Sunday, November 21, 2010

How to Create a Blue Patina on Copper

blue metal patinaYesterday we explained how to Make Your Own Washers. We included a photo of a pendant we made with three different sized copper washers with a blue patina.

Today we will explain how we turned the copper washers that lovely blue using household chemicals. Copper will change color and tarnish over time. Very often artists want to accelerate or control the color change using a chemical patina. Making a blue patina on copper is easy  using ammonia.

Things You'll Need: 
Jar with tight sealing lid
Ammonia,
Kitty litter or cotton balls (optional), wire or string

Step 1
Gather some dry, clean paper towels or kitty litter. Dampen the material with a touch of pure ammonia.Use the cheapest ammonia you can find without additives. Be sure the material is damp, but not wet.
Step 2
Place the ammonia dampened paper towels or kitty litter in an air tight, screw on container. Check in your recycling can for a good container. We use a large glass jar with a screw top.
making blue metal patinaStep 3
Bury the copper jewelry piece in the damp material. Secure the container  so that it is air tight. Leave the copper art jewelry in the ammonia mixture over night. If your jewelry piece is not blue enough,  allow the piece to sit in the ammonia mixture until you are pleased  with the results.
hanging jewerly in a jar

If you do not have paper towels or kitty litter available, you can hang the jewelry piece in an airtight container with a small amount of ammonia in the bottom of the jar. Stretch a string or wire across the jar, hang the piece and seal the jar.
Step 4 
Add intensity by spraying the copper jewelry or  craft piece with a thin, light, even mist of ammonia. Use a spray  bottle to apply the mist. Leave the piece in the container with the ammonia overnight. If you want even more color, add fresh ammonia from time to time.
Step 5
Coax additional color by lightly sprinkling salt on the  piece, using either of the above methods but be very careful as too much  salt for too long will cause deep pitting in your jewelry or craft  piece.

Step 6
Use a rag and cover the patina with a light coat of Renaissance Micro-Crystalline Wax Polish to protect the blue color. If you do not know how to treat a patina with Renaissance Micro-Crystalline Wax Polish, then see our tutorial How Use Renaissance Wax.

Further Reading

2 comments:

Lois A. Linquist said...

Excellent! I know what I'll be playing with tomorrow. I also want to try fire painting on copper which is supposed to be really cool. Thanks for the tips.
Lois
http://copperwirejewelers.ning.com

HJC Editor said...

Hi! Great tips! I will be linking at http://www.handmade-jewelry-club.com/ in future post.

Thanks!
Jane
http://diylessons.org/
http://www.handmade-jewelry-club.com/