Remove Coating from Copper Wire

by Susan
(New Jersey)

Copper Wire Cleaned With Steel Wool and As Bought

Copper Wire Cleaned With Steel Wool and As Bought

Copper Wire Cleaned With Steel Wool and As Bought
Copper Wire and Extra Fine #000 Steel Wool

I need to remove the anti-tarnish coating from 26 gauge copper wire.

I've tried using fine grade steel wool before making a viking knit project. However, when dipped into liver of sulfur, some areas stay shiny and some turn black.

Does anyone know of a product that I could use to dip the finished piece of jewelry into to remove this protective coating?

I look forward to any suggestions.


Comments for Remove Coating from Copper Wire

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Making Jewelry with Copper Wire
by: Wanda

First, are you using raw or bare copper wire to make your jewelry? If so, it does not have an anti-tarnish coating.

However, it may contain some residual grease from being processed at the factory or from your hands when you made your jewelry project.

Any areas of the wire that contain grease many not allow the liver of sulfur solution to react with the metal.

You will need to clean the wire before putting it into the solution.

Here are three ways to clean or degrease bare or raw copper wire (or other bare (raw) wire like brass or sterling silver):

(1) Use a jeweler's cloth to wipe off and clean the wire. Simply run the wire through the jeweler's cloth a few times.

(2) Wash the wire with a solution of warm water and a little Dawn® dish liquid. The Dawn® will degrease the wire.

(3) Use Extra Fine #000 Steel Wool which is a little more coarse that Super Fine #0000 Steel to clean the wire before making a jewelry project.

See the photos above where I used #000 Grade Steel Wool to clean some copper wire. The wire was smoother to the touch, less shiny and felt "clean".

Secondly, if you are using copper colored or craft wire the liver of sulfur will not darken it.

The color treatment (which acts as a protective coating) may have been removed in the areas where your pliers nicked (or the steel wool scratched) the wire and maybe these are the areas on which the liver of sulfur is working.

I don't think that all of the protective coating on colored copper wire can be removed.

When you want to patina a metal for jewelry making, try to make sure that you begin with bare or raw metal that is clean.

Removing Clear Lacquer Coating From Copper Wire
by: Susan (Kansas)

I wonder if Susan from New Jersey was having the same problem I'm now having.

A couple of years ago I bought some 16g copper wire at the hardware store.

It was bare, raw, copper wire, very good for jewelry wire work, and it took a patina well.

I recently went back to the same store and bought the same brand of 16g copper wire, in the same exact packaging.

But when I began using it I noticed that it has some sort of thin clear plastic-y, lacquer-y coating on it that makes my pliers slip. It also flakes off some when I coil it with my pliers. It's just nasty!

I would like to know how to remove this coating.

I'm thinking of trying to tumble it with stainless steel shot, but not sure how effective that will be.

I'd appreciate any input you might have.


Making Jewelry with Copper Wire
by: Wanda

Lacquer thinner may be the answer to removing the plastic like coating from copper wire before using it to make jewelry.

The copper wire I have on hand is bare copper (which I bought from a hardware store).

So, I paid a visit to my neighborhood hardware store, not a super chain (I needed some copper or brass washers anyway for another jewelry project).

I consulted with the salesman, who was an older gentleman that was very knowledgeable about the products he sold.

He told me that the copper wire they sold was indeed bare (no coating), but sometimes manufacturers will spray on a thin, clear layer of lacquer, which prevents the wire from tarnishing too quickly.

To remove this lacquer coating, poor a small amount of lacquer thinner (also available at most hardware stores) on a cloth. Then, rub the wire through the cloth several times. The thinner should remove the coating.

Just a Note...Thinners can be toxic so remember to follow the safety guidelines printed on the bottle or can if you decide to try this.

Susan (both of you), if you do try this, let us know if it works.

I hope so...I sure learned something in searching for a possible answer to this dilemma!

Thanks for asking this question on jewelry making with copper wire!


Removing Coating from Copper for Jewelry Making
by: Mac

I have been checking on ways to remove the clear coating on a sheet of copper I have in order to try to achieve a nice brown patina for jewelry making.

So far in my search I have found and tried boiling pieces of copper in 1 qt. of water and 1 tablespoon of baking soda for at least 20 minutes.

Also, acetone, found in nail polish remover, is supposed to be effective too. I'm trying the least toxic methods first.

I also read that Palmolive® dish washing liquid works.

So far I have yet to have the desired results with any of these methods. I will keep trying. I feel like a mad scientist. I am just trying to avoid the most toxic materials/liquids if possible.

Good luck!

Removing Laquer from Copper Wire
by: Me

To dissolve away the laquer coating on copper wire use acetone, which is known to ladies as nail varnish remover. Remove the lacquer in the same way as nail polish.

Removing Coating from Metals
by: Donna

A long time ago, like 1980, I bought copper serving pieces from a home-party company. Lovely pieces, but the thin coating that kept the "new" copper look started to wear off. To remove the rest of the protective coating,they suggested using a boiling-hot water soak with a little vinegar. It worked for small pieces, the larger ones took way more time.....

I make jewelry, and am hoping to take that lovely "coating" off of some of my metal pieces to age them a little. I'm trying it tonight. Try it yourself, it can't hurt.


Copper Coating Removal from Wire
by: Sally

Acetone does not work. I soaked copper wire in it for 3 days and it did nothing.

Removing Coating from Copper Wire
by: Becky

I just used an emery board - a nail file - on the lacquer coated wire I got from a hardware surplus store, and it worked. Apparently there are emery cloths at hardware stores, too, which I will be investing in.

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