Bronze is an incredibly resilient material that's commonly used for headstone and memorial plaques. While it will withstand the test of time, it will darken as the years go by, leaving the engraving less pronounced. To restore a bronze plaque back to its former glory, follow these directions:

Remove the Dirt and Grime 

Use a stainless steel brush to wipe off the surface. Pay particular attention to any engravings to ensure they are left free from dirt. Wrap a strip of sandpaper around a wooden block and sand the surface. Buff the engravings until they become brighter and more pronounced. Fold the sandpaper in half and work the inside of the engravings to remove any excess debris.

Apply a Cleaning Solution

Mix together a tablespoon of washing up liquid with a bucket of warm water. Use the metal scrubbing brush to apply the water to the plaque. When you've scrubbed the surface, rinse away any soapy water with clean water. Dry the surface with a microfibre cloth as best you can, and then leave it to air dry for at least an hour.

Apply Leather Dye

Wipe brown or black leather dye over the bronze using a microfibre cloth. Use an artists brush to work it into the engravings. For best results, apply at least two or three coats. Leave the dye to dry, following the guidelines on the tin. Re-sand the surface to remove any excess dye, and then wipe down the surface with a rag to remove any remaining particles.

Spray with Lacquer

Depending on what type of finish you'd like to achieve, spray either a low or medium gloss lacquer finish over the surface. Cover the plaque multiple times, focusing on a different direction with each coat. This will maximise coverage and ensure you're left with an even lacquered surface.

Maintain the Plaque

To keep the plaque in good condition, simply brush it down with a sponge and soapy water. Make sure it has been thoroughly rinsed before wiping it with a rag or towel. When dry, apply a small layer of paste wax with a shoe brush. Buff the surface with a rag when the wax has hardened. The wax will maintain the shine and protect the surface from foreign objects.

Cast bronze plaques provide a dignified way to memorialise a loved one and commemorate important events. While they will naturally lose their colour and shine over time, they are incredibly resilient and won't rust, even when exposed to poor weather conditions.