Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Aging the Leaded Windows.......Using the Liver of Sulphur Gel

Having decided to try out the lead roll method for my windows I then researched the Internet looking for methods to distress the shiny appearance.
I found lots of very different advice and methods, some of which needed a chemistry degree and an industrial laboratory in your garage to complete! While others seemed more than a little dangerous!
Anyway, eventually I found this product,
......Liver of Sulphur XL Gel. This product is used in jewellery making and is perfectly safe for home and hobby use.
 I read the very simple instructions on the bottle and began experimenting on various strips of the lead. Some I sanded and some I left exactly as they come.
The small grided piece is for the door and you can see the gel painted on.
You can dilute the gel or use it straight from the bottle. I decided to paint it on straight from the bottle as I thought it would go on easier and not run too much. In fact it did go on very easily but I then go a little confused. I left the gel on and watched, and watched.......
In my mind I thought I would see an immediate reaction and would have to wipe it off pretty quickly to avoid the lead darkening too quickly. Well as far as I could tell not a thing was happening.
So I decided to wipe this layer off and start again. Then there was a reaction! Phew!! My workroom smelt like a school corridor on the last day of term.....remember stink bombs? Awful, awful smell everywhere. They should warn you about this on the bottle. Yuk!
 But.....the lead started oxidising little by little and after about 2 hours the results looked like this. 
When the colour reaches your preferred shade you paint or rub on a corn starch or bi-carbonate of soda mixture, to stop the oxidisation.
Even with all the rubbing and wiping down the glue backing of the lead has held up well and the window seems fine and ready to install.
Here are some of my practice strips. The top one is the lead as it comes off the roll, it looks a bit bronzed  but the colours are black and grey.
The second strip has been painted with black acrylic paint and then sanded.
The third strip has been sanded and then had the gel treatment.
I can see this product coming in very handy of all sorts of metals if you don't mind the smell!
They also recommend using gloves but as usual I ignore all such advice as I never intend touching the stuff. I was fine as I used a brush and baby wipes so I didn't get any on my skin. You can dunk whole items in the diluted form so I expect you should definitely wear gloves for that.
Tomorrow I am going to buy some nose clips and then I will be ready to finish the rest of the windows!!


  1. I'm impressed with the results and that you survived the process! lol :o))

    It looks authentic, I was going to suggest that you oxidize it first and 'then' cut your strips, it might be easier overall?

    Nose peg at the ready! lol
    Michelle xxx

  2. Absolutely right Michelle, next time.........It is definitely better to treat the metal first. Then it would be easy peasy. I always seem to end up working ass upwards!
    I also need to remember to work on the least seen side first as the later work is always an improvement on how you start!!

  3. Interesting stuff - I guess the pong hint is in that word 'sulphur' - I can smell it just thinking about it!

  4. Looks great ! We will call you Janice The Mad Scientist from now on LOL.

    Victoria ♥

  5. Not a very good one though Victoria, Norma is right the give away is the word 'sulphur'!

  6. Queda muy bien, hace el efecto de hierro viejo de verdad!

  7. I recall that when I was doing stained glass work, there was a product that I used on the lead came to darken it. It worked almost immediatey and did not have any objectional smell. But it was a thin liquid and might possibly cause some damage to the plexi. I'd have to look around to see if I still have some to get the name. But your results look great!

  8. Stinks though doesn't it! LOL

  9. Interesting! I never heard of it before, but I did take some silver classes with Jens Torp where we used very stinky stuff to blacken the silver. Probably the same stuff then. I think we rinsed it with water and dishwasher liquid to stop the process. I also remember we used plastic tongs to dunk it into the solution.
    I like the results on your lead!
    By the way, you wrote you didn't wear gloves. I imagine you didn't wear gloves handling the lead either. Do be careful though as lead is poisonous.

  10. Liver of Sulphur just sounds gross! Like something your made to eat as a kid? LOL... Thanks for sharing all of this with us:) Lots of good info to know! And it looks amazing! Can't wait to see it on the house:)

  11. Thanks ladies, have spent the day doing the rest of the windows and this time I did wear gloves as it was a long session!
    Luckily it has been a beautiful day in England and I was able to sit in the garden and use the smelly stuff.

  12. Hi,

    I hope you dont mind but I put a link to your blog in the latest post on mine.
    You are really to blame for my latest project as your work is so inspiring, keep it up :o)


  13. Hi Natalie, thanks for the credit but I don't think it was me whose blog you read as I used a paste.
    I think you might mean Michelle of
    she has been doing great things with mache and is infinitely patient!!
    I hope you enjoy my blog anyway!!


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