Introduction: Natural Patina Scarab Bracelet
Simple and chic, this bracelet gets the bright blue color from a natural patina on naked brass.
- 1 naked brass scarab
- 1 gunmetal lobster claw, 8x14 mm
- 5 inches antique silver medium knurled oval chain, separated into two 7-link sections
- Euro-Hole Plier Punch
- Renaissance Wax
- Cat Litter
- Air-Tight Container
- Paper Towel
Click here for a printable version of this tutorial
Step 1: Form the Scarab
Using a Euro-Hole Plier Punch, punch a single hole in the end of each scarab wing as shown. Punching the holes before creating the patina will allow the patina to form on the inside of the holes so they do not stand out in your design.
Step 2: Bend Scarab
Using your hands, gently bend the scarab to shape, fitting it against your wrist or a bracelet mandrel to check the curve.
Step 3: Create Patina
Carefully wash the scarab with dish soap to clean the surface. Any oils, even from hand lotion, will affect the patina. We created this turquoise-blue patina on naked brass by exposing the metal to ammonia. There are two ways to do this, but be warned, they are each smelly in their own way!
A readily available source of ammonia in your home is your cat’s litter box. Bury your scarab in the litter box and allow it to sit for at least 48 hours. When you change the litter you can retrieve and wash the scarab. This will produce a variable and layered blue patina on naked brass.
A second way to expose the metal to ammonia fumes is by soaking a paper towel in ammonia and then placing it in an air-tight container with the metal. Do not allow the metal and the paper towel to touch. Keep the container closed. The fumes from the ammonia will darken the brass and after several days you will see a bit of blue emerge. You can speed this process up by heating the metal in a torch flame or the flame of a gas stove before putting it in the container with the ammonia fumes.
After you have created your desired patina you will need to seal it with a nice thin coating of Renaissance Wax. This will stop the color from changing and will sharpen the details on the scarab. Apply the wax with a clean bit of cloth in very thin layers. Allow the wax to dry for one hour before proceeding with your project.
Step 4: Add Chain
Use your chain nose pliers to gently open a link on a chain section. Feed the link through the hole on one wing of the scarab and close securely. Repeat with remaining chain section.
Step 5: Add Clasp
Using your chain nose pliers open the chain link at the end of one chain section and feed it through the loop on the lobster claw. Close securely. The lobster claw will hook into the chain link on the other side of the bracelet.