One thing is undeniable in the DIY and design world, brass hardware is back and lately I’m totally loving it on furniture. As a child of the 80’s I admit shiny lacquered brass fixtures still don’t appeal to me, but I am drawn to the golden glow of real or antiqued brass with its warmer patina.
In the past two weeks, I’ve fixed up two pieces, one dresser and one campaign desk, and both had brass hardware I wanted to reuse. One set of hardware was real brass, the other brass plate, and both needed a good polish.
Over the last year, I’ve also narrowed down two great substitutes for faking the patina with other hardware that you want to give a golden glow. If you’re curious how to tell the difference between real brass and brass plate, how to polish unlacquered brass, or how to fake the look of antique brass hardware, here’s how I do it.
Real brass is an alloy of copper and zinc and if it’s not lacquered, will tarnish with exposure to air over time. There are two methods I use to bring back the mellow antiqued patina, one is Brasso if I have it on hand and the other is natural lemon juice and salt paste mixture.
But first, before you polish, you should know whether your hardware is real brass or brass plate. Here’s the simple way to tell the difference. Take a household magnet and see if it will stick to the piece, if it won’t that means the hardware is real brass, like these campaign pulls.