It seems that the natural patina process is a very sought after topic right now – I get questions all the time. It’s really a lot of experimenting, and essentially you need to have fun with it. It won’t always work, you might try really hard to fume something for days and your patina all washes off! That is really part of the whole idea. It is easy to paint on some fake patina and call it “patina jewelry”, “patina art” or “patina decoration”. Why not challenge yourself and create something natural that the powers of the atmosphere and some real ingredients made happen?
I will list the steps of my latest ammonia patina experiment. This is a lot of fun, but remember to wear a mask or at least do not breath in the fumes.
Solution – ammonia with a little salt
(There are many actual recipes, I just eyeball this.)
- Cut, shape, sand, clean your copper really well.
- Prepare a container (plastic, glass) where you can hang something to suspend your items and that has a way to seal it (lid, plastic, etc.). Put some of your solution on the bottom of your container.
- Spray your copper pieces with the solution and some salt (occasionally I also add baking soda).
- Suspend your pieces on top of the solution and close the lid.
- Let fume for a few hours to a day, then check. You may want to sprinkle them again or spray with your solution. Let fume as long as you think they look the way you want. There will be a crumbly or fuzzy coating of blue on top of your copper.
- Rinse well carefully, let dry for a day.
- Coat with your preferred method (clear coat, wax, etc.)
- Make into jewelry, wear and enjoy or give to a friend!