“Goldifying” Metal Accents

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I have always been partial to gold as an accent, even when silver tone is what’s preferred for a certain stone or color scheme.  For one thing, gold tone accents age and fade better than silver-tone ones that tend to rust or oxidize into black.  I also love antique brass, but while it lends a rustic look to your creation, it doesn’t quite exude the same kind of elegance gold-tone accents give.  Thankfully, I’m getting comfortable mixing my metals — but I am still careful in pulling combinations.  There are times when you can get away with it, but there are also times when it just won’t work.
Gilders paste
Last year, I discovered Gilders Paste and I have a few shades handy to work into my metal accents.  I’ve experimented with using one shade and combining two different colors.  Depending on the effect you want to achieve, the applications of gilders paste to recolor your findings is endless!

This is most specially helpful when there are so many gorgeous filigree findings in antique brass and which aren’t readily available in gold.  I also like the different quality the gilders paste gives the metal it adheres to which makes the piece look personalized with the artist’s own patina.

Working with Gilders Paste

One thing you have to remember is that like polymer clay, the consistency of the paste differs from container to container.  It is important to keep the tin container sealed tight when you are not working with it.  The following are some tips to help you work better with the medium.

  • Choose an airy workspace because gilders paste gives off fumes which are chemical in nature.  It isn’t something you would choose or want to inhale directly.
  • Try to avoid touching the paste as much as possible. I use gloves when handling “wet” or “just painted” pieces to make sure I don’t get any on my hands, or that I don’t smudge my pieces with unsightly fingerprints.
  • Work on a disposable surface like a paper plate, a paper towel, or some cardboard you are looking to throw away like an old cereal box laid flat on the table, with the cardboard inside surface as your workboard.
  • Experiment on pieces similar if not the same metal as the one you are working on for your project.  Different surfaces react in varied ways — and the color of your gilders paste will come off differently depending again on what it is applied to.  Antique brass is very “receptive” to paste but it’s darker color tends to mute or darken the shade of gilders paste you are using.  Silver tone metals tend to be more difficult to apply on and doesn’t always “take” the gilders paste well.
  • Clean your piece with a dry piece of cloth or paper towel to make sure that you are applying the gilders paste to a clean surface.  If it has a coating of even just skin oil, it will affect the way your gilders paste adheres.
  • Use a disposable brush as cleaning the gilders paste off the bristles is a bit of a challenge and generally not worth the time.  I purchase these hard bristle brushes from the dollar store.  Make sure you choose the harder bristles because this will help you “push” bits of the gilders paste into the crevices of the smaller pieces you are applying the paste on, or on the finer details of the bigger items you are recoloring.
  • Dab the paste on, do not brush it.  Stipple the paste with the brush into rugged or recessed portions of the piece such as in smaller charms.  One thing I try to do is use the inside of the cover of the tin as a work surface for pieces that will fit in it, so that the bits of gilders paste that form into smaller balls or pebble-like granules can go back to the tin for future use.  (You will know what I’m talking about when you work with it.)  I would only do this, though, if you are only applying one shade.  In instances when you are trying to achieve a different tonal quality by combining two or more shades, I’d use a specific work surface for each color so they don’t mix.
  • Depending on the effect you are trying to achieve, you may need to do two or three coatings.  Remember to let the first coating dry before applying the next coating.  In some instances, once is good enough if you are just staining or tinting the piece and not fully recoloring it from one tone to the other, like antique brass to gold.

These are my own methods for working with gilders paste.  There are other crafters with more experience in it who use sealants or thinners depending on the application.  Try it with one tub and see if you like the way it comes off of your project.  Some crafters like the antique greenish shade to show a faux antique effect on the metal.  It has a million potential uses to enhance your projects once you get the hang of it.

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