How do i get a frosty matte finish?

I have seen some sterling jewelry that has a “frosty” look to it.
Like it has a burnished finish. How do I replicate this in my home

Andrea Streicher
Streicher Studios

Try bead blasting it with glass beads (VERY small beads or balls).
Sand will erode the metal, the beads just peen it.

John Dach

Andrea, Try a purple scotch wheel available from Rio Grande. I use it
on my buffing motor and it produces a nice soft finish. You can try
a coarser wheel also, and some of the wheels come in smaller sizes to
fit a shaft attachment for a foredom. Good luck! Sharon

There are several way to achieve this look. I personally use an
impact hammer with a sharpened point… you can take a brass tube
1/4" diameter and taper the end…make a 45% cut and do like wise to
another tube… make the cut in the taper tube about 1/2" benind the
taper and solder the tubes together… use plastic line and hook the
main tube to an air supply and put the other in a bucket of sand…
careful to mask unwanted areas

It could be either the rough surface finish of the casting or it may
be glass beaded, like sand blasting, but with glass beads. Good
luck, experiment and have fun. jbd

Andrea, The “frosty” look is generally acheived by sand blasting the


Sandblasting will give the matte finish effect, I do silver plating
after sandblasting to get a nice snow white color.


I like using a sandblaster, it does a great matte finish that
sparkles…just used it on some brass and it is lovely to see…


I have always used various grades of steel wool. I keep
four, I believe they are #0 through #0000. This is of course after
all filing,emery paper is done. Peter Rowe put me onto a technique
that is absolutely great. It uses a platers brush,which is very fine.
After all soldering and pickling is done as well as filing,emerying,
steel wool, I heat my liver of sulfur and drop my piece in it and let
it turn dark,then rinse and dry. I then use the platers brush to put
an antique and/or matte finish on it. If Peter is reading this,
please give her your description of your technique Peter,because I my
be forgetting something. If he’s not on line Andrea, the archives
have it about 2-4 months ago, the thread being I believe, Antique
finish. Maybe others can help us remember.Best wishes, John Barton
Images By JJ

Hi Andrea- Some of the ways that I have achieved a frosty matte finish
anr after getting a fine texture to 400 or 600 grit sand paper I use
scotch brite. Iet comes in pads and you can even use household
kitchen sponges with the scotch brite on one side. Another way is
using very fine sttel wool. These two options leave a very fin
frosty finish with tiny litte scrtatches that do not interfere with
the look, just apply it with a circular motion. Also if you have a
polishing motor, scotch brite makes wheel from coarse to fine and
this eliminates the scrtach factor. There are also these needle
wheels that have steele needles and they also come from coarse to
fine. You can get them from rio grande or any jewelry tool supplier.
just be sure to use face protection because the needles tend to fly
off after alot of use. Hope this helps. One more option is
investing in a sand blaster but this entails getting an air
compressor aswell.

Andrea or Peter, can you explain to me what a platers brush is and
where to get one? NET

I’m sorry i must be dense, how to bead blast something?

Andrea, First off, “burnished” means mirror-polished. Biblical
accounts of angels describe them as having faces like burnished
bronze. Glory is not best shown in frosty matte. Burnishing is
achieved by rubbing with something harder than the workpiece.
Burnishers are typically agate, steel, and other hard, highly
polished materials. Now on to frosty matte. That is achieved with bead
blasting. That’s just airbrushing with abrasive. Sandblasting will do
it too, but the industrial equipment may not be precise enough for
your purpose. Smaller tools are made for the purpose of jewelry and
small parts if you need. At any rate, it’s still beautiful. Good luck
finding exactly what you need.

Dan W.

There is yet another way – repeated pickling to "depletion gild"
the silver. Pickle well in new, clean pickle. Lightly brush the
piece, then mildly heat it. Pickle again. Repeat the brushing and
pickling. Repeat again. After several (3 or 4 or 5) repetitions,
the silver will have a frosty appearance. All the copper will have
been leached from the surface. The frosty appearance, I am told, is
because after systematically removing all the copper from the last
few microns of the surface, it is left microscopically porous.

