Picture of Blue Patina on Copper
Colour plays a large role in design esthetics.  There are many ways to add colour into Jewellery work,  applying patinas are one of the simplest methods; requiring very little equipment or in some kinds expense.  Copper takes a patina especially well. Every metal has its own personality; I like to think of Copper as an Old, Smelly, Dirty, Drunk, Homeless Man; if you've worked with it, you understand why.  Because Copper is such a dirty Metal it likes to oxidize; in simple terms: put it next to a chemical and it will react by changing colours.  This process is called Patination.

There are hundreds of Chemical Patina Recipes; many requiring expensive, hard to find and potentially dangerous Chemicals, all things I like to avoid whenever possible.  Instead, my favorite Patinas are made by more common household chemicals.  My current favorite household patina, is a brilliant blue made by using:  

1. Clear Ammonia (found in the cleaning aisle of your local grocery store)
2. Table salt
3. Water
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Step 1: Making a fume chamber

Picture of Making a fume chamber
First you will need to construct a fume chamber.  Find a plastic container with a lid (clear if possible), large enough to hold your Copper in.  The Copper will need to be suspended in the container; drill or poke holes in the sides of the container large enough to slide a bit of wire through (any type of wire will do).  Depending on what you wish to patina, you will have to customize the hanging mechanism; I used two wires to support the sheet evenly.

At the bottom of the fume chamber place a bit of paper towel.  Dribble some Ammonia on it; you want it moist but do not soak it. Warning - inhaling Ammonia fumes can be harmful.

The Fume chamber is now ready for use.
lucas.lavoy7 months ago

Thanks for making this great tutorial. Used this technique recently on a coffee table with fumed copper surface and it came out great


What prep did you use and how did you apply your salt lucas.lavoy? I followed the above method and my coverage looks nothing like yours! Great job!

Just standard spray bottle with salt water (lots of it), came up bright blue. The difference was I scrubbed off the unstable parts of the patina afterwards and did a second application and second fume chamber exposure. Somehow that made it much more green than blue.

dirtysmith made it!25 days ago

Used this for the back of a full sized mirror.

PeteP11 month ago

nice.these guys have some lovely copper works as well

pikeman6661 year ago
How well does this stuff color if used with a brush? And have you ever tried masking to achieve a pattern of patina?
BobbiWired2 years ago
How long did it take your piece to get that dark?
fretted2 years ago
More Patinas and processes found here :
graydog1112 years ago
Beautiful patina. I thought all copper patina was green. I learn something every day.
zomfibame2 years ago
That's very cool. I'm gonna' have to try this some time.