I bought some brass mesh from Rockler (incredibly expensive, but so was
everywhere else I found). Plus they could cut it to size. I wanted to
antique the brass so I bought their antiquing solution. Now THAT was a
ripoff. It wasn't clear in the instructions that the brass had to be
immersed, and that just wasn't possible with 3 oz of liquid with two
8x31" pieces of mesh.
I was able to slosh enough around to get one of the pieces done, but
the chemicals had run out in the remaining solution. I tried various
household products on a couple of scrap pieces of brass that I trimmed,
but nothing would work.
Then I remembered I had some PCB etchant back from when I used to make
my own circuit boards. If I remember correctly, it's Ferric Chloride.
I put some on a rag, and it INSTANTLY darkened the brass. I rinsed,
and it was pretty dull, but I took some 0000 steel wool and rubbed
lightly. It came out looking exactly like the antiquing done on the
other piece. I finished the other piece in about 30 seconds, rinsed,
and wiped down with steel wool, and it looks great.
In addition, you can buy a big qty of PCB etchant from Radio Shack for