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Brass Charms 101 -Cleaning, Painting, Sealing

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The brass charms shown on our pages are raw brass.  They do not have any kind of a finish on them, just the raw brass condition.  You may want to wash the brass charms to eliminate any oil residue from the manufacturing process.  To do this, just wash in a solution of dish detergent and warm water then rinse.  You can scrub them with an old toothbrush for those tight spots.  To prevent water spots, dry the charms immediately.  If you receive a brass charm item that has a spot or dull look to it, they can be cleaned with any brand of brass polish.  After using the polish, wash the charm with dish detergent and water, rinse and dry immediately. 

Antiquing your Brass Charms
You can give your brass charms a whole new look by antiquing them with a dark brown or black acrylic craft paint.  To do this, coat the entire piece with paint and then immediately wipe off the excess with a soft rag (old T-shirt) or paper towel leaving the paint in the crevices.  If you desire a darker look, re-antique it again.  If you got it too dark, simply scrub the paint off with a toothbrush and start over.  For a "pickled" look, try white acrylic craft paint.  Experiment with your own favorite color of acrylic craft paint. 

Painting your Brass Charms
Charms may be painted with acrylic or metallic acrylic craft paints after antiquing.  The paint will stick better if you apply one coat of spray lacquer on the charms after antiquing them. 
You will make your charms go the distance by trying different looks on them to match the project you are working on. 

Sealing your Brass Charms
If you choose to antique or paint your charms, they must be sealed to prevent tarnishing.  You can use a spray or brush on sealer, water based varnish or polyurethane or spray lacquer.  Most of these can easily be found at a hardware store or check your local Walmart.  Your choise to select a glossy or a satin finish.  Try spraying your charms by putting them on a piece of paper in a low sided box.  Change the newspaper between each spraying. 

Best Kept Metal Cleaner Secret~My brother was visiting me, August 2014.  He's my favorite brother (my only brother) and like big brothers usually are, very smart and knowledgeable.  We were in Menards, which is a big box hardware store like Lowes or Home Depot.  So the aisle we were in had all different types of cleansing agents.  He pointed out one to me called Bar Keepers Friend.  I had told him earlier that day of a problem I had with some brass.  So he thought this would help.  The can says it is a cleanser and a polisher.  It is much like Comet cleanser only very fine.  When I tried it on the brass, I fell in love with this...where have you been all my life! kind of moment.  It is a wonderful metal cleaner.  A few days later- and this is so very weird- I was looking for a certain scrubby thing and I have those little compartments on the cabinets under sink that fall out to keep them in and I found a ring.  I thought it was long gone- we had a fire in 2004 and most of my jewelry was destroyed.  This was a favorite ring, sterling silver with 3 small stones in it.  It was so black and caked with soot that had been on there for 10 years.  Guess looks like new.  I used the Bar Keepers Friend, toothbrush and some muscle and got every bit of soot and discoloration off the ring.  On some spots I used one of the fine grit sanding pads I carry, but I couldn't believe what a fantastic job it did.  The bad part fingers are a little larger now and can't wear it.  So check out your favorite hardware store- maybe Walmart carries it, but it will be a treasured tool for your metal work.

Brass charms come in a large variety of sizes, shapes and textures.  They also come in a wide variety of prices.  Brass charms can add texture, depth, color to your art project.  With the techniques listed above, you can extend your charm selections all the more.   You can also try Staz-On Ink Pads, if ou have them, to add color to your charms.

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Articus Studio, 8341 Old Tarlton Pike, Stoutsville, Oh 43154, 740-477-1238