How to Darken Nickel Plating

By Brandon Getty ; Updated September 15, 2017

Things Needed

  • Plastic bowl
  • Nickel aging solution
  • Safety goggles
  • Rubber gloves
  • Sponge
Darken your nickel-plated antiques using an aging solution.

Walking through the aisles of any antique store will provide a glimpse at many nickel items, including picture frames, teapots and fine cutlery. Nickel is an abundant naturally occurring element. In its purest form, nickel is a hard metal with a silvery-white appearance. Though a large portion of available nickel is used to construct stainless steel, it is also used in its pure form to make coins, jewelry or piping valves. Nickel plating can be darkened using any commercial aging solution.

Arrange your nickel-plated items on your working surface. For best results, your items should be clean of dust, oil or other residue. Use a mild dish soap and warm water to wash your items if necessary. Allow them to air-dry.

Don your rubber gloves and safety goggles. Fill a bowl halfway with nickel aging solution.

Submerge your nickel-plated item into the solution. Watch the item carefully and remove it from the solution once you've achieved the desired hue. Alternatively, you may wipe the solution onto the item using a sponge.

Repeat Step 3 for each item requiring darkening. Allow the items to air-dry completely after submersion.

Tip

To reverse the darkening process, buff the nickel item rapidly using a polishing cloth and metal polishing compound. If you wish to darken a lacquered nickel item, it must be stripped and washed clean prior to submersion in aging solution. Any commercial lacquer stripper will suffice.

Warning

Do not allow children or pets near your work area. Do not ingest the solution or directly inhale its fumes.

About the Author

Brandon Getty began writing professionally in 2008, with columns appearing in "Thrasher" magazine. He received a Bachelor of Arts in literature from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and lives in Stockton, Calif.