Patina play

Treating base metal pieces with solutions to develop patinas on the surface is how I spent a good part of my time over the weekend. I started by cleaning the pieces to make sure there was no grease on the surface.

I melted the ends of silver wire and copper wire to use as head pins for earrings. Later I would I hammer the copper wire to get a flat round surface which I would then color with a patina. But first, I cleaned the head pins by throwing them in a rotary tumbler with a little water, soap, and steel shot, to make sure they were ready to receive the patina. Goodness gracious…

I use patina solutions from Shannon LeVart of Miss Ficklemedia. After buying Shannon’s pieces for a couple of years, I decided to buy her tutorial and some supplies to try it myself. Her instructions are excellent. So is her work. Definitely check out her Etsy site. 

We had temperatures in the high 50’s today and it was sunny. The patinas had developed for more than a day so the timing was perfect for taking the batches of patin-ted pieces outside to spray with Permalac to seal the colors.

The pieces I am most excited about are the beads I made myself from copper and bronze metal clay. The patinated background with raised  designs came out just as I hoped. I especially like the russet red.

Tomorrow I’ll apply a layer of preservation wax over the lacquer and then hand buff each piece. After that the beads will be safe to wear against clothing and skin, and it will be time to make some jewelry. Sometimes I think about just making and selling beads. No matter what material I’m working with, I usually end up thinking about making beads with it. Barb the bead maker. Yeah…. Meanwhile I have plans for all of those brass paddle-shaped pieces in the first photograph. I didn’t make them, but I patina-ted them and they will end up starring in a great pair of earrings. That’s a story for another time.


Happiness is a handful of handmade head pins!


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10 responses to “Patina play

  1. Oh my goodness! Everything turned out just beautifully! Drooling here over every single piece of art that you create!


    • Barb Fernald

      Thanks Patti, that’s so nice of you!
      I’m anxious to get to work with these pieces, but I have one more step to go through before they are totally sealed and ready to use.


  2. holly

    the beads made by you are definitely the stand-outs here!


    • Barb Fernald

      Thanks Holly. I’m pretty pleased with the look of the tear-away texture and red patina. I’m totally psyched for making polymer beads with you SOON! xoxo


  3. Everything is just gorgeous! What a days work! Those head pins are to die for. Really…………you could sell those in a New York minute! Or a Maine minute. Which is probably longer. But I digress. Seriously, selling the beads and headpins is not a crazy idea. I have had a shop on Etsy since 2008. I sold 2 things from 2008 to 20011. Then this year I started selling just the beads and I am selling once a week now. Which is a lot for me.


  4. Barb Fernald

    Ha ha Roberta. I think a Maine minute is weather related! As in, if you don’t like the weather in Maine, wait a minute..”

    I like buying other people’s beads on Etsy almost as much as I like making my own beads. So, it feels like it makes sense to offer beads….I’ve been thinking about it for months. I even have another Etsy shop name (albeit a very corny one) ready to go for a bead shop. I’ll have to see how it all plays out.


  5. Oh my gosh, I love your beads patinated and I love your head pins too!


  6. I look forward to reading your blog every day. It’s worth your effort for sure! I have really learned a lot from your photos and step by step discussions. Still wish i could buy some of your beads. They are very creative.


  7. Let me know if you do open your Etsy shop to sell your beads


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