More in Easy Upgrades

How to Antique a Brass Fixture

Give a shiny new fixture a weathered finish for a vintage look

front door with aged light sconce on porch
Photo by Steven Miric/E+/Getty

Shiny brass gets an uneven, darkened patina with a naturally vintage look. A chemical reaction rapidly oxidizes unlacquered brass for a realistic finish.


Steps // How to Antique a Brass Fixture
1 ×

Strip Any Coating

 
Step One // How to Antique a Brass Fixture

Strip Any Coating

antique a brass light fixture remove coating with stripper
Photo by Lisa Shin

If your item is lacquered, you'll need to remove this coating first. Tape off wires or wrap them in plastic ahead of time. Wear protective gloves and eyewear while working with paint stripper. Brush the paint stripper onto the fixture to loosen the lacquer. We used Citristrip, a mild stripper, because its thick consistency makes it easy to apply and its orange color makes it easy to spot on the brass.

 
2 ×

Wipe Off Stripper

 
Step Two // How to Antique a Brass Fixture

Wipe Off Stripper

antique a brass light fixture remove stripper
Photo by Lisa Shin

After 1 to 2 hours, wipe the stripper off the brass with a damp rag, rinsing where possible. Be careful not to dampen any electrical parts.

 
3 ×

Scrub The Surface

 
Step Three // How to Antique a Brass Fixture

Scrub The Surface

antique a brass light fixture scrub off finish with fine steel wool
Photo by Lisa Shin

Scrub the brass with fine steel wool to remove any remaining coating. Watch for a paler tone, which indicates that the spot is free of lacquer. Wipe with a dry rag to remove any debris.

 
4 ×

Apply The Darkener

 
Step Four // How to Antique a Brass Fixture

Apply The Darkener

antique a brass light fixture apply darkener and scrub
Photo by Lisa Shin

Wearing protective gloves and eyewear, use a foam brush to coat the exposed brass with darkener. You should see the surface start to change within 10 seconds. If there are spots that are not shaded to your liking, scrub with steel wool and reapply.

 
5 ×

Remove Excess Solution

 
Step Five // How to Antique a Brass Fixture

Remove Excess Solution

antique a brass light fixture remove excess darkening solution
Photo by Lisa Shin

Rinse the piece or wipe with a damp rag to remove any excess solution.

 
 
 

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