Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Crafty tip - oxidizing copper or silver with an egg

Let me first tell you that I was not the brightest light bulb in my chemistry class. Or the physics class. My math teacher told me when he heard that I wouldn't take math in the last year that we would be getting along great. It was not even that I couldn't have done it, but I didn't like it. I am not the scientific kind of person. I like words, I like languages, I was from the other side of town, so-to-speak. In the 11th grade, my chemistry teacher didn't even know my name. He knew it after he caught me imitating him in the hallway. Too much information, sorry.
What I am trying to say is chemistry is not for my mother's daughter. Just the word „LOS“ scared me. „Liver of sulphur“ wasn't any better (although my cats raised their heads on the "liver" part and put it back down on the "sulphur" part). So what was I to do when I wanted to oxidize my first piece?

Some of my new jewelry friends told me how to do it with an egg. An ordinary egg? Maybe they didn't want to be my friends after all and made fun of me? They convinced me they were being serious.

Are you ready to rock'n'roll, sorry, I mean to boil?

Let's go ahead.

Step 1

You take an egg (no, it doesn't have to be a brown one) and boil it until it's hard.

Step 2

Put the egg into a plastic bag or a bowl with a lid. I used the bag for you to see better. Now smash it. Don't be shy. Do you see the steam? It's good to put the egg in there hot because the fumes spread better and that's what we want I've been told, the fumes from the shell.

Step 3

Here comes our piece, in this case it's a little “hat” made from copper with jasper beads. It's not really a hat, but it reminded me of one when I saw it from the side. The copper is still shiny here. As my camera is playing tricks on me at the moment, it doesn't look super shiny here, but you can tell the copper is still light-colored and unsuspecting as to what is going to happen to it soon *insert mad scientist's laughter here*

Step 4

The piece goes into the bag with the egg. You see I don't let them touch, that is only for the reason that egg is not easy to pick out of some wire crochet pieces. If you don't smash the egg that hard, you can even eat it afterwards, but I always have the feeling it works better like that. Now you close the bag and leave the two of them in there for a while. I just left them in the oven overnight. No, not in a heated oven, that would be stupid even for someone who is not a smart cook, I had to protect them from my cats.

Step 5

Here it comes fresh out of the bag. Look at that copper, it's gray! Gee, that was some tough egg. Now if you like to, go to work on the surface, depending on if you want the whole piece to be dark or if you prefer highlights. This is definitely too dark in my book, so I would scrub it down in places, but I'll spare you this part.

Yes, LOS is faster and yes, I guess it's more predictable, but it is also a lot smellier and it's chemistry.

As for me, I will have a smashed egg sandwich now, thank you very much ;-)

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Mary V said...

Yes, it does interesting things to copper, doesn't it? I've just had the silver egg sandwiches up till now!
Mary V. xxx

Miss 376 said...

This is the sort of thing my son would love to do