I have admired this treatment, and was given this explanation. In
the last couple of years, there have been a number of pieces that
used the depletion technique which appeared in gallery shows at the
National Ornamental Metal Museum, and even in the gift shop. It does
seem to wear through easily, leaving burnished highlights. I have
not deliberately tried to use this technique – yet – but several
pieces began to have this appearance after several picklings. The
surface is much finer, and much more matt, in my opinion, than those
which sand or bead blast, steel wool, brush, scotch-brite, or
combinations or these is used.

Andrea, Ok, next step is what materials you need. First go to your
local craft store (we have a Pearls here in SOFL that carries
everything but most of the other big ones can get stuff for you). Ask
for an “air erasure”. These are commonly used by architects to erase
blue prints or drawings because they are deadly accurate and yet
gentle. Air brushes are about the same thing. The one (one I use) is
made by Paashce and is type AEC. Next, the erasure compound used is
type AEX. It is fine grit and does a perfect job. The only problem is
it produces a fine dust and you need to use it in a protected
environment and wear a mask. There are many ways to do this…one is
to cut a cardboard box in a way that you can put your hands in from
the sides, put the air erasure in through one of the holes and cover
the top with clear plastic. You can use glass beads as well. As one
person mentioned, glass beads peen the metal and do not abrade it.
True but they are a bit more expensive and sometimes the abrasion
method produces a more perfect finish. You biggest problem will be
getting a source of compressed air. Some air erasures can be operated
from “canned air” also available at the craft shop, but that does not
last long and is good only for small jobs. You can buy a direct
supply air compressor which supplies a steady and direct source of
high pressure air to the erasure. Downside is they cost between $150
to $200. You can go to your local hardware store and purchase a 3 gal
tank and compressor for about $150 or get a used one from a flea
market. Be sure the compressor is still usable. The downside to a
larger compressor is the noise.

This covers most of what you need. There are also some books out
there on how to use these materials but I don’t happen to have that
info right at my finger tips. Hope this helps good luck.
Don at The Charles Belle Studio where simple elegance IS fine

They are very fine brass? wire brushes and I bought mine at Rio
Grande Albuquerque, John Barton,Images By JJ

If you don’t own a sand blaster but do have a tumbler, tumble the
piece in some of that chunky silicon carbide media – it produces a
lovely matte finish.

Judy Bjorkman

A beautiful and inexpensive way to achieve a matte finish is with the
fine, aluminum oxide polishers that you can buy from Rio Grande for
about $3. I recommend the 3 ply. I’m not sure if this will give you
the texture you are explaining, yet it may be worth the exploration to
achieve the finish you desire. My customers love it. Let us know what
you choose.


I'm sorry i must be dense,  how to bead blast something?

Usually this is done in a specially made “box” unit (mine is 4’ by
2.5’ as I am primarily casting/cleaning bronze sculpture) so as to
capture the glass beads and reuse them. These “blast cabinates”
usually have a vacuum system attached so you can see what you are
doing as it gets “duaty” from the beads when blasting. The beads are
“shot” via an air stream at the "target (the piece being blasted).
Beads do not erode the surface as sharp san would, but sand is
sometimes used if heaver “cleaning” is required. Some isdustrial
applications use a water or water/air stream to propel the blasting
media, and some of this equipment uses baking soda in place of the
beads. These units can blast off the “paint” on beer or soda cans
without harming the base aluminum. Quite amazing to see!!!

John Dach
MidLife Crisis Enterprises
C.T. Designs
Cynthias sculptures are at:
Maiden Metals,
A small bronze foundry, no web site yet!!

I have a cheap little kids tumbler. I can get a nice finish by
tumbling with pumice powder. I spent less than twenty dollars and
that included the tumbler. This is for a small quantity only.