Using Liver of Sulfur™

Create a vintage-style patina on copper, bronze or silver components with Liver of Sulfur™. Learn the proper techniques and helpful tips in this article.

: : : Materials : : :

  • Baking soda
  • Tweezer or unwanted piece of wire, approx. 6 inches long
  • Ammonia
  • Water
  • Dry cloth or paper towels


Clean your piece thoroughly with a paste of baking soda and water. Dry.
Microwave or otherwise heat 1 cup of water until steaming, but not boiling. Fill second cup with cold to room temperature water for rinsing.
Place a thumbnail-sized amount of liver of sulfur into the steaming water and stir until dissolved. Measure approx. 1 tsp. of ammonia and add to Liver of Sulfur (LOS). Mix well.
Grab cleaned Art Clay piece firmly with tweezers or make a hook at one end of the wire and string piece on it.
Dip quickly into LOS and then into rinsewater. Dry.
If color is not satisfactory, dip again until desired color is obtained, rinsing and drying after each dip.
When completed, dry piece thoroughly and, if desired, rub with silver polish on a soft cloth, brush with stainless steel brush or use a miniature power tool to remove patina from raised areas for maximum contrast.


LOS will go through the following color changes: gold, amber, magenta, blue, and black. The intensity of the color changes depends on a number of factors:
  • The degree to which the piece has been polished; the higher the initial polish, the brighter the colors.
  • Whether ammonia has been added; colors will be more intense and brighter with ammonia.
  • The temperature of the water; the cooler the water, the longer it will take to change color and the duller the colors will be.

Rinsing your piece after each dip is important, as the LOS will continue to act even once the piece has been removed from the solution.

Drying your piece after rinsing is equally important. Re-dipping without drying will add cool water to the LOS solution and cause it to be more dilute and less effective.

Do not immediately place finished LOS pieces into the tumbler, as certain tumbling solutions may cause the LOS patina to bleed, contaminating the water and any other pieces in the tumbler.

If you are not satisfied with the result, or have left your piece inadvertently in the LOS too long, it is possible to remove the patina entirely by either placing the piece in a kiln to a temp of approximately 1100 degrees farenheit, or by firing your piece with a butane torch for a few seconds until the piece becomes white and the patina is gone. CAUTION: do not fire glass or ceramics with a torch.

Have a question regarding this project? Email Customer Service.

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