Q: I am interested in blackening a limited number of small cast figurines made of lead. Do you have any hints or suggestions? Are there any commercial products on the market that will do this? V. G.
A: I am not aware of any commercial products that are specifically formulated for the blackening of lead. However, there are some formulations that are used to blacken pewter. Classic pewter contained a large amount of lead. Perhaps the formulations used to blacken pewter will work on lead.
One such formula is a 200 g/liter iron chloride solution. Another is dilute nitric acid. Nitric acid is an oxidizing acid and must be handled with respect. If you work with either of these formulations good ventilation is required and safety procedures must be followed.
Our expert, Art Kushner, says yes, you can color stainless steel, but it is not a process that is typically performed in a plating shop. Read more about his answer.
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