and both pieces need help with their brass hardware. Thank you!

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  6. Thanks for the heads up on the brass leafing! I use liquid gold and silver leaf, but never knew they had one in brass. Thanks!

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  7. Well what a timely post, thanks Wende. I'm soaking my handles as we write. Happy painting.

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  8. Natty, I am a native of Arizona too.. Although I live in the northern part of Phoenix, I stumbled upon your blog by chance and I am hooked . I have a question, I am refinishing a dresser , a twin of your peacock blue dresser , it has mother of pearl and brass hardware , would you suggest the method u used or is dipping them in hot water advisable . Any suggestions would greatly be appreciated. Thanks !

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    1. My guess it that it would work fine as long as you scratched them up a bit so the paint adheres well.

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