I’ve been running an experiment on how to save a water based liver
of sulfur (LOS) mixture.
I first mixed this batch the second week of September 2010. I just
used it again today and it is still full strength and even produced
an iridescent patina.
This is exactly how it did it. You need an opaque container with a
secure screw-on lid.
In a dry 8 ounce (about 250ml) container, place a smallish bit,
about the size of a pea, of liver of sulfur. Add one half teaspoon
iodized table salt and two tablespoons of sudsy ammonia. The LOS
should start to smell and turn yellow - if not, you need fresh LOS.
Then add six ounces (180ml) of cold tap water.
Paint the solution on your pieces or dip them. The patina develops
slowly but that gives you the opportunity to stop it when you want
When you are done, fill the container to the top with cold water and
screw the lid on tight. You no longer have light or much air in the
solution. So far this has lasted more than 75 days.
When I needed to color some chains, I poured a small amount of
solution in another jar. I heated a cup of water to boiling in the
shop microwave and dumped the chains in the hot water. After a
minute, I took them out of the water and put them in the small amount
of LOS solution. Instant black. After a bit, I dumped the hot water
in the LOS solution with the chains. I did NOT put the hot/warm LOS
solution back in the original jar.
These are the things I think are important to keep the stuff for a
long time. The solution is always cool - mixed cool, kept cool. (I
wonder what refrigeration would do for longevity?) Keep it from
I don’t know if the salt and ammonia help the longevity. It is what
FWIW - Judy Hoch