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Applying Black Patina on Zinc Came

Getting a successful black patina onto zinc came can sometimes be challenging.  However, it is possible, and success rests in the method (and sometimes type of patina) that you use.

Through trial and error, I have found that the keys to getting a good, consistent black stain on zinc came are preparation and a little patience. 

1)  The first preparation step is to remove oxidation from the surface of the came.  Even if your came is newly purchased, there will still be some oxidation on the surface.  You may notice that zinc came has a dull look.  To remove oxidation, rub briskly with steel wool.  The surface will look smooth and shiny when the oxidation is removed.

2)  Next, clean away any remnants of the steel wool by cleaning the came with a soft cloth.  Old cotton rags work great for this, and I’ve found that a dry cloth works as well, if not better than a wet one.

3)  Once oxidation is removed and the came is clean, the next step is to apply the patina.  Be certain to wear gloves and eye protection.  Patinas are acids and can cause serious burns when coming in contact with skin or eyes!  Some artisans use the same patina (Novacan Black for Solder) on zinc came as what is used on solder.  I’ve found that using Novacan Black Patina for Zinc works better than what I use on solder, and requires significantly fewer applications.  If I have done a thorough job of removing oxidation and haven’t missed any places on the came, one application of this patina tends to work well.  Generally two applications give a dark black finish to the came.

4)  Apply the Novacan Patina for Zinc to your came with a soft cloth or cotton swab.  This is no time to be frugal with the patina!  Let the patina sit on the came until it dries.  Although the patina dries quickly,  I let it sit for a few minutes.  Once dry, rub with a soft cloth and inspect the came for any areas that did not take the patina.  If you have light areas or splotches that didn’t take the patina, rub those areas again with steel wool, clean with a dry cloth, re-apply the patina, and again, allow the  patina to dry.

5)  Once you have achieved the look you want on the zinc came, you need to thoroughly clean it to neutralize the acid residue.  Flux remover, Dawn dishwashing liquid, or a solution of water and baking soda should work.  Be sure to use lots of water and rinse thoroughly!

6)  After a thorough cleaning and rinsing, dry your work with a cotton towel or paper towels, and allow to dry for several hours.  Once you’re certain the stained glass piece is completely dry, you can then wax and buff to a high shine!


Applying Black Patina on Zinc Came | Lakeside Stained Glass

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