by Rose Marion, Wire-Sculpture.com
Wire Jewelry Idea: Coating Base Metal Wires to Preserve Shine
Some time ago, Casey Willson left a comment on this popular tip of the day, Prevent Tarnish on Copper and Nickel Silver, mentioning she had a great method for preserving copper wire’s shine, using a generic of Mop N Glo, called Mop N Shine. It wasn’t long before we were flooded with requests for Casey’s secret method!
Casey was gracious enough to share her method with us. While I personally haven’t tried it yet, Casey’s spent the last 9 years developing and perfecting this method. I hope it helps you find a good method of protecting your base metal wire jewelry, too!
Please test this method on scrap wire and spare beads before using this method on your finished jewelry. We cannot guarantee results will be the same for everyone.
Protective Coating for Wire and Base Metal Findings
by P. Casey Willson
Set up items needed:
- Product: Mop N Shine (generic form of Mop N Glow floor polish)
- Viva paper towels (or other good quality)
- Tray or flat cardboard (optional)
- Long tweezers, crochet hook or old (clean) pliers
- Air tight container
- Water and disposable rag for clean up
- Cotton swabs for cleaning off gems while product is wet.
- Ammonia for cleaning up dried spots on work area.
- DO NOT get this product on good gemstones or cabochons as it will dry blotchy on polished stones. Treat wire or findings ahead of time or with small paint brush to touch up after finishing item or on high wear spots such as bails or pin backs.
- Be sure wire is very clean with no tarnish (patina is just fine if you want to keep it!) or dirt at all. This coating is very hard and difficult to remove when cured.
- Be aware you are working with a polymer and the feel of the wire will be a bit slick. Be sure to include the polymer in your item description. I think it’s a plus, as it prevents tarnish and also reduces allergic reactions to everything except rare allergies to plastic.
- DO NOT dip spring clasps; paint the outside instead. Dipping can lock up the spring mechanism.
Pour at least 1″ of dip into your air tight container. I prefer a 6″ to 8″ by 3″ oblong container or 3′ to 6″ large round one that will hold at least 2″ of dip with a 2″ clearance above the liquid level for safety. With these sizes you can dip a coil of wire without any bends being created.
Place wires or findings in dip without splashing. It can be removed immediately with fingers if you prefer but better with long tweezers, a crochet hook or old pliers. The dip WILL freeze the joint of the pliers if you allow it to dry in the joint so hold them nose down and dry them nose down.
Let excess drip off then lightly drop on newspaper and paper towel lined tray. Stretch your wire coil (or separate multiple findings) so the dip does not dry on two connected items. You want to avoid rough spots this may create. We’re after a smooth, thin coating. Curing time is short. Generic brands cure faster. Allow at least ten minutes for hard curing.
If item being dipped (such as a base metal cab setting) has “holes” or filigree, be sure to lightly blow through the holes to prevent a film from forming.
If dipping a finished base metal piece or chain hang from a pin or hook above your absorbent pad to let any excess drip off. Chains will be a little bit stiff but just run them through your fingers when dry and they will be fine. We work with wire so any of us can make a stand from which to hang these pieces from stiff wire (coil the base, then make an arched rise with a hook on the end).
Touch up (with small paint brush) any places where pliers may have broken through dip coating while you were working with it.
Notes and Cautions
I will also dip inexpensive porous cabochons that I use in practice pieces. It works as a hardener for soft stones such as chalk turquoise and as a color fixer for dyed stone. DO NOT use on highly- polished hard stones or beads!
DO NOT use on any thread if you use thread in your work. It will make the thread brittle so it breaks. DO NOT use on leather. DO use as a sealer on acrylic painted items.
Double-dipping high wear items is a good thing. Be sure coating is cured between dippings.
Always test materials other than wire before using dip.
Product cleans up easily with water when wet. Tools like paint brushes or crochet hooks should be kept in water between uses, then dried when you finish. Avoid shaking wet items excessively as droplets may get on work surfaces and any nearby carpet or even on your clothing, then be missed.
Please practice methods before using on important pieces!!!!
I’ve developed this method over about 9 years of jewelry making in various styles and it has worked for me quite well. I love the fact that with this dip I can wear base metal ear wires! When I make copper or brass earrings I want the findings to match!
I kept this as my “secret process” for almost six years. Now I’m sharing it freely with hopes that you all benefit.
Credits: In “The Art of Painting on Rocks” by Lin Wellford this material was suggested as a paint protective coating. I took the idea further. My thanks to Lin.
P. Casey Willson
Wire-Sculpture does not guarantee any results from this method, and is not liable for any damage caused by this method. Please be sure to test this method and become familiar with it before transferring it to any finished jewelry pieces.
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