I am working with stainless steel wire, knitting a necklace and bracelet. I notice the wire is really dark. What can I do to clean stainless steel wire and make it brighter and more shiny?
Before weaving, gently clean the wire with water and baking soda or vinegar and rinse with water. Wipe down the wire gently with a microfiber cloth for water spots. This may be all you need for a brighter color of stainless steel. You can also try a polishing cloth as a final polish. Don't overwork this wire in the cleaning or polishing process since you'll need to have the wire as malleable as possible for your weaving designs.
If you prefer a brighter, silver-white color, sterling silver, non-tarnishing Argentium® sterling silver or sterling silver-filled wire would be good choices for your designs; the same concerns apply for work-hardening. When polishing designs made using these precious metals, you can use a weak solution of water and dish detergent in a rotary tumbler filled with 1 - 2 pounds of stainless-steel shot.
- Sandra Lupo, Metalsmith, Jewelry Artist and Instructor
- Sunshine® polishing cloth
- Sterling silver wire
- Argentium silver wire
- Sterling silver-filled wire
- Tumbler and stainless steel shot
- ''Tumbling and Polishing Jewelry and Stones with a Tumbler'' how-to video and illustrated instructions