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How to save liver of sulfur mixture

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
I use.

FWIW - Judy Hoch

I have always been sure to keep the jar or bottle full. The more air
in the container, the sooner the stuff goes bad. Top it off with
water if you need to make it full.

Stephen Walker

One additional tip about saving mixed L.O.S. is that it is effected
by light. To make a mix last longer, I have really good luck with
saving my mixture in a repurposed brown hydrogen peroxide bottle and
storing the bottle in a cool dark place, which for me is the floor
level cabinet where I keep my etching chemicals & acids (remember to
keep chemicals safely locked away from little fingers).

It helps extend the life quite a bit more to keep it dark. I got the
idea from seeing how dark the plastic container that the sulfur chips
come in, and it’s really quite effective. I have been able to kept
mixed LOS stored like this with it still being reactive on the metal
up to 3 months later.