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Unread 10-19-2014, 02:12 PM   #1
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How to tarnish bells (unspecified metal)

I have two packages of cheap "jingle bells" from Michael's craft store, one "gold" and one "silver". They are both very bright and shiny, and I want them to have a dull, tarnished look to them. I know that I could paint them, but I need a LOT of bells for my costume, and that would be extremely tedious and time consuming.

I can find lots of information on tarnishing specific types of metal, but I have no idea what these are made of. My best guess would be steel? Maybe aluminum?

Does anyone know a way to tarnish generic cheap metal? (Preferably some sort of soaking method.) Or does anyone know what cheap craft bells would be made out of? Thanks!
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Unread 10-19-2014, 07:31 PM   #2
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There are 2 options for this:

1) a saltwater bath
2) vinegar

I would put one bell in each of the liquids and see which one gives you a better result, then do the rest of the bells.

You should rinse the bells in regular tap water and dry them after they reach the proper level of tarnishing.
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Unread 10-20-2014, 07:14 AM   #3
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Thanks for the ideas! I'm trying a few experiments to see how it goes, and I'll post some photos later to show the results. Hopefully I can figure out some tricks to help other people in the future.

So far I tried leaving the bells overnight in a vinegar bath and in wet coffee grounds.

The 2 bells (one of each the silver and gold colour) in the vinegar, so far haven't changed at all. It's only been 12 hours, so maybe a longer soak will work.

The silver bell in the coffee grounds is MAYBE a little less shiny, but it's not really noticeable, however the gold coloured bell has tarnished really well! It's much more dull and the gold has been eaten away a bit in spots. This leads me to assume that the silver bells are just the base metal, and the gold ones are silver with gold colour on top.

I'm now throwing some bells into a salt water bath, and I'm hoping that will work for the silver ones. Again, I'll post some pictures when I have the results.
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