Darkening detail on roll printed material

i have been chasing details onto roll printed silver but the
chasing is not very visible. I would like to darken the chased
lines but i don’t want to have to emery off the liver of
sulphur, or other patina, on the nice roll printed surface
because it would remove the finish. is this too confusing?

how do i darken the chased lines but leave the roll printed

someone suggested using a fine marker. i tried it but it is
difficult to control, smudges, etc…

this problem probably occurs with etching a lot too…

any suggestions?


Hi Gail, Roll-printed silver sounds interesting… What is it? I
haven’t heard of such a product in Australia. Looking forward to
enlightenment. Kind regards, Rex from Oz.

I just saw a pair of earrings made by a friend. She used oil
paint to darken the linear depressed areas in a textured plate.
Looked OK to me if a bit time consuming. This gives you the
opportunity to play around with dark colors with different hues.
You just have to give yourself enough lead time for the oil
paint to “set”. It’s probably as permanent as other surface
treatments. The jury’s still out. Linda

how do i darken the chased lines but leave the roll printed

This might be tedious, but you could paint clear nail polish
around the chased lines and then apply patina with a brush to the
lines to darken them. Remove the nail polish/lacquer in acetone,
and use a little fine sandpaper to clean up the edges of the

Or, try black enamel paint. Apply to the recessed lines, wipe
off with a cloth, clean up with solvent.


I do some rollerprinting and a lot of etching. Hopefully a few
of my tricks will help.

Different metals, different patinas–some patinas hold up better
than others. You didn’t mention what metal, only liver of sulfur.
Tell us the metal and if you need the lustre depth of the liver
of sulfur for more accurate answers.

If you just need to darken the lines in order to provide
contrast rather than lustre depth, you can take the easy way and
use black laquer. To remove the top surface on the highlights of
the metal, use a soft cloth with the appropriate solvent. Wrap
the cloth around a stick which will prevent it from removing the
laquer from the depressed areas.

Another way is to use finishing bars which are used in salons
for finishing acrylic and natural fingernails. These are
rectangular foam or flat boards with abrasive material on the
surface. They come in all grits from 60 to about 6000. Because of
the construction, they ride the top surface without going into
the depressions. The foam have a little more give than the
boards. They’re worthwhile tools to have in your workshop in any
event. They will also give various grades of satin finishes, the
foam bars can be used while wet, and will provide a high polish
in the finest grits. They also last a long time and are an
economical investment. A big plus is no grease to remove.

Hope it helps. K.P.

If it is a rather finely detailed pattern, run a little of the
bottled black patina called background black onto it (Rio Grande
and other tools catalogs will carry it. It’s not an oxidizing
agent, but rather a painted-on matte coating) and after it dries,
wipe off as much or as little as you like with the solvent it
comes with. But it’s true that liver leaves just the right color
on silver, so maybe you could also try removing the liver from
the high spots with a 3M scrubbie instead of emery. It removes
the patina without marring the metal and leaves a lovely soft
satin finish. Frequently I use the regular
supermarket-pot-and-dish-scrubbie (rather thatn the 3M varieties
sold thru the tools catalogs) simply because it leaves a softer
finish. 3M also makes a varity of finishing wheels for the
flexshaft and polishing motor that leave lighter or heavier
finishes. Try a couple!

Kathy (gradually losing fingerprints to the polishing wheel)

Hi Gail. There is a product called Black Max (Rio Grande carries
it)that oxidizes silver on contact, doesn’t have to be heated and
neither does the piece. Perhaps with an incredibly fine brush or
maybe even a toothpick, you might be able to “fill” in the
chasing lines. I have applied this stuff before with a Q-tip, and
recall that it was prone to running somewhat, but if you were rrrreally careful…

 how do i darken the chased lines but leave the roll printed

Tarnex type dip cleaners will reverse the antiquing you get from
liver of sulfur if you’ve not applied it too deeply. If you
dampen a cloth pad with tarnex, you should be able to gently wipe
the surface so that your rag will clean up the outer surface and
roll print, without going deep enough to affect the deeper chased

Peter Rowe

I use a paste made of polishing compound dust and water- I use
the kind they use in rock tumblers. (be careful not to breath in
the dry dust!) and rub it between my fingers or with a paper
towel, after using liver of sulfer. Also, if you aren’t doing but
a piece or two, I recommend a little creamy toothpaste. It has a
very fine abrasive in it that works just fine. Anne

If it’s silver, couldn’t you just use it as per normal, and then
crimped steel brush with soap the top? It doesn’t remove
material, but it will take off the oxidization on the textured
bits. Just a thought.


My Dumb Idea is this: chase, darken your piece, then apply a
resist such as beeswax which you could wipe off of the surface
with perhaps an alcohol soaked cloth and still leave wax in the
chased folds of the piece. then pickle. You would then avoid
abrading the roller texture, would rid it of oxidization, and
would still have the darkened chasing. As an alternative, you
could darken the piece and then wipe it with a cloth soaked in
worchestershire sauce, which would clean the highlights without
abrading the roller texture and (hopefully) would leave the
patina in the chased folds. Just a thought.

Dos Manos Jewelry

I’ve found that if you use any of the products such as “Silver
Black” or other liquid oxydizing agents out there with a very
fine-tipped brush, apply only the tip of the brush to the recess,
the liquid will run into the recess and spread evenly only within
the recessed areas. It’s only a bit tedious, but it really saves
on cleanup time. I’ve even applied this AFTER buffing and
polishing and had much success in having the oxydizing agent run
only in the recessed areas which I wanted to darken, but you must
be careful not to load up the brush too much and to only touch
the tip of the brush to the recessed area. Even very fine lines
have shown up well with this method.


Lee’s idea about pickling to remove the liver of sulfer color
(after coating the chased area with wax) is interesting, except
that the dark gray from liver of sulfer is a silver sulfide, and
pickle won’t remove it. Pickle eats copper oxide. You could dip
it in Tarnex, though. The “tarnish” on silver is also a sulfide,
not an oxide.

where once again it’s rainy on the Ca north coast (sigh)