Homemade Pickle

By on February 19, 2016
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by Judy Ellis, Wirejewelry.com

Wire Jewelry Tip for February 19th, 2016

Homemade Pickle

by Judy Larson

Today we have a great tip from Judy Larson about making your own pickle solution – not the kind you use on your favorite Kosher dills, but the kind you would use on your latest piece of jewelry! :)

If you use this on any of your creations – you’ll want to take a look at her suggestions.

Judy says:

Pickle is used to remove fire scale from metal pieces after heating them with a torch, as in annealing or soldering. Not everyone has a dedicated pickle pot, or a need or desire to have one. If you will only need to pickle a few items in the course of a year, maybe making your own pickle is the right solution for you.

Homemade Pickle:

  • Bring ½ cup vinegar and ½ cup water to a boil. You can use more vinegar than water. Some people even use just vinegar, no water.
  • Pour in a glass or ceramic coffee container. Hint: Make sure that the container you use for your pickle does not get used for anything else after this.
  • Add 1 tsp salt.
  • Add your metal jewelry piece, making sure that it is covered with solution. You may need to turn the piece over while it is soaking if the back of the piece sits directly on the bottom of the container. Note: Do not use pickling solution on jewelry pieces with gemstones.
  • While the piece is soaking, mix 1 teaspoon of baking soda with 1 cup of warm water in another glass or ceramic container.
  • When you see that the fire scale is gone, remove the piece from the pickling solution using a wooden pick or copper tongs. Hint: If you have heavy fire scale, you may need to reheat the solution-without the jewelry piece in it-and soak the piece again. You may even need to make new pickle solution and re-pickle.
  • Place the piece in the baking soda/water solution. This solution helps neutralize the acid in the vinegar that ate away the fire scale.
  • Rinse and dry the piece.
  • Brushing the piece with a brass brush will polish the piece to a satin finish. Rubbing a burnisher across the surface of the piece will polish and highlight the raised areas.
  • Tumbling the piece with shot will polish the whole piece.
  • Note: A half and half mixture of pickle and hydrogen peroxide is needed to remove the copper from the surface of brass items that have been pickled.

Be Environmentally Conscious: Most communities have laws governing the disposal of what can be considered hazardous waste. Since your pickle solution contains metal particles in it, it should be poured into a labeled container, like an old bleach container, that you will eventually turn in to your hazardous waste dump.

Additional Tools:

Pickle Pot, 16 Ounces

Pickle Pot, 16 Ounces

You can pay a lot more and never come close to the quality of this pickle pot. Stainless steel with a stoneware bowl. Sure they call it a crock-pot, but it’s the best and most economical pickle pot available. Capacity is 16 oz. with a shipping weight of 2.6 lbs. 110 volts, 60 hertz and 35 watts


Copper Pickling Tweezers, Curved, Reinforced, 8-1/2 Inches

Copper Pickling Tweezers, Curved, Reinforced, 8-1/2 Inches

Our curved, copper pickling tweezers provide more strength than ordinary copper tweezers. Made to lift heavier objects, legs are less flexible than others. For years people have been dropping articles because copper tweezers flex too much, causing a lack of grip. This curved version offers a reinforcing rib which runs the length of the tweezer making it far more sturdy, easier to use and safer too! You’ll be amazed by the difference. 8-1/2″ long.



If you love this and want to see more tips from Judy, click to see her Jewelry Component Templates and Where do you Create tips.

Happy Wrapping!

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  1. avatar

    Donna Hollander

    February 19, 2016 at 9:09 am

    I keep my pickle in a Mason jar. It is heatable on a mug warmer and can be tightly closed between uses.

  2. avatar


    February 19, 2016 at 11:04 am

    Personally I use a mix of pool acid and water in an old coffee pot. The old drip feed coffee heating base heats the mix to a nice temperature and the silver is cleaned quickly. Dowse the silver in clean water and off you go to the next stage. This method is good to clean the parts to be soldered.

  3. avatar

    Lane Knox

    February 20, 2016 at 6:48 am

    Y’all have shared so many great hints with me so far! Now it’s my turn!

    I keep my pickle in a mason jar, too, topped with a plastic lid (that Ball sells…so check the canning section at Walmart) that fits regular-mouth canning jars. I also keep my pickle plastic tongs/tweezers (for removing pieces from the jar) and a cheap plastic fork (for swirling) inside of the jar, too–right along with my pickle–so that they’re right there when I need them. It won’t hurt them in the least to store them there :)

    In addition, I also tend to work on one piece at a time … so it just feels like a big waste of energy (not to mention evaporated vinegar) to leave a pickle pot on/hot full-time while I work for hours. Therefore, when I need to pickle a project, I take the lid off of my pickle jar, remove the plastic tongs/tweezers and fork … and microwave the pickle to heat it (in one minute increments) until it’s hot enough to work.

    If your pickle cools before it removes all the firescale to your satisfaction (note: a bit of papertowel soaked in pickle solution can help scour off smaller stubborn spots) you can always reheat it and then pickle your pieces again. Just remember to REMOVE ALL METAL FROM THE JAR FIRST, BEFORE YOU PUT IT BACK IN THE MICROWAVE!