Monday, June 21, 2010

Repairing Tarnished Brass

You might recall that I picked up this little brass bowl at a yard sale for $1 a couple weeks ago. When I picked it up, I loved the shape and thought it would make a great vase for flowers, decorative item or jewelry holder. But as you can see, it was pretty badly tarnished, nearly black in person, and the woman who was selling it took a look at it and frowned before saying "I'll give it to you for a dollar."

The inside color is gorgeous, and my hopes were to clean it up so the outside looked just as good. Let's just say we ALMOST got there.

I did a little internet snooping around and came up with a plan of action that I would recommend if you have any interest in fixing up tarnished brass (which is super trendy right now; every single damn shirt I've bought this year has brass beads).

First, wash thoroughly in hot soapy water. Dry completely. This is what the bowl looked after that process; a little better, but not quite there.

Then, create a paste out of vinegar, salt and flour.

Apply the paste to the bowl like you're icing a cake and let it sit for about an hour.

Rinse off the paste and dry thoroughly again. Looking much better, isn't it?

Sprinkle salt on half of a lemon and rub the lemon into the sides of the bowl. This is a kind of natural scrub that also works wonders for your skin! lol.

The finished product (for now!). Seriously, I was really impressed with how much better it looked. It still looks a little scratched up and tarnished, but I think that gives it some Old World-charm. I think I might try one more round of paste at a later date, but I'm pretty happy with the results.

I should note that this was also my first foray into Heloise-style domesticity. I used to edit the Hints from Heloise column every week and if I learned anything, it's that the solution to everything is vinegar.

No comments: