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Frosted finish on silver

Hello everyone, I work with silver using mostly hand tools and would
appreciate some help in how to get a frosted, matte finish on
silver. I do have a dremel. Thanks in advance for any and all help.

genevieve hunt

    appreciate some help in how to get a frosted, matte finish on
silver. I do have a dremel.  Thanks in advance for any and all
1. 3M bristle disks in 80 grit.
2. Metal brush wheel. Straight wires are more aggressive than crimped 
3. Metal pin wheel that has radial straight wires.
4. Hopi style--use single 0 steel wool bunched in the fingers and stroke 
 in one direction only.
5. If available, sand blasting with fine grit media or glass beads.
6. Hand rubbing with fine pumice, like Bon Ami cleanser.

Pumice, sand blasting and bristle disks produce the least amount of
non-directional finish.

Hi Genevieve - An easy, inexpensive way to get the matte finish is to
use pumice powder, soap(dish detergent works fine), water, and a
toothbrush. Just scrub the surface and you will have the matte

Sand blasting is another way, that is probably more effective and
longer lasting. Although I’m not sure, b/c I haven’t tried this
method. It would be more costly. Good luck, Sarah Philbeck

Genevieve, a frosted matte finish is usually achieved by using a
sandblaster, though there is another tool that fits on a buffing
machine that can achieve this look. It is less versatile, somewhat
more dangerous and you lose more metal in the process. There are
other ways of achieving a matte finish with other tools but they are
not frost-like. Larry

Genevieve, If you have a sand blaster this will create an even satin
finish. The finish can be altered by using different size grit.
Areas can be left brilliant by masking before sand blasting. Al

Hello Genevieve! The best way to get a frosted finish on silver is to
use a satin-finish buffing wheel. It’s like steel wool on a buff,
except that it is not really steel wool (another one could tell you
what it’s made with). As it can grind jewelry a lot faster than a
regular buff, you have to be careful on the kind of buff you buy:
smooth, medium or hard. Smooth will give you a satin finish (frost)
without putting out too much detail.

I don’t know if suppliers have mini-satin buffs for dremels, but it
they have mini-buffs, why wouldn’t they have satin buffs for
dremels? Good luck!

Benoit Hamel

A sandblaster makes a nice matte finish, as does a wire wheel/buff,
either dremel-sized, or full size for your polishing machine. Either
choice has a range of options depending on the look you want. I
suggest you buy an assortment of brass and stainless steel brushes
for your dremel, both crimped and straight wire, and experiment with
all of them to find the look you want.


Hi Genevieve, The normal way to get a fine uniform frosted finish on
silver is to sand blast the surface. This requires a sand blast
tool a compressor and a box to do the sand blasting in. I assume
from your statement about hand tools you do not plan on making an
investment in sand blasting equipment.

Some possible other methods the might work aRe:

  1. The surface can be sanded with 600 grit sandpaper. This leaves
    the a finish that is textured in one direction only.

  2. 3M makes wheels of different grit that are similar to brushes.
    They can be placed in your Dremel. Again the texture lines will be
    in one direction only. You might try changing the direction of the
    brushes and develop a texture that is cut in many directions.

  3. You might try a simple engraving tool sold at most any hardware
    store. The tip can be sharpened. The engraving tip vibrates. The
    tip must by run over the entire surface to be textured. This
    technique does not produce as fine a finish as sand blasting and is
    very time consuming.

  4. If you are serious about making jewelry and spend considerable
    time at it I recommend you buy a foredom to replace your Dremel.
    The foredom is a much more reliable and powerful tool. You do not
    have grit thrown into the motor as you do with a Dremel. There are
    several texturing tools that work with the cable driven foredom.
    These tools work better than the cheap engraving tool. The texture
    is also better but not as fine as sand blasting.

Unless you buy sandblasting equipment you will have to improvise.
contact me if you have any particular questions.

Lee Epperson

If you don’t have a sandblaster, just get some one to stand on a
ladder and pour some JetBrite beads or clean beach sand thru a funnel
from 6-8 feet up. Hold the piece over an old sheet or plastic bag and
let the sand fall on it. Doesn’t take as long as you think and works
just as good as a sandblaster. That’s how it used to be done in the
days before electricity, when I was younger. :slight_smile:

WayneDr. E. Hanuman Aspler

		[ G a n o k s i n . C o m ]

Hi yall: I use an impact driver, pengst, I took a tip and made it
taper to a point. Then annealed it is used to put a heavy frosted
finish that will last for years instead of weeks. RingmanDr. E.
Hanuman Aspler

		[ G a n o k s i n . C o m ]

Genevieve, Having a bead blaster that leaks beads all over the
garage, I found that you can roller print your silver through with
220 grit sand paper for a nice frosted finish. Of course this is
before fabrication.

If you don’t have a rolling mill I would agree with the others as to
the bristle brushes. On the steel and brass ones be sure to use soap
as a lubricant or you will get a nasty grey haze on the piece.

Have fun!
Mary BarkerDr. E. Hanuman Aspler

		[ G a n o k s i n . C o m ]

The easiest way I have found to get a matte finish is to
tumble-polish the item, using a somewhat abrasive medium.

Judy Bjorkman

Genevieve I use many different methods for texturing; You can use the
wheel of a used Bic lighter on on a mandrel for flat surfaces it
doesn’t leave directional lines but it is not good for hard to reach
at areas , you can sand blast with glass beads or garnet powder but
garnet powder is expensive or you can use the small sand blaster(Air
Eraser) from Harbour Freight,It comes with its own sand which leaves
a matte finish. Some $10 dls Pumice powder alternately used with a
wire brush with dishwashing liquid and rubbing the object with dry
baking soda leaves an interesting bright frosted finish ,even Scotch
Bright pads works good. Another option is fine steeple finish with a
hammer piece attached to the foredom flexshaft it is commercially
known as lasser finish, you can increase the intensity of the strokes
by rotating the ring in the hammer piece. An alternative to the
Foredom hammer piece is an inexpensive engraver from Dremel. Marco

A glass Scratch brush is convenient and an in expensive tool to put
a frosted finish on silver. This is a pen type brush with a tip as
big as a magic marker. Mostly used by Watch makers to scratch the
contact surface for wrist watch batteries. This may be good for
small products such as rings earrings etc. The cost is around $5.00
and you can get refill tip for $0.60 each. Like everything else it
needs practice (a little trail & error). But it is very easy and
leaves no mess.

Kenneth Singh

G’day; For finishing silver I offer a suggestion which whilst not
exactly frosted, is quite attractive, though it isn’t new (what is?)
It used to be all ‘the thing’ on the inside of watch backs. Take a
short length of wooden dowel from about 3mm to 8mm and make one end
’square’ with the axis. Push the end of the dowel into an abrasive
which can be 400 or finer grit, pumice, carborundum, alumina - what
have you? Hold the dowel in the chuck of a drill press, set it to
medium speed and bring the rod down gently on the work which has been
previously worked to a medium polish, creating a pattern of circular
swirls. Indeed it used to be called ‘circular polishing.’ A little
circle of thin leather glued to the dowel end will improve the
finish. Try it; you’ll like it! – Cheers for now, John Burgess;
@John_Burgess2 of Mapua Nelson NZ